Deidre Thornell Interview

Deidre Thornell Interview

by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine

Texas-native, Deidre Thornell’s hardworking southern-charmed roots resonate through her soulful voice where storytelling meets show-stopping performance.  Channeling the likeness of Patsy Cline & Miranda Lambert, Deidre creates an undeniable connection with listeners.

A lifelong performer, she recorded her first full length album with Paul Osborn at fourteen, and at fifteen co-wrote her first release, ‘Destination Unknown,’ with multi-Platinum songwriter Ron Grimes (LeAnn Rimes). Heavily involved on the country music circuit in Texas, she sang the National Anthem for many events, most notably the Dallas Cowboys.  In 2013, Deidre secured a National Finalist position in the Texaco Country Showdown, performing at the Ryman – airing on Great American Country TV, orchestrating her move to Nashville a few years later, where she quickly immersed herself in the town’s chart-topping talent pool, soon releasing her EP, ‘Dallas,’ with songs co-written alongside such writers as Kirsti Manna (Blake Shelton, Big & Rich) and Mark Mulch (Priscilla Block, Randy Rogers Band).

Her latest project, ‘Ohio,’ with Grammy-nominated producer Sal Oliveri, highlights her unforgettable sound with matured reflections from years of writing with the best in Nashville, and is a new glimpse into her star power and true talent.

  1. Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your previous releases and your current one?


Deidre Thornell: All my released music is some version of who I am.  I think this new release, ‘Ohio,’ and the ones to follow are who I am as an artist right now.  They all will have a different and versatile sound, like the previous released music, but with the same common thread of “me.”  I’ve been writing in Nashville with some of the best songwriters and I have taken bits and pieces of their advice, style, and expertise.  I’ve been writing songs since I was 13 and had the chance to write one of my first songs with a multi-platinum songwriter, so I really have a vast insight into many different styles.  I think I’ve started to truly get my signature style.  Working with Sal Oliveri was so great for honing in on that!  I know there are times for all types of music, but these days for me, music is truly more about joy and expression, and I have a lot of joy in my life.


  1. Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?


Deidre Thornell: I love upbeat songs, but I also love a good heart-wrenching ballad.  It’s hard to say which I prefer over the other. Singing songs in the studio is much different than performing songs live. Seeing people’s reactions to the different styles is always fun.  I just want to make people happy and feel something when they hear my music.


  1. Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?


Deidre Thornell: It varies from project to project, but I’ve always had a creative say throughout the tracking process. In order: the song is written, the song is recorded by the songwriters, tracked out in demo form or tracked in the room as it’s written or a guitar/vocal audio memo is recorded at the time it was written, then brought to the producer for production and mastering when ready for recording. There have been times when I’ve received the music and it was the complete wrong vision for the song, so I would then decide to work with a different producer who I thought might be able to capture that vision a little more clearly. This is sometimes just a part of the process, but I’ve learned that when people get paid for their time, it’s okay to move on, and generally people are understanding.  It truly is a creative experience from start to finish and some of it is left to chance, and sometimes the best things come out of losing all the control, so I have to trust the process. Ultimately, the process is beautiful, and I learn something with every song.


  1. Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?


Deidre Thornell: I was singing at a well-known venue in Conroe, Texas called Dosey Doe’s. There was a sweet family that I met who attended that night, and from what I could see they absolutely loved and supported live music.  Julia, the daughter, who couldn’t have been older than 7 or 8 years old wore a Hello Kitty pink t-shirt and was so fascinated with the band.  I asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to come up on stage and sing a song with me (knowing she would be the first hand up) and of course she was the first to rush the stage.  We all helped her up. She looked up at me with her big eyes, as we held hands and sang together.  I couldn’t believe how much it touched my heart.  I can’t imagine how she felt being up there, but little does she know how much more it meant to me.  She and her family have supported almost every gig I’ve had in Texas since then. I will always be grateful and cherish those precious memories of fans like Julia. I hope that she makes it to Nashville someday when I have an Opry debut appearance in my future.


  1. Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?


Deidre Thornell: I believe it changes with time. I think as we grow and time passes, so do our influences.  I’m always looking for new inspiration.


As a little girl I aspired to Patsy Cline, George Strait, Tammy Wynette, Bonnie Raitt, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Whitney Houston, Cher, and Reba. Then, there was a shift to Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers Band, Sarah Evans, Jo Dee Messina, LeeAnn Womack, and with each passing year as new artists emerged onto the scene you learn to love the old inspiration and mix it with the new.


As an artist, I also believe in finding “a sound” and the tricky part is to be able to adapt and change and re-invent as time moves forward. I was 13/14 years old when I first started to write songs.  I have sung on stage from the age of 5. Growing up in Texas, the music scene is huge, and talent is plentiful, and I’ve been so blessed to have had the chance to work with many of the great songwriters and artists you may know and want to continue exploring that as my career keeps growing. My roots run deep.  I have musical stories that could take up this whole page from experiences and memories. It’s truly all I’ve ever known.


  1. Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?


Deidre Thornell: Singing the National Anthem at a Dallas Cowboys Game in front of 90k+ people was one of the coolest highlights. Anytime I can sing The National Anthem, it’s a proud moment.  Also, singing on the former Grand Ole Opry stage, now known as The Ryman Auditorium, is a huge milestone, and I crave to get back there.  That’s what set me on my path and truly brought me to Nashville for good. Those highlights I think is what started it all – they are really imprinted on my heart.


  1. Lamitschka:  Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?


Deidre Thornell:  In Nashville, there are a few places that every country music artist dreams of playing – The Ryman Auditorium, The Grand Ole Opry and The Bluebird Café. Of course, I want to sing at the Ryman again, and a performance at The Opry is something I have my sights set on! I have always dreamed of a European tour! Christian, let’s get that started! There are such amazing Country fans internationally. I LOVE to see how much love for Country music has grown.


  1. Lamitschka:  When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?


Deidre Thornell: I always try to go a few days earlier than the gig to do a little exploring and play tourist if I can.  I like getting lost in new scenes and love to take in the people and the surroundings.  I’m a songwriter after all, so I always have an ear to the ground for inspiration or stories and sometimes you have to take yourself out of your everyday scene.


  1. Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?


Deidre Thornell: I was singing in small town in Oklahoma, and we were on a serious time crunch. We were driving in from Texas, and barely made it in time. It was at a small outdoor venue. It was me, my mom, and my younger brother. I literally hopped out of the car, brushed my teeth, had my family on the lookout while I changed in the backseat of the car as all the fans were pouring in. I did my hair and makeup in the front seat, and finally rolled up backstage, with literally just enough time to hop on to perform. It was the closest call I’ve ever had! Thank you, Texas interstate traffic!  This one was an actual ‘road’ story, but if ya’ll knew what went into making it of some of these live performances sometimes, I’m pretty sure it would make a great Comedy!


  1. Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?


Deidre Thornell:  Yes, they can find a lot of information on my website. I am also on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook as well! Feel free to DM me too – I LOVE hearing from my fans and songwriters or artists – don’t be shy!  Ya’ll can find my music on any digital streaming platform or wherever they get their music!

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