Many fans know Lucy Hale best as the spunky Aria Montgomery from ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, but she has been working towards a career in country music since she was a young girl in Memphis, singing Martina McBride songs. At age 9, her mother took her to Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills Ranch to compete in a singing competition. Hale didn’t win, but she had a good time.
“I guess I was like 9, and I hadn’t grown into my full head of hair,” Hale told The Tennessean about the singing competition. “I looked like a bobblehead, but I had always loved Martina McBride. There’s no way a 9 year-old can sing a Martina McBride song. It was kind of hysterical.”
While Hale recognizes that Pretty Little Liars took her career to new heights, she admits her role as Aria Montgomery kept people from taking her seriously when she started talking about recording a country album.
“When I initially said I was going to do country music, people were like, ‘What do you mean?’” Hale said. “A lot of people don’t know my story or my background. I grew up in the South, and I was born and bred on country music. I never wanted to do anything else. Being part of a commercially popular show, they just assumed I was going in a different direction. This album is a great introduction to me and not as a TV character.”
Hale recently released her debut album, Road Between, which features her single “You Sound Good To Me.” She commuted from the Pretty Little Liars set in California to Nashville, Tenn. for writing appointments and recording sessions. She bonded with a core group of songwriters, making it easy for them to write songs for her when she wasn’t able to attend a session.
“I was put in a fantastic position because they are wonderful writers,” she said. “I could be like, ‘This is something I feel comfortable with’ or ‘This is something I don’t feel comfortable singing.’ So, I really got to pick and choose, and that was our process. When we thought we had all the songs, we did another pass-through at the publishing companies and found some more we couldn’t pass up.”
Hale recently made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Her new single, “Lie a Little Better,” will be released on July 21.