When it comes to powerhouse pipes, rising country artist Tiffany Woys doesn’t disappoint. The confident California native with an impressive vocal range fell in love with music years ago after watching stars like Celine Dion, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood captivate audiences with their soaring performances.
For Woys, those early memories helped her to understand her own true calling, and with the blessing of her parents, she made the trip to Music City to pursue her dreams of becoming a country star. In 2018, she released her debut single “Priceless,” which was written by Emily Shackelton, Kelly Archer and Mickey Guyton. The song spent several weeks in Radio Disney Country’s Top 20, and is now included on Woys’ self-titled EP, produced by Bobby Campbell.
The four-song collection, which dropped earlier this year, also features Woys’ festive and upbeat track, “Spark,” the Shane McAnally, Trevor Rosen and Sara Haze-penned “Love Has No Heart” and infectious “Last Call Weakness.”
Woys’ latest single, a hard-driving breakup anthem titled, “Hostage,” which she says is “about feeling like a prisoner to your own heart in a toxic relationship,” was released on July 12 as the follow up to her EP.
Country Now recently caught up with Woys to chat about her musical journey, some of the tunes on her EP as well as her plans for the coming months.
Read on for our exclusive Q&A with Tiffany Woys.
Melinda Lorge: When did your passion for music begin?
Tiffany Woys: I had to have been 4 or 5, and it was the moment that I heard Celine Dion. I credit her for the reason that I still do music in a sense, just because she’s my biggest inspiration by far, and my mom was a huge Celine Dion nut. I remember my mom dropping my sister off at school every day, and it was before I was even in kindergarten, just listening to Celine Dion on repeat. As a kid, you don’t really know what you want to do for your future, but that first time I saw her live, I think I was like 6, and whatever she did is all I knew I ever wanted to do.
Lorge: What brought you to the country music genre?
Woys: The first time I heard LeAnn Rimes was the moment I decided I wanted to do country. It was when I heard her version of the national anthem, which wasn’t even one of her songs. I then started diving into other artists in country music at that time, like Faith Hill and Martina McBride. It was just the authenticity of it all, especially with those three artists, and then jumping toward Carrie Underwood years later. They were all vocalists first and foremost, and that’s what I gravitate toward the most. It wasn’t necessarily the writing, it was the entertaining part of it. It was the standing up and really enjoying the act of just singing. That’s what I first fell in love, just getting on a stage and singing and being a vocalist. All of those people are stylists and vocalists, and that’s kind of where I started honing in on who I was as an artist.
Lorge: When did you decide to make music a career?
Woys: I decided in 2008 that music is what I wanted to do, but my parents really encouraged me to go to school, so I went to San Francisco for college, and I was traveling home every weekend to meet with a vocal coach. I put my first self-titled album together that is no longer available to be heard, but it was just a great experience. Then, when I moved home from college, I put a band together and toured up and down the West Coast for about four years. I was able to hone in on my live show, and really figure out what that entails, like all the equipment that you need and the way you organize a live show by song order, and talking points and all these things are really important just to be an entertainer. I just started at honky-tonk bars and I was doing three-hour sets for four years and that was really draining, but I also don’t regret it because it taught me to be the entertainer that I am today.
Lorge: As a vocalist, have you thought about trying out for reality shows like American Idol or The Voice?
Woys: I’ve actually done it. I tried out for American Idol in 2009. I’ll never regret doing it because it was a just fun experience in general. I wasn’t putting too much weight into it either. It was really hard for me to watch, where a lot of people used up their last paychecks to get from wherever they were to make this audition. For me, I was just going for fun. And it put a lot into perspective for me to see how many people are so amazing at what they do, and there’s not even a fraction of the talented people in the world that you get to hear, and actually get to know, and be inspired by, so that was eye-opening for me altogether. I wouldn’t do it again, because I feel like now being independent and with social media we have such a different platform that we can take our music to. I’m not really in it for the show business side of things; I’m in it because I love being on stage and entertaining, so the idea of going through a television show isn’t exactly my journey, but I know how it’s worked for so many, and how many people love it, it’s just not my journey.
Lorge: What kind of response did your family have when you told them that you wanted to move to Nashville?
