Aubrie Sellers' debut album, New City Blues, has become one of the most-anticipated releases of the year. Over the past few months, country music has been abuzz with chatter about the 24-year-old's debut album, which introduces her to the world as a one of the genre's strongest, most creative and inspired young artists.
While it's all but impossible to ignore the similarity of Sellers' voice to her mother, Lee Ann Womack, that's about as far as that comparison can go. From the very beginning, Sellers has made it a priority to craft her own unique sound that's drawn from a wide spread of influences.
"I listened to a lot of different things initially - rock, old, traditional country, bluegrass and blues music," Sellers told Wide Open Country. "I think the theme for me in all the things I've listened to is everything's been sort of raw, even if it's acoustic."
That raw, emotional feeling is a key factor in Sellers' debut, which has a level of intensity that's partially driven by a lack of any acoustic accompaniment.
"When I went into record the songs, I just decided 'we aren't going to put any acoustic instruments on here.' There's no acoustic guitar anywhere on the record and that helped make the sound distinctive."
Instead of letting a label head guide her into a style of music that's most marketable, Sellers opted to make her music the constant focus.
"We didn't have a deadline because we didn't make this record through a label," she explains. "We gave ourselves time in the studio to really give the music attention and not worry about anything else. My original intention was to make my record the way I wanted and then shop it around, but by the time I was finished with it I thought, 'This is too different and too special to me to take a chance by giving it to someone who could shelve it or try and change it.'"
In a time when the definition of country seems to be constantly widening, New City Blues beautifully teeters along the edges of many genres. Over the past year and a half, Sellers has served as support for Chris Stapleton - both before and after his launch into stardom. After Stapleton's ACM sweep, Sellers watched the venue's crowds triple in size almost overnight.
"The coolest thing is that he isn't doing anything different than he was before," Sellers says of her longtime friend. "It's just real music."
Still, the fickleness of fame that has suddenly catapulted Stapleton into pop culture doesn't seem to weigh heavy on Sellers mind. Much like Stapleton, she's simply focused on sharing her music with anyone who wants to hear it. In the coming months, Sellers will perform her first headlining shows, where she'll once again get to showcase her own music on her own terms.
"I'm excited to present the show that I want to, which you don't really get to do as an opening artist," she says. With such an impressive project already under her belt, it will likely mark only the beginning of a long and fruitful career.