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As she sits facing me sipping her coffee-n-coconut milk, steam
rising from her cup, she picks up her guitar and begins to strum. She says to
shoot when I’m ready, letting me know it may take her a while to answer her
questions—she wants to think them through before responding. Still strumming
FM: This month's issue focuses on
Marching forward in who you are! What are three things you enjoy marching in or
about? I realize we don’t generally end our sentences with prepositions…ha.
AG: I like to march. Period. I
definitely have believed in marching to the beat of your own drum. We are all
created with individual purposes. No one is created the same. It is our
God-given life’s purpose to find our own uniqueness and grow into your person,
regardless of what you think you “should” be. Find your own identity—God’s
purpose for you. Believe it, and know it…regardless of the obstacles and the
way that it may look on the outside.
I really really believe in … being fashioned
uniquely the way the Lord intended each individual person to be. I believe in
each person taking the time to find that, rather than just taking what life
gives you. Find that purpose and faithfully moving in that direction.
Anything worth your while is no
simple walk in the park. Once you know what you’re called to do, you can’t let
negative things; obstacles or people get in the way or bring you down!
FM: You're creative—you’re a singer,
songwriter and musician. What do you want to say to the world through and by
AG: I want to encourage people to be
honest, to allow themselves to feel their own truth. I want to give people
faith, confidence and security within themselves. My music’s message, along
with the soul and spirit behind, comes from a God-fearing and God-loving woman
going through life always with the guidance, love and the backbone of my
faith—the only thing that carries me.
FM: What inspires you to write?
AG: It used to be just purely my own
personal therapy and so it was how I coped with my feelings. Now that years
have gone by, it’s evolved. But I still write with my personal stuff …it just depends
on what kind of feeling I want to give people.
I wrote my first song when I was
eleven…but now I realize it is a God-given gift and so want to share from that
My way of writing is usually
inspiration. I feel like the best songs I’ve written have usually come from a
very specific moment in my life. It sometimes comes from the sky – maybe it’s an
idea, or a melody. If I think it’s good, I’ll rush to the piano, or my phone…and
then when I’m at a recording session, I’ll bring it up and we’ll go from there!
Like this one song came to me when I
was in Louisiana (starts singing), “I was riding barefoot in your truck…fa la
la la la la la la la la la …”.That was
a couple of years ago. We started a recording session just the other day, and we
actually began to finish that song. Trust yourself. You don’t really know if
it’s any good, but then if you just believe in it and share it with someone,
then it can grow from there. But I definitely use my iPhone and piano. Then
also sometimes it just comes out. Like the other night, I was at the piano and
something came to me. So often a pure expression comes from my own worship
time. I sing songs of praise that flow from my heart, which could turn into a
song. But some songwriting sessions are very clear, scripted…etc. and that’s
good, too…but it’s a very definite.
I’d say the best way is to be at
peace, open your heart and let the truth fall. (Picks up her guitar again and
FM: What is it you love most about
what you do? WHY do you do what you do?
AG: I love singing. I love writing. I
love being a conduit of expression and I love getting to tap into someone,
affecting them or opening up someone’s heart. I started doing it so young. I
was in so many bands growing up and have always believed it was my calling.
FM: A main focus of Fashioned is the
truth that all are fashioned to uniquely be themselves. You’re a pretty unique
individual. Have you ever felt the pressure to conform to someone else’s music,
AG: I will tell you this little funny
story. I’ve only always wanted my life to be exactly how God wanted it to be,
even if I make mistakes, so I
used to say this prayer, that if I wasn’t
supposed to be doing something, that I would get into a car accident or get
sick, so that I couldn’t sick. A long time ago, I had a publishing deal that I
lost; I was offered the gig in a well-known all-girls group. It definitely wasn’t
my style, but because of the money factor, I was actually on my way to sign the
contract…until I got into a car accident. It confirmed it wasn’t for me. I
didn’t care and I’m still so thankful that happened. Who knows…I mean maybe I
could’ve been more successful for a little while…but it was not me. I was in
LA, at that time, and all the songs were about being sexy and the bootie. It
was then I decided to go Country—it’s the industry that’s closest to my heart,
my morals, ethics and family values. When I was seeking and trying to determine
who I was or wanted to be, I imagined myself as a 90-year-old looking back at
my life and I wanted to proud of the person I was. That definitely helped lead
me to Country.
So I came to Nashville and began this
FM: We esteem women who are comfortable
in their own skin. Any words of wisdom or encouragement you can give to someone
who isn't there quite yet?
AG: I really believe that the beauty
– true beauty – a. comes from within; and b. comes from a girl who knows herself.
I’d encourage them to stop comparing themself to someone else, because someone
else doesn’t have what they have. I have to do that myself. If you are able to
see how beautiful you truly are in your own uniqueness, then you’ve got what it
takes to win! It’s important to appreciate the gifts you’ve been given, focus
on what you have and don’t focus on what you don’t have…and certainly don’t
bring attention to what you don’t like!
FM: Who are some of YOUR musical
AG: She blanks, pauses. Her phone
rings. Saved by the bell. Okay, here’s the list: Sheryl Crow, Faithe Hill and
FM: I can hear every one of them in a
combination of your music and/or your voice’s strength.
FM: You know I’m a big fan…”Special”,
Tennessee, Picture, You’re Mine…Jailbird…the list goes on and on. When are you
coming out with an EP to share the rest of your talent with the world?
