NBC’s Songland makes dream come true for Thayer native
After graduating high school, Thayer native Halie Wooldridge moved to Nashville, Tenn. and began chasing her dreams in the music industry. Making the move to Nashville was a big step in the right direction, but an even bigger step is becoming a part of NBC's hit show, Songland.
Songland is currently airing its second season. “NBC's groundbreaking series Songland is an authentic view into the creative process of songwriting. It gives undiscovered writers the chance to pitch their original song to top producers and recording artists in the music business. Last season, Songland produced chart-topping hits including seven that reached a #1 rating on the iTunes charts,” said a press release about the show.
Halie will appear in the fourth episode, scheduled to air Monday, May 4 at 9 p.m., as she pitches an original song to five time CMA-winning country superstar, Martina McBride, along with talented series producer-mentors Ryan Tedder, Shane McAnally and Ester Dean.
Growing up listening to her older brothers sing in a band, and watching one of those brothers, Michael Tyler, succeed in songwriting, encouraged Halie who began writing songs at 12-years-old. The press release from Songland stated, “she has songwriting in her blood as her great great great grandpa’s cousin was Jimmie Rodgers, the father of country music. With only 10 percent of country radio from female artists, Halie wants to break the barrier and have one of her songs play on the air.”
Halie was first introduced to the show when she saw it playing on television at her grandma's house last summer. “A show for songwriters?!” she remembered thinking, and being so excited light was being shed on the talent of songwriters, like herself.
When Songland began accepting submissions for the second season, she jumped on board. “I went on the website, made an account and submitted a bunch of songs,” said Halie.
“There are a million things I could say about Songland that are all great. The people that work there were angels. I’ve done modeling and worked with people in the industry but they were also so kind and encouraging. They always made you feel safe,” she explained.
The show really highlights the artists the behind a hit song. Halie has been writing songs since she was 12-years-old. Though she is also a performer, she loves the attention brought to songwriters on Songland. “A lot of writers in Nashville, and everywhere, are always wondering, 'how do I get my songs pitched to a big artist?' I don't have a publishing deal. I am independent and write when I can. I don't have management, so when I got to go on Songland, it brought me to what, literally, every artist dreams of, pitching your song to a big artist.”
From a very young age, Halie knew she wanted to pursue a career in the music industry. “For myself, I always knew. I love music and that is exactly what I wanted to do. The best advice I could give someone younger, who is wanting to do what I do, is to focus on the goal. Don't give up, don't think about what others are doing, because if you think about other songwriters/artists, you'll go crazy. Always keep your mind in a positive place.”
Halie pitched her song to one of her favorite country music artists, Martina McBride. “I remember being a little girl and hearing her songs come on in the car. This One's For the Girls, was one song that I just LOVED and would sing along with. When I was little, I never in a million years thought I would go on a TV show and pitch one of my songs to one of my FAVORITE female country artists. I never thought that would happen. It is just a dream come true.” To make the meeting even better, Halie said, “she is so sweet and nice”.
Not only does Halie have superstar role models to look up to – she has a superstar songwriter brother, Michael Tyler, to look up to. “I had two older brothers who had a band when I was little, [I've] been around Michael all the time and he writes, I've just always had someone to look up to who was successful. Of course a part of me is a little jealous, because I'm like, 'dang, I want to do that'. I have always been the type to say what I want to do and do it,” explained Halie.
Goofy, outgoing, crazy and talkative are characteristics Halie used to describe her personality. “Something I want people to know: If for any reason I get famous or my career takes off, I don't want people to forget that I am the humble, crazy, outgoing and goofy girl. I don't want people to think I will ever change because that will always be my personality.”
The down to earth, fun-loving young woman also has a deep appreciation for her hometown. “My hometown means everything to me. I literally wouldn't be anything if it wasn't for Thayer, Mo. This town has built me and I have learned a lot about myself just through the people here. I know this sounds corny, but nature here in Missouri and everything about it, has taught me about myself.”
“No dream is too big,” is a piece of advice Halie tells others and something she has realized firsthand. “Songland makes dreams come true.”