1st Place “Lost And Found” written by Kristen Sullivan
Videos by American Songwriter
Interview by Caine O’Rear
So what inspired this song?
There is this quote by George Eliot that I’ve always loved that says, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” And I am at a point in my life right now (let’s just say I’m close to 40) when you really take inventory of things. You look around and think, “Uh oh. I haven’t accomplished half of what I thought I would have by now.” And I think it’s that way for most people. When you’re very young, you have all of these ideas and goals for your life, but you don’t realize how life is full of all kinds of distractions and setbacks. I don’t know anyone whose life has turned out the way they planned it. It’s so easy to lose yourself and lose your way. It’s basically a hopeful song about reclaiming yourself and your dreams.
When did you write this one?
I wrote this song about a month ago, so it’s brand new. It sort of came to me in little pieces over the span of a week. I kept hearing the line, “I don’t think it’s too late to turn this car around” over and over in my head. Finally, I just had to sit down and write it, and all the pieces came together.
Do you typically write for a certain genre?
No, not really. I definitely tend to lean a little to the folksy, country side, though. Maybe just from being a Georgia girl and having that kind of music always around. My own musical tastes are all over the place. I don’t think my style is confessional, but it is personal. I just want to be able to tell a story and write lyrics that people can connect to.
What inspires you to write? Are there things you look to, to get your muse jogging?
Inspiration comes to me in these big waves. I can go long stretches of time without writing at all, and then, all of the sudden, it’s like a dam breaks in my head, and all of these ideas start coming to me. It’s really mysterious, and I wish I were more disciplined the way some writers are. But I think creativity begets more creativity. I try not to get too anxious during the dry spells. The biggest obstacle for me most of the time is just making myself sit down and write and not give in to laziness or excuses. I’ve found that childhood is a deep well of inspiration, too. Memories of being a kid can be very powerful.
Are there any artists that you’ve discovered lately that you’re really into?
There are so many talented artists out there right now. I really like Brandy Clark and Kasey Musgraves. I love the sassiness and the humor in their songs. They sing about things that really matter. I love “Girl In A Country Song” by Maddie and Tae. When I first heard it, I thought, “Finally! I’m not the only person sick to death of country songs about trucks and drinking and tan legs!” What I’ve heard of Meghan Trainor I really like. She’s fun and her songs are catchy, but she’s different from everything else on the radio right now.
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