AG: I am excited to say I have a new
producer and will be recording a new EP within the next two months, be on
summer tours and coming to a town near you!
FM: How many songs have you written?
AG: Oh…probably 300 (she says
FM: Your top three personal faves of songs
you’ve written? What inspired you to write them?
AG: Jailbird, Picture….um … I like
this new one we just wrote called “The Good Stuff”…..
FM: The one about the barefoot sounds
AG: Yeah, “The Good Stuff”…
FM: How long does it generally take
you to write a song?
AG: It totally depends….You’re Mine
took me 15 minutes. “The Good Stuff,” has taken me over two years. To write a
good song, you keep writing until it’s “right!”
FM: Jailbird. Quite a moving
song—random or personal?
FM: What music is programmed in your
car right now?
AG: 103.3 – a Country station here in
Nashville. Chris Stapleton is in my car right now. I also love listening to the
Gospel station out here.
FM: To say you are fashion forward is
an understatement…you rock fashion! Where do you shop and what inspires your
AG: My favorite places to shop
depends on my bank account. I usually go with how I’m feeling, but even since I
was very young, I always liked to look different, wearing things that others
wouldn’t necessarily want to wear. I love fashion and I love vintage so I guess
you can say I mix & match cheap finds with classic pieces.
FM: Fave pair-o-shoes?
AG: I used to love my high heels. My
faves are my green suede Marc Jacobs platforms with gemstone in the middle, but
now it’s mostly all boots!
FM: Songs that takes the gray away?
AG: Tom Petty & The Heartbreak’s
FM: That’s a classic.
AG: My Girl (The Temptations) and
Shania’s (Twain) Any Man of Mine (Starts singing “Any man of mine…”, while
FM: Beauty or Fashion
"must-haves" you can't live without?
AG: Eyelash curler.
FM: You’re serious?
AG: Yes. And also, I’m obsessed with
skincare….I love good skin care…and Hourglass concealer. Sephora has great
For fashion, it’s accessories!Necklaces, some rings, fun shoes and a hat, then
you rock! I love a good hat.
FM: If you could do anything in a
24-hour period, it would be to....?
AG: Wake up. Run at the beach. Meet
with Jesus, Elvis and then go have an amazing lunch, go shopping in NY –
unlimited shopping spree. Sing to a sold out Madison Square Garden…hug my mom,
kiss my dad…then go to bed!
FM: Has there ever been a time in
your life when your world was so dark, you saw no way out? What did you
do to get out of there?
AG: When I look back, I do see a time
where I was in a dark and confusing place, though I didn’t know that I was
going through that then. I had split ways from a record company I was working with,
I was on my own, my mom was selling our house, I didn’t feel like I had a good
support system and I was feeling very alone. I was working these 18-hour days,
wasn’t sleeping and in a weird place. I can even see it with the songs I was
writing. When I look back, I do believe the Lord took my out of that and that’s
how I ended up in Nashville.
FM: A quote you live by? What would
you say to young women struggling with self-image and identity?
AG: I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me.
FM: Your toughest critic?
AG: (Strumming her guitar) Probably
FM: A little on the lighter side—heels
AG: Grrrrrr…Heels, but I wear
flip-flops more—especially in the summer.
FM: Dress or jeans?
AG: I mean…I love wearing dresses,
but I probably wear jeans more…unless it’s in the summer. (Laughs)
FM: In-n-Out or Culvers?
AG: (Singing at the top of her lungs)
FM: Beach or mountains?
AG: BEACH! (Simultaneously playing one
FM: Bucket list top three items…Go!
AG: Paris for a month, Madison Square
Garden show and a beach-house for life!
FM: Something you do when you were
feeling discouraged to help get you out of the dumps?
AG: Exercise! If I don’t feel good, I
go to work out class and it helps to clear my mind.
FM: Favorite person on earth Who do
you turn to when things seem a little tough or Rocky?
AG: My mom, for sure.
FM: Where is your happy place?
AG: Anywhere outside … running around
with the dogs!
FM: Advice on love?
AG: Ah…hahaha. Yes, love is the space
I try to let lead me in everything I do! As for me…my heart has been ripped in
and out a number of times, but it all comes out in my tunes. That is where I’m
FM: How about comfort food?
AG: Fonuts is a place by my LA house
on 3rd and it’s my comfort food, for sure! My favorite is the
strawberry buttermilk…they are gluten free, vegan, and baked instead of fried,
but they taste better than any treat…I love all foods…Mexican, Indian, Country…
FM: What you are pursuing is not for
the faint of heart; what are some words of encouragement you can give to
someone who has been pursuing their dream, but wants to quit?
AG: I believe He wants us to fulfill
the desires of our heart. I believe that what you LOVE is what you’re supposed
to do, so follow that love—especially if it’s positive. I believe that my
journey is on-going and that’s partially why it’s taken me “x” amount of years
to be really comfortable with myself in every arena. I think the Lord may have
thought I wasn’t ready at the time. He knows me and what I’m capable of…I trust
that He is leading me. Even though I’ve wanted to be way more successful. Faith
is my bread. It’s the only thing that keeps me going – especially when I’m like
“Where is this going?” I pray, hear and know that He tells me to keep going,
hold on and to trust Him. So it’s what I do and am still doing. It’s not super
easy to live that, but I feel like He wouldn’t have brought me this far to drop
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