By: Kelly Shea
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, if you told me I’d be going to school in Nashville following a career in Public Relations about three years ago, I’d probably laugh in your face.
Manhattan was always my dream city. It had my heart from the start. The spark of electricity walking the Manhattan streets had me set on living there for the rest of my life. The people, food, and especially the music, has always been enough for me to never leave. There was never a time I didn’t feel inspired, like they say, “New York is not a city, it’s a world,” and hell was I going to make it mine.
I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve played soccer since I was five years old and it’s all I ever knew. Two knee surgeries later, I knew that the college athlete life wasn’t for me. I kind of felt lost after that. I lost most of my friend group for quitting, I didn’t exactly know what to do with myself. I was searching for a passion that wasn’t ready to be found. I always had little ideas in my head of what I wanted to do, but was always nervous to make it into a reality. Concerts and sports were always already a part of my life, but I didn’t know how to apply it to a major or job.
“She found dreams listening to music one night in New York City.”- R. M. Drake
Growing up, I’ve always gone to concerts in Manhattan along with baseball games in queens (Lets Go Mets.) Long Island has many options too don’t get me wrong, but nothing compares to going into Manhattan for a particular reason. It’s like a mini-vacation even though I’m only about half-an-hour away from home. Concerts, especially in Manhattan, were my way of escaping. I left all my worries at the door and cleared my head for an hour or two.
Photo: @listeningroomcafe + @thecountrynash
Country Music has always been an immense part of my life. My mom and I always had a plan to visit the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, but never really had the time to plan a trip. My mom actually got an email from Lipscomb University about soccer recruitment and we both laughed saying, “Who in the world would go to Tennessee to play soccer?” Well, about a year later in my junior year of high school, I visited the campus and fell in love just like that. Not only did I fall in love with the campus, but Nashville gave me a sudden rush of clarity of where I belonged. I started going to writers rounds and fell in love with everything about it.
One of the first writers-rounds I went to was at The Listening Room Cafe, watching the Song Suffragettes. It”s all about letting the girls showcase their songs, If you haven’t been, I suggest checking them out. A group of about 5 different girls play every Monday at 6pm at The Listening Room Cafe. Another one of my favorites to see a round is The Country. It’s kind of like an open bar-garage, and reminds me a little bit of Greenwich Village in Manhattan, which is probably why I’m obsessed with going there. A lot of my favorite small artists will pop up playing there every so often and I’m so content with it. It’s a known fact that if you visit Nashville, you have to go to The Bluebird Cafe. Even though it’s difficult to buy tickets, the waiting list line is your best friend. Most of the time I don’t even know one of my favorites is playing there until the night before! So get on the waiting line and be one of the first 12.
The artists, their stories, hearing how they came up with songs, it’s so intriguing because you don’t know what you’re going to hear next. It honestly made me angry; these artists weren’t getting enough credit he/she deserved.
I want to make a name for myself in the music industry in the PR world.
I want to discover new artists and give them the recognition they deserve.
I want to put myself out there and stop feeling comfortable with being mediocre.
Moving from New York to Nashville was so bittersweet. The transition scared the hell out of me. Everyone would tell me that I was going to love it, others would say, “how are you going to live almost 1,000 miles away from home with knowing not a single soul?” I’m the biggest homebody there is, so yes I was extremely nervous and cried a lot. Once I moved here and got settled into my dorm, I realized it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. Nashville slightly reminds me of New York in little ways. The villages, the people, the energy are all similar, I think that’s why I felt so comfortable when I first visited, it was similar, yet completely different.
The coffee shops in Nashville, most certainly remind of Manhattan in their interior and aesthetic. One of my absolute favorites is CREMA on Hermitage Ave. I ordered the 16oz iced coffee and never looked back; I’ve ordered it every single time since. It’s super close to downtown! If you want to walk to save money, it’s the move. The Well Coffeehouse on Granny White Pike has saved my sleep schedule. It’s been my go-to, being right next to Lipscomb and all. It needs to be a part of my meal plan, because that’s mostly where all my money goes.
I went to my first Nashville Sounds
game this past summer, and of course it was Lipscomb University night (I didn’t plan that.) Coming from a big baseball family, of course you have to check out the options you have being away from home. They have a lot of activities going on before and during the game! Mostly everyone was hanging out in one area, they have ping-pong tables right by the bar. If you want to drop your under 21-year-old friend/child off to get a drink, that’s the place to do it.Photos: @nashvillesounds
I’ve made some of the best friends in the past two months and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The support they give me in coming to writers rounds and concerts not only has meant the world to me, but they’ve gained interest in what I love doing also. I came here to meet new people and follow my dreams, and I’m lucky enough to have fulfilled both.
If you are ever in the same position as me, scared to move away from home, not just to Nashville but somewhere where you’re scared to move, do it. Don’t think. Just feel.
It’ll be the best move you’ll ever make. Nashville has my heart and I don’t want it back.
I’m currently a freshmen at Lipscomb University studying Strategic Communications.
You can find me at a concert, a baseball game, or most definitely Taco Mamacita stuffing my face with guac.