In this interview spotlight, we chat with Nashville based singer/songwriter Pagentri about influences, challenges, her latest project and more.
Full Q&A along with links and music below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
I am from Fort Mill South Carolina and I moved to Nashville a little over 2 years ago only knowing a few people. It was a bit of a scary move, but looking back it was the best decision I ever made. If I never made the move, I wouldn’t be where I am today with my music.
I grew up singing many different genres and have a big voice. I was always attracted to a full band sound with a large vocal range. I gravitate towards pop-rock music, and that is the genre of my recent release “Pagentri,” which is also my artist alias. My rock sound matched the edgy persona known as Pagentri, which is very different from the Rachel Tripp that many people have known over the past 24 years.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
My music journey began at 3 years old when I stole the microphone at a daycare Christmas program and started singing “Amazing Grace.” I continued to perform every chance I had, and thrived off the adrenaline rush. I also have a very musical family. My dad is a Producer in Charlotte, so I grew up with a studio at my fingertips. He introduced me to the songwriting and recording process. Creating music and performing was an everyday thing and that lead to many trips to Nashville.
After college, I knew making the move to Nashville was the next step to chase my dreams. I started to perform as much as possible from writers’ nights in Midtown to closing down Broadway with country covers. It took me a while to truly settle into my artist voice, but the excitement of performing is what kept me hungry for more. I’ve always loved being on stage and performing to make people feel something, if it’s making them wave their hands and sing along or moving them to tears. Music is supposed to make you feel something, and I’ve always wanted my gift to touch others. My goal every time I step on stage is to touch someone’s life in some way. Sometimes we are going through things in life and music is the only thing that can make us feel anything. I want my music to impact everyone that hears it or sees me live.
The supportive nature from the Nashville community kept it easy to stay motivated and driven. I truly believe there is no place on earth like Music City. Everyone wants to see you succeed and achieve your dreams. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support I’ve had since I moved here. I get emotional thinking about all the talented and loving people in this city who have helped my dreams become a reality. Nashville has been a blessing.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
This release is different than anything I’ve every released. This is the first project where I was a part of the entire songwriting and production process for each song. For past releases, I never got to decide on the songs or the production. This is my first release under the alias Pagentri and it’s taken a lot of artist discovery and growth to get to this point in my music career.
I believe to have meaningful songs to share with the world, you must live life and experience all different types of things. You must put yourself out of your comfort zone, and it’s taken my 24 years to get to a comfortable place in my artistry and be able to share a confident, but also a vulnerable side. When you hear the project you realize that showing vulnerability is a powerful thing.
The goal for this release, was to establish an artist voice and brand that was very different than the girl that most of my peers are familiar with. My artistry is an edgy and dark rock vibe with very raw lyrics. I wanted to create Pagentri to create an artist that would leave a mark with powerful vocals, honest lyrics and sex appeal. An image of a girl, who is more than just a pretty face. A strong woman, who has flaws and owns them and grows from them. A woman who doesn’t let ego get in the way and shows her imperfections. I believe once you hear the music that female image is evident.
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
Technology and social media have been a HUGE help to my music! I actually had an Indiegogo campaign to fund recording the 5th song for my EP and for a marketing budget, and I exceeded my goal of $6,000. It was one of my biggest accomplishments as an artist. Social media and ad campaigns were a huge part of my campaign success. I believe all indie artists must be active and proficient on social media to have a successful career. Fan engagement is key, and in today’s digital world, a large part of it should be in the digital space.
There are so many tech tools out there too that help indie artists, from tools that collect data for marketing purposes, to tools to incorporate in your administration process, so ensure everyone receives accurate payment and credit for their music contributions. Some of my favorite tech tools that all music artists should adopt are Jammber for music administration and Hootsuite for marketing management.
To be a successful indie artist, you must be business savvy. The answer to making money as an indie artist is to utilize technology and to gather as much data as possible. Data is power!
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?
My music is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play. Just search for Pagentri. Be sure to like my artist page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, if you want to learn the stories behind my lyrics check out my blog.
I’m always posting content about shows, giveaways and just day in the life things!
Anything else before we sign off?
I am so thankful to God for my gift of music, family and friends and the continuous support from the Nashville community. My talented team helped make this dream a reality and whether you like my music or not I want to share this journey with all of you. We all have goals we want to achieve and share, and once you find your tribe to cheer you on and support you, anything is possible. Never, ever give up on your dreams and never let anyone belittle you or tell you that you can’t accomplish something. Thanks to these awesome people who helped me create the music you are hearing: Kirsti Manna, Ashley Rose, Tim McDonald, Bill DiLuigi, Bill Warner, Rich Redmond, Jeff King, Jimmy Carter, Jared Anderson, Matt Singleton.