The year is definitely getting off to a great start for Natalie Stovall and The Drive. Named last week as one of Billboard's "Ten Country Artists To Watch" in 2014 in The 615, the dynamic group is starting to make an impact with their debut single "Baby Come On With It." Though the track won't be officially released to radio until the first week of February, SiriusXM has already been featuring the song on their "The Highway" channel.
"They have been so good to us," she told Billboard of SirusXM. "It was so thrilling hearing our song for the first time. I will never forget that feeling when they told us they were going to go ahead and add the single early and start playing it for us. We were listening all night, and when it came on the radio, I literally screamed out loud because I was so excited. I started dancing around my living room."
The band, which has been playing together for close to a decade, had a whirlwind last six months according to Stovall, who said that so much has happened in such a quick manner.
"We signed our record deal in June, and then we had a trip overseas for the military on July 4," she said. "We came back, started recording, and by October we had it released. The single will officially be released on February 4. There's been almost a decade of preparing for this, and then you start being in the awareness of peoples' minds."
For Stovall, the Nashville music scene has always been a way of life. Raised in Columbia -- just an hour south of Music City, she says it's the only world she has known.
"I was always a part of the musical scene around Nashville, and that was one of the best things about growing up around Nashville. I was there, Franklin, or Murfreesboro taking fiddle or voice lessons. I started working at the Opryland theme park in one of the kid shows, so I was close to the Grand Ole Opry. I was always surrounded by music and great musicians. I saw other people who were starting to live their dreams. I saw that from a very young age, so I think that's how I've always kind of chased this dream, and known not to give it up. You just have to keep with it if you believe in it, and eventually it will start to happen."
In addition to performances on the Grand Ole Opry and The Oprah Winfrey Show, Stovall can also claim the distinction of playing at the White House at the annual Correspondent's Dinner. She beams when describing the night. "Getting to sing at the White House was probably one of the most incredible moments of my life thus far. I sang 'God Bless America' a cappella, and I could see Larry King and Larry David sitting next to each other on the front row. The President was on my right, and I remember him grabbing my hand and saying 'You nailed it' when I was walking off the stage. I get chills just repeating that story. It just blows my mind that I got to experience something like that."
Putting The Drive together was a self-described 'work in progress," says Stovall. "I met James, my drummer in college. We graduated from college and moved down to Nashville and started looking for players. We put an ad on Craigslist, and that's how we found our guitar player Miguel, who came in and blew us away. He's been with us for eight years now. We met Zach, our bass player, through a mutual friend who had suggested him. Then, he said he had a friend named Joel who he thought would be great. When we were all in the room, there was something very different that started to happen. We just kind of had a thing, and I knew it was the real deal."
When asked to describe their sound, Stovall said "I think we are a product of our live show. We have spent so much time on stage together that it's hard not to replicate what you do on stage. For us, that's having a good time and playing fun and uptempo, rock and roll-driven country music. We're not a band that is going to get up there and play a whole lot of ballads – that's just not us. We will have a few strong ballads in there, but most of the time, we're going to try to rock each others' faces."
Look for their debut Hitshop / Warner Brothers album – produced by the legendary Paul Worley – later in 2014.