Discovered by talent manager Justin Goldberg (Grace Potter, Willie Nelson) in 2014, Honey County is an all-female band formed by singer /songwriter Dani Rose, featuring the amazing voices and guitar work of her bandmates Devon Jane and Katie Stump. As a band with a busy schedule both on stage and in the studio, as well as crafting modern, melody-based country songs, Honey County has risen as one of Rolling Stone’s 2017 “Top 10 Artists You Need to Know.” The ladies play, sing and write their three-part harmonies with a southern twang and pop hooks. As they head out on tour with the country duo Thompson Square, they answered a few questions.
Hers Magazine: I see that you’re touring with Thompson Square this fall. What are you looking forward to the most on this tour?
DANI: On this band, Thompson Square, we really look up to them. And personally for me and I think it’s great for the group, watching them onstage and learning different things that they’re doing and just kind of taking everything in what they’re doing onstage, on this tour, I mean there’s different things and different nuances and kind of different situations every single time they perform. So, just kind of watching and learning that and taking that all in and applying it to what we do as a trio for Honey County, is really something that I’m really excited about and that I can’t wait to continue to-to watch.
Also important to note, the tour that we’re doing with Thompson Square, even though we’re doing a couple of dates, festival dates and we just did a show with them at a winery here in Temecula, in Devon’s hometown, we’re doing majority of these shows at army bases and we’ve already done the first two in El Paso and Arizona and the shows are SO rewarding, the audiences are incredible and it feels so, how do I say? It feels like a very good deed we’re doing, but also a really exciting opportunity.
HM: You just released “Sale of the Summer.” That music video was so funny. I really enjoyed it, so could you talk about inspiration for the song and the music video?
DANI: I was driving around one night and I heard this other song about, I don’t what it-it was about something other than like, it was like, I think it was about a sailboat or something and I thought to myself it was like they were having like this sale of the summer, but it was like a sailboat sale and I thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be funny if we had the sale of the summer, but like wouldn’t it be even funnier if it was a girl who was selling all of her ex-boyfriend’s stuff? “And I thought, you know, it’s 2018. Women empowerment. We’re not going to sit around and cry. We’re gonna get even. We’re gonna do something. And we’re gonna make money. Yeah, revenge while we do it. So, I brought the concept to Katie and our drummer, James. And we sat around and kinda played with the idea of what we could make this song about and how we could make it funny and epic. We finished this song. The music video was pretty challenging. Katie said we wanted to have somebody else other than us acting in the music video. Which is something we’ve never done before. But it also kinda worked in our favor, because Devon was not here when we were filming the first day. We were thinking how are we going to get this done. And [Devon] came back from tour and her days have basically been touring with Katy Perry, get exhausted, travel all over the world. And then, as soon as she gets back, she’s got a bunch of work to do with us. So, she got right off the plane and went straight to Orange County. Got right out there and started filming. She filmed on a separate day than us. Even though it really doesn’t look like it. Our director, JD, did an incredible job of making it seem seamless in essence.
HM: So speaking of your writing process, can you kind of describe the writing process, generally? You know where does your inspiration come from? Does it come from you know previous relationships? Or does it some from just sailboats? What kind of inspires you to write all these songs?
KATIE: I think for us it comes from definitely personal experience but also, specifically for Dani and me, we love finding cool concepts and cool song-worthy situations that we either relate to or have experienced or see somewhere else in the world and just kind of tapping into that and making it a personal thing, tapping into what we can relate to and it’s always different; all of our songs were written differently with different people and it’s always a totally different experience, but I think that’s generally what we try to do, even if it’s a made up situation like “Sale of the Summer,” we try to tap into something we can relate to, like Dani’s boyfriend’s things that he actually has at their house and try to connect to it like that and just putting as much of ourselves into it as possible.
HM: So, you’ve described the title of your group “Honey County,” you describe it as this fictional place where you can create your sound. Can you describe what this means and what Honey County means to you? Like where the title comes from?
DANI: Honey County doesn’t exist on a map; there is no place called Honey County. But it does exist whenever we get together and whenever we play show. I think there is a very cool energy that happens when all three of us get together. That energy is more about all of us having fun and a good time together on stage and telling the story of our songs. When we put on a show, it’s could be for five people or it could be for 8,000 or 10,000 and when we do those shows, it’s the same show, we are telling stories, we’re getting the audience engaged, we are pouring our heart into some of these songs because when we sing them, we really feel them and the sad ones, they’re always the same amount of sadness and the happy ones and the fun ones are always the same amount of energy and excitement. And that’s what really Honey County is, it’s a place where you can experience the three of us together putting on this epic show and showcasing all of our talents.
HM: What are you most proud of so far on this journey of Honey County?
DEVON: I’m most proud of our dynamic when we play live and just how much magic there is and like the three of us and we just each kind of have our own place in the band. Dani is this funny front woman who knows just what to say and we’re like her little sisters and minions that like respond to her. Katie’s pretty good at talking too actually. Katie kills it on acoustic over there and sings and I’m like over shredding and I think there’s just like such a power at seeing us live and the energy that I feel when I’m playing with you guys, it’s just incredible and yeah, I think that’s what I’m most proud of for sure.
DANI: I’m proud of our persistence. A lot of people give up. So, we don’t quit, we just keep after it and I think that if you keep after it, the rewards will come. Some people it comes sooner than others but if you stick with it and you are vigilant and diligent, good things will come to you. I’m really proud of our persistence and all the things we’ve been able to get despite not having the big labels and the other kind of help our friends definitely have with radio and all those things that do come with a major label.
HM: You’ve been on stage with some huge names; you said Jake Owen, Old Dominion, Lady Antebellum. What have these experiences taught you? What did you come out of with learning these experiences?
KATIE: What one of those acts does on stage, like interacting with the audience or framing the step up of a sing a long, that kind of stuff Dani really loves to study and learn from like she said before. For me, I really love just getting to be in front of those audiences, it’s just like insane. It’s really cool to play to a hundred people and feel the energy in that kind of small crowd. But when you have 8,000 people watching you, it’s just so insane and the level of the standard that you hold your own performance to just shoots way up and it’s just a really cool feeling and getting to experience that has been so incredible for me, getting to play to an audience that big.
HM: You have a woman that inspires you or empowers you to go out in the world and do what you do?
DANI: Karen Fairchild, she definitely inspires me. Also Lori McKenna, like the most amazing writer, she inspires me, everything she writes incredible.
DEVON: My two are Brandi Carlile and K. T. Tunstall, songwriters, performers, singers, yeah they inspire me the most.
KATIE: Taylor Swift. She does so much and continues to top herself and is such an amazing songwriter.