The first time I heard Minnie Murphy sing was when Jamie O’Neal was performing at RomaDrama in Franklin. Jamie said, “Come on up and join me.” Murphy was holding her one-year-old son, but that didn’t matter. She just belted out her part with ease. Her love of music and singing rang true. I was even more excited to get to interview her.
Minnie Murphy comes from a musical family. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a town called Bellingham, Washington. Before marrying Patricia, Jimmy Murphy, a guitarist, had a family band that Jamie O’Neal was a part of. The family band toured all over Australia and in the states.
Murphy’s mother, Patricia Murphy, is a classical pianist who studied music at North Texas University. They too made a family band and played locally. That was Murphy’s first experience performing as a child. She began piano lessons at age ten and started writing songs with her mother. When O’Neal visited for Christmas, there was lots of singing and merriment.
There was never another choice career-wise for Murphy.
She states, “I made up my mind that it was music for me as a kid because I felt like music was everything. You could be and do and say what you wanted through music. I saw a lot of freedom as a career choice. You can always learn new things and better your craft.”
She continued, “I also felt a real spiritual calling to it. I feel like the closest thing to feeling God’s presence is when you are really in the zone you can change the atmosphere and something is working through you that’s bigger than yourself. I’m just a fan of music.”
Murphy voyaged across the country with her father to Nashville, where she had the opportunity to write songs with some of the industry’s finest and record a handful of them at the age of 16.
She and her mom wrote and recorded five songs and made a demo and pitched it to several labels. Sony Music contacted her and they flew out to Bellingham where she sang for Cliff Aldrich.
She got a deal as a recording artist and songwriter at age 17. Her mother also got signed as she was often Murphy’s co-writer in many of her songs. She officially moved to Nashville at age 19.
However, when RCA merged with Sony BMG in 2004, Murphy kind of got “lost in the shuffle.”
She started waiting tables and playing the piano bars around town. Former Sony employee Alan Butler who had originally signed Murphy started a new label and signed her to it. But the same thing happened she was on her own again.
She waited tables some more, and kept performing to “keep her chops up.”
In 2018, Minnie faced some personal struggles; however, the tides changed for her after having a baby in 2020. Becoming a mother reignited her passion and vision and has led her to record and release new music, which is fresh and unique. Minnie’s new single is reflective and delivers a potent mix of classic, traditional country along with her unique musical ability to bring passion and real deal emotion to life, both vocally and instrumentally.
She eventually got a publishing deal with Evergreen where she is now.
The songwriter confirms, “[Songwriting] is fun and tough but I love it. It’s therapy. It’s like a brain and a spiritual muscle that you have to keep the wheels turning.”
Murphy’s latest single, “Get Over It” has more of a traditional country sound than some of her previous hits.
She concurs, “I wrote this song with Don Bedell and Trafton Harvey and co-produced it with Jon Conley. We wanted to lyrically express coping with heartbreak, touching upon self-destructive choices made impulsively with consequential disregard. The style is retro, with lots of steel guitar and a sincere, melodic vocal. I think everyone at one time or another has felt restless, lonely, impulsive, and self-destructive due to heartbreak.”
In my opinion, however, where Murphy shines is with her song, “You Can’t Change a Man.” Lyrically, the song reminds one of a young Sheryl Crow. However sonically, as the song progresses, the performer’s big power vocals are more akin to a Carrie Underwood or Shania Twain as it keeps you hanging on until the very last note.
Written with her mom, “You Can’t Change a Man” has kind of that testimonial, gospel vibe.
While performing in town, a person asked her if she would like to be part of the Stone Temple Pilots tribute album, Heavens and Hotrods and she happily agreed. Growing up near Seattle, this alt-rock style was the rage and she knew it intimately.
Even though she now is driven by the country music genre, Murphy Minnie is not afraid to incorporate her love of jazz vocals and R and B into her own rootsy sound. This takes the songstress to a whole other level.
While waiting to tour, she will continue to Livestream shows. Now that she is a parent, her priorities have changed.
She admits, “Some people say you have to say goodbye to your dreams when you become a parent, but for me, it was the opposite because he motivated me to set an example for him to follow his dreams and never give up. No matter what happens (career-wise) I already have won because I have a son.”
In the meantime, “Get Over It” is part of a seven-song LP that will be comprised of a collection of demos and songs from Evergreen’s vast catalog of songs. The title of the country record will be Evergreen and she hopes to release it before the end of the year.
“I am calling the album, Evergreen because I grew up in the Northwest and I love the evergreen trees and what they represent. It’s something that never gets old.”
She reiterates, “Country music has always bravely revealed real-life struggles in this way, and the beauty of it all to me is that once you hear the raw personal story as a song, someone else can relate, and the healing begins. It lets us know we’re not alone. Music helps to trivialize our dramas because if you can sing about it, you can ‘Get Over It.’”
Once you meet this talented artist, don’t assume that she won’t demand the attention you might see from other emerging artists with her quiet nature. But when given a chance to sing and have her music heard, I think it becomes apparent that the depth and range of Murphy’s music is something quite special.
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