An hour of free time, a triple dose of talent, thousands of subscribers and a little patience may just lead to nearly 148,000 hits on YouTube and approval from one of country’s hottest acts.
“It’s funny because it’s something we whipped up and didn’t have a lot of time to rehearse,” said Taylor Edwards, freshman songwriting major at Belmont University. “We literally put that video together in 45 minutes.”
Edwards, along with Belmont sophomores Palmer Lee and Christine Hillmann recorded and posted their cover of “Hell On Heels,” a song originally by the Pistol Annies, on YouTube February last year. But it wasn’t until this year that the cover went viral.
The video finally got recognition when it was featured on the Pistol Annies’ Facebook page with the caption “These girls do a pretty impressive cover of “Hell on Heels!” The post received over 300 comments and 4,000 “likes” from Pistol Annies fans.
“It had been a year since we posted it, almost to the day,” said Hillmann, who said they were all shocked and excited to hear the news.
Edwards caught wind of the news when she saw her Twitter and Facebook artist page buzzing with people telling her to check out what the Annies had posted about their video.
“It actually came at perfect timing. There were things happening during the day that were just not going right and all of a sudden I see my Twitter and Facebook like Pistol Annies posted your video, go check it out!” said Edwards. “I was thinking, ‘OK no they didn’t,’ but they actually had!”
Lee was in class when she learned what happened, “I’m not even supposed to be on my phone, and I’m like freaking out. It was crazy!”
Though their honest excitement may hint otherwise, Edwards, Lee, and Hillmann are no strangers to musical and YouTube successes.
Edwards’ credits much of her YouTube channel’s success to superstar country duo Sugarland. Since they shared her cover of their hit song “Stuck Like Glue,” Edward’s channel has grown to nearly 13,000 subscribers.
Lee’s country/folk duo 3rd and Union had its self-titled, debut album peak at 29 on the iTunes country charts when it was released in November 2012, without the help of a record label.
Additionally, Hillmann has been mentioned by country hit-maker Jake Owen who tweeted her cover videos of his songs, “Alone With You” and, “The One That Got Away” to his nearly half a million followers.
With the buzz surrounding the three country hopefuls since the recent Pistol Annies nod, Edwards, Lee, and Hillmann have discussed the possibility of officially forming a group.
“I would totally be up for pursuing a group,” said Hillmann. “I am doing my own thing but I think if all of us generated interest, definitely.”
Edwards agreed, adding, “there have been a few places that have asked if we could play, but then I have to tell them that we aren’t actually a trio. I think it would be fun to put a set together and go play a show or two.”
Though they all agree that playing together could potentially be very successful, logistically it may be difficult with as busy and ambitious their current plans are.
Lee is working on a solo EP, as well as beginning work on the second album with 3rd & Union band mate, and fellow Belmont student, Chase Coy.
“That’s been picking up a lot, and we’re about to start writing our next album,” said Lee.
Hillmann, an honors student at Belmont, will be recording a full album throughout the next two years for her senior thesis project.
“That’s my big endeavor,” she said. “I’m hoping it’s going to be a 12-song record, so I might release two or three songs before the album comes out. I’ve also been writing a lot and want to get those songs recorded.”
Edwards is a songwriting major and has recently been focusing on figuring out who she wants to be as an artist, as well as experimenting with co-writing.
“Before I moved to Nashville, I wrote by myself like a couple times a week, because in my town that wasn’t really a huge thing to do, so it was kind of the only thing I knew,” she said. “Being in college and meeting people who share so many of the same ideas has been so fun.”
Regardless of these current projects, the girls could change their plans at the drop of a hat due to the ever-unpredictable nature of the music industry.
“You know,” Edwards said. “Right now we’re all kind of wanting to pursue solo stuff but you never know what will happen.”
To hear more from Taylor Edwards, Palmer Lee, and Christine Hillmann, check out their YouTube and artist pages here: