Hot on the heels of the release of her new single, June, we asked Raihanna Estrada to talk about #whatmadeyoucountry.
Country music to me is storytelling about real life. Songs that people can relate to. There’s a song for the good times, a song for the hard times, and everything in between. The songwriting is some of the best which is what made me fall in love with it. Singing country music has always come naturally to me.
I don’t remember the very first country song I heard but I do remember being so fascinated by Phil Vassar’s songwriting and Jo Dee Messina’s voice on country radio. The melodies, vocals, and instrumentation always made me happy. It felt like home.
I’ve always listened to country and learned from 90’s country radio. But I listen to many genres of music because for me I’m in love with the songs, the way it makes me feel & the creativity of the artist. The first country bands I saw were local bands in the lodge at the Ranch that I grew up on. They’d come up and play cover songs on the weekends. I didn’t attend a lot of country gigs when I was younger. My first couple concerts I remember when I was young were Ricky Martin & The Spice Girls. I’ve seen Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, Gillian Welch, Pistol Annies, Holly Williams, Brad Paisley, etc. Two of my favorite shows I’ve seen are Brandi Carlile and Tom Petty on his last tour. I love seeing live music, even more in the past decade from living in Los Angeles and now Nashville. There’s always a show good somewhere.
I actually had quite a few artists who influenced me to make country music. I’d say vocally Jo Dee Messina was very influential. A lot of 90’s country artists like the Dixie Chicks, LeAnn Rimes, Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie, and later Jennifer Nettles and Miranda Lambert. I love the twang. As far as songs I really love “Live Like You Were Dying” & “Heads Carolina, Tails California”. I knew I wanted to write songs that could make you inspired and break your heart. I wanted to give the feeling that had been given to me. True connection through a song and words when you need it most. The ones you hear that you and everyone else feel like “they wrote that just for me”.
If I could only listen to one country album for the next ten years – wow. That’s the hardest question ever! I don’t think I could listen to one album for ten whole years because I like to switch up music with my mood and life. I almost can’t answer! I’d probably say Jo Dee Messina’s Greatest hits album because it’ll always have that nostalgia feeling for me of driving up the windy roads to the Ranch and learning to sing those songs from the radio.
There are so many songs that have touched my heart. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, which you’ll hear a lot of in my own songs like my new single “June”. Something about looking back as a songwriter. I love to explore that feeling.
I love everything about (the Jo Dee Messina) songs – the writing, the vocals, and how inspired I felt as a young girl listening to them. It made me want to take off and drive across the country and follow my dreams, which I did many years later.
The next song is in more recent years. I saw Lori McKenna play People Get Old at The Listening Room and The Ryman in Nashville and it hit my heart. I lost both of my parents when I was 19 years old and the way she paints the different stages of life and ageing is so beautiful.
My Dad loved Remember When. I think it always reminded him of my Mom & him together for their lifetime. It’s so well written and makes me cry to this day when I hear it.
Springsteen is a song makes me feel good when it comes on. It’s one of those that make me feel in another place and time. Musically I love it.