by Lauren Means | photos courtesy Kenzie Maroney
She grew up singing in school choirs and listening to a lot of Carole King and Natalie Cole. She says as a teenager she wore out her John Mayer and Sara Bareilles albums. This is very evident in her music. Heather Batchelor is a singer-songwriter who now calls Nashville home. Breaking into the Nashville scene is not always an easy task but she is already making waves.
Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Heather says she started playing guitar in addition to her singing-songwriting skills when she was a freshman in college. “My dad taught me on his acoustic [guitar], which eventually became mine. That’s when it all clicked. Six months later, I moved to the music scene in Austin, and two years after that, Nashville.”
Singing Out Loud
Being a member of the LGBT+ community, she says she feels completely at ease to be herself in Nashville. “The community here is incredibly accepting. Countless businesses are LGBTQ+ safe spaces and there are more Pride events than I can keep up with, haha,” Heather said.
“Little Rock isn’t quite up to speed, but it’s come a long way,” according to Heather. She says when she was a kid, there was no representation around. “No Pride, no Gay-Straight Alliance in school. It just wasn’t something people talked about, so I didn’t feel safe to show it. Then as an adult, I attended their first Pride in 2013. And a few years ago, I saw a GSA poster in my old high school. That made me so happy, I nearly cried. It just goes to show how important visibility is,” says Heather.
Heather is working toward increasing LGBT+ visibility by becoming an artist partner with the Tennessee Equality Project. “I really wanted to be involved with an LGBTQ+ organization that focused on creating and passing laws that impact our daily lives and the lives of the next generation. That’s what TNEP is all about and why I initially reached out to them,” she says.
For someone who may not feel they have the support to live their true life, Heather’s advice is to reach out online. “There is a vast and beautifully accepting world outside the conservative walls around you. Join an LGBTQ+ group on Facebook or follow an allied business on Instagram. This will help you to find events in your area and meet people who can become an amazing support system. Odds are, there’s more of a community in your own city than you realize,” Heather says.
Therapy and Catharsis
Like the rest of us, Heather has had to find ways to occupy her during the quarantine. “I bought a looper pedal right before quarantine hit — an EHX720 for those interested — and that kept me pretty occupied on many isolated afternoons,” she says. For Heather, music was an anxiety reliever. She says, “I did a live-stream concert every week in April. It was really cool playing songs from the living room where I wrote them and talking with each person who shouted out a thought. In the absence of claps and smiles, people sent their appreciation in so many other ways and that was beautiful.”
Heather says writing music is the therapy and performing it is the catharsis. “Creating a song is an incredibly private and controlled thing. Every lyric is delicately crafted and every note perfectly placed. Performing is taking that perfection and that privacy and throwing it out the window. Because it’s a collective experience between myself and the audience that’s never the same twice,” according to Heather. A crowd’s positive energy, she says, can make her voice climb higher than she thought possible. “It can make my vulnerability a shared strength, seeing my words resonate with others. It can make magic, basically.”
For Heather, the more intimate venues and shows are what she is known for. She says one of her favorite performances was a house show earlier this year where there was no divide between her and the audience. She says, “I could see everyone’s faces and the entire room was so engaged. So on the last song, I decided to teach them a part to sing at the end. And when that part came, I abandoned the microphone and walked among the crowd as we all sang together, closing out the night in harmony. It was really special.”
A Personal Touch
Her recent single, “Roll With Me,” has a personal story to it. She says two people inspired the song. “I wrote, “Roll With Me,” to process and heal from a fight with a girl I was dating, as well as a best friend who was suddenly not in my life anymore,” says Heather. That’s where the first two lines come from — “I know what I’m made of now. When people leave, that’s the least that stays.” Heather explains that coming from a dark place, the song ended up being the light she needed to move on.
While she does not have any shows currently scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Heather says she’s completely thrilled to be back in the studio wrapping up her EP. She says, “Seriously, day one of recording was like Christmas morning. “Roll With Me,” is only the beginning. The second single is set to release this August.”
Learn more about Heather at https://www.heatherbatchelormusic.com/.
You can keep up with her and listen to new music through her social channels: