Check in each week for Travel with Purpose, hometown guides from our favorite bands and artists.
You may have heard Nashville-based Maggie Eckford's smooth, sweet vocals on soundtracks for shows like Revenge or Grey's Anatomy. The brooding symphonies of her soulful electro-pop project, Ruelle, is indeed cinematic; but listening to the band's tracks on their own yields a comparably dramatic aural experience.
Listen to "War of Hearts"
Eckford's home of Nashville has a music scene that's constantly evolving. The ethereal songstress talks about the city's influence on her sound, where to catch the best shows, and the best new local acts.
Most people associate Nashville with traditional singer/songwriter and rock 'n' roll genres. How did your sound come about? Is there an electro-pop scene in Nashville? Being a songwriter in Nashville has allowed me to experiment with multiple genres of music, which is one of my favorite things about doing what I do in this city. I started writing for various tv/film projects, and I just found myself gravitating towards darker, electronic production. I started in music as a piano player, and I've found I am easily inspired by music with cinematic, orchestral elements. I love the dynamic builds and the emotional progression of it all. As far as the electro-pop scene goes in Nashville, there's never been a more exciting time to be here, in my opinion. I think that we are quickly developing a name for ourselves in that arena, and I feel pretty lucky to be a part of it.
How have your southern roots affected your sound? I think there will always be a little bit of southern charm in my music no matter what phase or genre I find myself exploring. My first two records were indie/pop but had a lot of southern/americana undertones. Even though I don't do country music, growing up in Mississippi has definitely shaped me in a lot ways...whether it's the stories I tell lyrically or the southern accent that slips out every now and then.
Nashville is known as music city. Where’s the best place to see a show?
I see a lot of shows at the Ryman. It's a famous venue in town and for obvious reasons. I tend to like more intimate/theatre type venues with some history attached. My favorite outdoor venue is the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel. I saw Sigur Rós there, and it was one of the best shows all around I've ever seen.
Digital or vinyl? At the risk of being judged...digital. Only because I have yet to invest in a good record player so I don't quite have the experience to base that decision off of.
Where do you shop for music? I can proudly say that I still buy all my music. I discover a lot of music on blogs and via Soundcloud, but I always purchase on iTunes when I find stuff I love.
What city-wide event do you most look forward to in Nashville? Live on the Green has been a really cool event for music fans. It's free, and there's always a great line up.
What’s your favorite vintage clothing store in Nashville? Pre to Post Modern is my absolute favorite. They have tons of vintage clothing as well as really great mid-century furniture and house ware stuff.
Where can you get the best brunch? Marché in East Nashville. Hands down. Croissant french toast. Need I say more?
What’s your favorite songwriting venue? Honestly I find that I'm usually migrating from one home studio to another. My favorite so far is my friend Matt Bronleewe's studio in 12th South. It looks and feels like a treehouse!
What's your favorite neighborhood and why? My hood. 12th South. I've lived in this area since I've lived in Nashville and have gotten to watch it grow and evolve over the past several years. It has managed to keep its residential charm while also providing plenty to do. Lots of great food and shops, and it's all walkable. Sevier Park is right there as well.