You received your degree in Musical Theatre from Western Michigan University and you're also an up-and-coming country singer. What gave you your start?
I started in the basement of our house in Portage. My dad passed away about five years ago, but he had his own studio when I was a kid, so I grew up with music all around me. My parents were worship leaders at church and in country bands, and when I was little I used to hang out with them while they were practicing. I'd sing all my mom's parts.
Now you're doing your own duets, most notably with country star Josh Gracin – are you guys best buds or what?
[Laughs]. Well, I won a contest to perform a song with him, and since then, I have gotten to know him a bit more. I've been able to build friendships with him and his band, and the song we recorded is featured on his album, Redemption. I've also gotten the chance to perform with him when he comes back to Michigan.
You perform a lot around the state, do the nerves get to you more in front of audiences where there are people you know?
Actually, for me it's the opposite. I tend to let loose a little more, and I'm not as nervous. I take a little more note with how people are reacting to my music when there aren't familiar faces.
Speaking of letting loose, what would you have done if you were T. Swift when Kanye West didn't let her finish at the 2009 MTV VMA's?
Honestly, I probably would have tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, I'm not done yet" and given him the silent stare.
Or affectionately known as the "stank eye."
Yes, haha! Make him feel a little awkward.
Kanye West doesn't feel awkward. Ever.
Interview conducted and condensed by Alexandra Fluegel. Edited by Lindsay Patton-Carson.