Woys: We kind of knew it was the direction we were going to take for about five years, so it wasn’t a shock. I had been doing all of this stuff in California for so long, and I think it was just a matter of, when is the next step to actually do this? Because I can’t physically chase my country music dream in Sacramento, California. I believe that you kind of have to be in Nashville, at least for the majority of it. It’s such a community-based genre, and connections and relationships mean a lot here That matters to me. I’m a big relationship person, so I wanted to be here to make sure I’d be able to actually meet people, and make connections with these people and build relationships. So, I think, when I told them, I had slowly but surely built a team around me that I really trust and are basically my family now, they had said, ‘Alright, it’s time. You gotta pack your bags. You gotta go.’ For my family and I, there was no hesitation it was like, ‘Okay, when do you want the bags packed? They can be packed up as of yesterday.’ I think it was just that moment when the bird was ready to leave the nest.
Lorge: Now that you’re in Nashville, have you tried your hand at songwriting yet?
Woys: I have actually. I do love the process. I think the more I dive into me being an artist, I’ll get more into that. I know I will, because I majored in English and I love writing. Right now it’s not my story, but I know I’ll give it more of a go later when I have more that I want to say. I think it’s really special to take songs that may never get the opportunity to be heard or cut. We’re in such a community of songwriters, that it’s all about the song. And if I’m able to blow the cobwebs off of things to get heard, I would love to be that vehicle.
Lorge: Tell me about your single, “Spark.”
Woys: The song was actually the first song that I heard that ended up on the EP. I had recorded so many songs prior to just the final four and then you end up kind of transitioning in and out of things and you grow out of songs. “Spark” never left me, and I always felt so passionate about it. I think it’s because it’s so different and it’s something you haven’t heard on the radio. To me, it sounded like a niche that needed to be filled in the market where I felt like people would really resonate with it, and the sound is so unique that I instantly connected with it.
Lorge: How about the song “Love Has No Heart?”
Woys: That song gets me the most. If I had to pick a favorite on the EP it would be that one, even though I don’t like to pick favorites. My rule of thumb is when I listen to songs, I don’t look at who wrote them, because I don’t think that’s a fair way to judge. Sometimes I think it’s easy if you see a name that you know is bigger, your brain might tell you that you like it more than you do. When I heard this song I started crying. I was like, ‘I am absolutely in love with it.’ And, when they pitched it to me, we realized that it was on hold for Brett Young. I was like ‘Ugh great, like, that stinks. But, he’s gonna kill it. He’ll do great because that’s such a great song.’
I was in a really happy relationship at the time. We had been together for about four years, and it was before I had moved to Nashville, I had heard the song. Just by the grace of God, which it’s not that this is a good thing, but he broke up with me when I moved to Nashville. He had called me and said, ‘I don’t love you, I’m out, and I’m never gonna move to Nashville.’ It devastated me, and it was just such a coincidence that a week later I got a call that said that Brett Young wasn’t gonna cut the song and that I got the opportunity. I was next in line. That, to me, was such a gift and just a blessing. I know that everything happens for a reason. That song was just a tool for me to be able to cope and move on past that relationship. Music does do amazing things and that song got me through probably the biggest heartbreak I’ve ever been through in my life.
Lorge: That song was definitely meant for you then.
Woys: Yeah, and it was even weirder to find out that it was written a month before I actually met that guy. It was sitting on a shelf for five years. Nobody touched it. Nobody cut it. Nobody was doing anything with it, it was just collecting cobwebs. And it was almost like that song was written to tell my story later.
Lorge: What do you hope fans will take away from your music?
Woys: It’s so cheesy, but for people to follow their dreams like I am. It’s cliché and everything, but it’s so true. I think it all starts with a dream, a song or an idea or something. And if people didn’t follow those crazy things then we wouldn’t have anybody.
Lorge: So, what’s next for you?
Woys: We will be releasing more singles. I think that’s the avenue we’re gonna take right now. I released the EP because I kinda needed people to see a body of work introducing me as an artist so people can get an idea of who I am. I think sometimes just one song doesn’t really give you a full picture of somebody. You need a little bit of everything. That’s what I wanted to do because I was new and people hadn’t met me yet. They didn’t know me, they didn’t know anything about me. This was my introduction to country music. Now that I’ve released the EP and people have music to go to reference me as an artist, I’m on the journey of probably doing a bit more [of a] single strategy than a full album.
Lorge: What are you most looking forward to throughout the rest of 2019?
Woys: Hopefully performing. I miss being on stage more than anything. That’s just like my second home. Not being able to be on stage has been really, really hard. I think that and releasing the new music that we’ve been working on. We have two songs right now. It’s so crazy to me to be so excited about songs we’ve done and then to look and be even more excited about the new stuff. I think you just constantly get more and more excited about something you have to bring out. And I think people will really, really love the new stuff. It’s showing how I continue to grow as an artist, which is really great.
For more with Tiffany Woys, fans can visit her official website.