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Country Singer Montana Modderman On What It’s Like to Be an Independent Artist & How She Balances College with Her Music Career (Exclusive Q&A)


Montana Modderman started writing songs when she was just 10 years old, and began writing her own music at age 13. Her career then skyrocketed once she began posting song covers on her YouTube channel, but she found the most success once she began sharing original music. Reminiscent of a “Teardrops on my Guitar-era” Taylor Swift, Montana's music is country through and through. She writes all of her own original songs, and draws on her own life for inspiration.

Her first single, “Didn’t Mean To,” was released on July 27 and has been a huge success. As an independent artist, Montana had to work to get this song released all on her own. She was tasked with finding a distributor to release her music on digital platforms like iTunes and Spotify, and she has done all promotions for the single on her own through social media. To accomplish this, it takes immense drive, and Montana has it in spades. She balances a music career with a college education, and she's slated to finish her Mass Communications degree at USF in the coming year. With a move to Nashville and EP on the horizon, Montana is definitely one to watch. 

We had the chance to sit down with Montana to discuss her music, career, and inspirations.


AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE NOW. Buy it. Stream it. All the things.

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Her Campus: When did you realize you wanted to become a singer?

Montana Modderman: I always loved music. At a very young age I would listen to Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. My parents had this old stereo down in our living room and I would just put on the CDs and dance and pretend to put on shows. I think I realized I really loved it when I started writing, which was when I was around 10 or 11 years old. And then I started playing guitar at 13 and that’s when I really knew “I really want to do this.”

HC: You started posting a lot of videos on YouTube really early on, what made you decide to do that?

MM: I just did covers at first, and then I started putting my [original] music out there are as well. I think that music is changing so much, but there’s so many different people that I know, like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, that all posted YouTube videos before they became superstars. So I was just watching people like them and Megan & Liz—I watched their videos for a long time. I’m obsessed with them and I absolutely love them—and I thought “oh that would be fun.”

I haven’t really posted consistently, but I just like to share videos whenever I do covers. It’s just fun.

HC: Like you said, so many people have gotten their start on YouTube and there’s so many people posting covers. Is there anything that you do to make yourself stand out?

MM: I started showing some of my own music that I wrote, which I think is what makes me a little bit different. I write my own music and lyrics, and for me that’s super important. I want my songs to be honest and reflective of what I’m going through, because I think that what I’m going through a lot of people can relate to. I really try to write about personal experiences and share them with the world.

HC: Where do you find inspiration for your original music?

MM: I really try to write from personal experiences—whether it’s something that I’m going through like relationships, love, or breakups or whatever the situation is like insecurities or growing up, I write about all those things. Whatever is going on in my life.

I also write about what I see other people close to me going through. So if I see it and [if] I’m close enough to the situation where I feel like I understand it and I feel like “that’d be a great song,” then I’ll sit down and write about that. I really try to keep it focused mainly on the things I’ve experienced so that it’s honest.

HC: Writing about personal experiences definitely makes your music a lot more relatable to your audience as well.

MM: I think so too. It’s really important to me. I just really want to be honest and tell stories through song. It’s what I love to do, and I love that people love the stories that I’m telling.

HC: How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it?

MM: It’s definitely country, and I would say it has a bit of pop elements in there as well—but it’s definitely country. The best description would be “country with a hint of pop.”

HC: Are there any specific artists that you look up to?

MM: Yes, Faith and Shania like I said before. They have been huge inspirations to me. I love their music, I love the way they perform, I think they’re amazing. Taylor Swift is also one that specifically stands out to me. For me, as a songwriter, the fact that she writes all her music is so important. She’s an incredible entertainer—she just always puts on a good show. Her music is so relatable, and I feel like she writes about whatever she’s going through as well. She’s very honest in her songwriting and I think that’s what makes her so good at what she does.

HC: You have a new single out called “Didn’t Mean To,” can you talk a little bit about what the song is about?

MM: I always like to describe it as an unexpected love song. I wrote it from a place of being blinded by my own feelings, so the song has really allowed me to just be honest with myself and how I was feeling. I honestly just sat down on my living room floor with my guitar and a notebook and started writing the song. It started just as an idea of me being honest and writing how I was feeling. I’m so proud of the way it turned out and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it.

HC: You've written a lot of original songs before, and you’ve posted a lot of them on your YouTube channel. What was the process like of actually releasing this one as a single?

MM: For me, writing so much, it’s hard because I feel like each song is special. So deciding on which one I was going to put out there on iTunes and Spotify and all the digital platforms was difficult at first. I had over 112 songs written in a book and I had to decide on one. So I narrowed down the list a little bit and then I had people that I really trust listen to the options. In my gut I kind of thought “Didn’t Mean To” was the one I had to go with, but I wanted other people’s opinions as well. So I had them listen to it and they said the same thing. I had them write down their top picks, and “Didn’t Mean To” was at the top, so that’s when I knew it was the one.

After that I went to Nashville to record vocals, then we worked on the final mix, I got it back and now it’s about ready to be released.


Stumbled upon magic // 7.27.18 #DidntMeanTo

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HC: So with all those other songs, do you see an album coming in your future?

MM: I definitely want to get an EP out there, but I’m kind of just waiting right now to see how this first single goes and then we’re going to make plans on where to go from there. But definitely, I have so many songs I want to get out there and I’m so excited to share the rest of them with people.

HC: What’s really inspiring about you is that you don’t have a publicist so all of the promotion that you’re doing for this single, you’re doing independently. What’s that been like?

MM: I’m an independent artist, so a lot of the stuff that I do is with social media—just putting it out there and sharing it with people. And then I work with TuneCore, who’s a distributor. There’s so many digital distributors now, there’s CD Baby and a bunch of others that distribute music online. So I sent my song to them, and then they sent it to iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, Amazon Music and all the digital platforms and that’s how it gets onto those platforms.

But, as far as marketing goes, I’ve been doing a lot of work with social media and sharing the music with people. It’s a lot of work, doing it by yourself, but it’s super fun and it’s exciting.

HC: You’re in college right now, can you talk a little bit about what you’re studying and if it’s been difficult to balance your music career with school?

MM: I’m a student at the University of South Florida and I’m a mass communications major. It is a bit difficult when you’re taking a full load of classes, but it’s worth it to me. I really wanted to get my degree and it’s super important to me. But next year I’m actually moving up to Nashville, and I’ll be finishing my senior year online with USF and I’ll be taking a course up at a university in Nashville. But my university as been super awesome working with me and being flexible trying to figure out my schedule. My advisor is so amazing because she knows that I want to do music and she knows that’s where my heart is, so she’s been super supportive in helping me navigate this so that I can be in Nashville next year and still graduate with my degree.

HC: What made you decide to move to Nashville?

MM: Nashville is where it is for music, I feel like it’s the place to be for sure so I really just wanted to be up there. I want to be able to learn from other writers, I want to be able to write with other people. There’s just so many writers in Nashville and I feel like moving there will allow me to learn so much from other people. I just want to learn as much as I can as fast as I can, and moving there will allow me to do that.

HC: If you could give your 10-year-old self some advice for the future, what would it be?

MM: I would say don’t stop, don’t give up and keep writing.

Follow Montana Modderman on Instagram and Facebook for updates on her music and upcoming shows.

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