Rising country singer Diana Upton-Hill is one of those artists to watch out for in the future, with diverse mad creative skills, and is humbly down to earth to boot.
After years of regional theater roles like Cinderella in Into the Woods and Ellen in Miss Saigon, Upton-Hill is climbing the Billboard charts with her new single "Southern Gentleman," on her first country album, Do Love Well.
AXS: Tell us about your early days onstage.
I got the performing bug at three years old singing with my Dad's rock and country bands that he put together, singing in bars, and a few festivals. They'd just let me sing.
AXS: What drew you to musical theater?
In High School, I got totally obsessed with musical theater after watching a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and it opened my eyes up to a whole new realm of music. Now I have come full circle, getting back into country and live music.
AXS: Give us the backstory to your new single "Southern Gentleman."
"Southern Gentleman" on the surface is this fun, danceable pop-country song. If you listen to the lyrics, it's about how we ladies should never settle for anything less than the best in relationships.
AXS: Speaking of another southern gentleman mentioned in the song. Are you an Elvis fan?
Heck yes! It all started because my grandmother was in love with him. That hair. That swagger. That voice. Yep, I'm definitely an Elvis fan!
AXS: What other jams are you listening to these days?
I've been dancing around lately to the Mixtape station on iTunes Radio. It jumps around between 90s alternative to 80s new wave and 70s classic rock. That music is the BEST to clean my house!
AXS: Any plans to jump back into musical theater, while still keeping up your country roots?
I am opening myself up to do more musical theater possibly, maybe do a role or two next year. I would like to think in this day and age that we can be artist however we want to be - however we feel we are being led, go down different paths, and our audience and fan-base will still follow us because they like what we are creating.
AXS: How do you see the state of country music in the next 5-10 years?
I see it continuing to evolve as it has lately. I think we are going to bring more dance elements and electronic music. We're going to have different styles of country music, just like rock, or punk or pop music have different genres; country music will have the same kind of styles if you will.
AXS: Why has country music continued to evolve?
Today with the internet and social media, we're all connected on a global level, we see all these other cultures come into play, we're much more of a melting pot culturally as individuals these days. I really think that's why country music continues to shift and reinvent itself.
AXS: Any acting roles you would love to take a crack at in the future?
I've had voiceover roles in the past and love doing them. I'd love to try an animated feature someday; I think that would be very cool.
Check out Diana Upton-Hill on the road through the fall and a possible Christmas album and holiday tour later this year.