From the age of 13, when she penned her first song, CC Witt has been using music to tell compellingly honest stories about life in the modern south. With her passionate lyrics, dynamic vocal range and charismatic stage presence, the Savannah native has drawn comparisons to Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow and Kacey Musgraves and, in the process, established herself as an emerging artist making waves in the world of country music.
Since 2010, Witt has been the lead singer and, along with guitarist Patrick Ellington, one of the primary songwriters for five-piece country band Lyn Avenue. In 2014, the group released their first album, The Other Side, and have opened for artists including Jerrod Niemann, Adam Sanders, CMT’s Ashley Wineland, Jeff Allen and Parmalee.
In March of 2016, Witt released her debut solo EP, Down Memory Lane, a collection of catchy songs inspired by a unique blend of modern influences with deep roots in traditional country. To learn more, visit ccwittmusic.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What was your childhood like, and how did it help to shape who you are today?
I had a happy childhood. I would definitely say that growing up in Savannah has shaped who I am and influenced a lot of my songwriting. I’ve lived on the same street my whole life. So I’ve watched my environment change around me and my most recent song, “Little Big City Town,” was written as my tribute to my hometown and the things I love about it.
Growing up, who were your biggest musical influences?
Growing up, I think my own personal musical influences were Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson, Johnny Cash. But in my home, I was always surrounded by songs from Marty Robbins, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Elvis, and other really great iconic artists, so I feel like that played a heavy influence as well. All artists that I love and play their songs today.
Do you remember the first song you learned to play on guitar? If so, what was it?
Truthfully, I started writing songs before I knew how to play anyone else’s songs. What sparked my songwriting was the death of my grandfather. I wrote my very first song the day he died. But on a lighter note, one of the first songs I ever learned to play on guitar was “The First Cut is the Deepest” by Sheryl Crow.
How have you grown as a songwriter and a performer over the years?
I have grown tremendously in every aspect – as a vocalist, guitarist and especially as a performer. And I know I still have a lot more growing to do!
In what ways are the songs on Down Memory Lane different from ones you’ve written for Lyn Avenue?
The songs on Down Memory Lane are a lot more personal to me and never seemed to quite fit the band. I’ve been playing and writing music for 10 years and never had a solo album until now. So I wanted to see what that sounded like, standing on my own and taking complete creative control to find out exactly who CC Witt is and what she sounds like.
Are there any venues that you’ve particularly enjoyed performing at over the years?
I can say there were a lot of venues I used to frequent that kind of became my home bases for a while. For a year or two, I used to play as an acoustic solo artist at Tubby’s on River Street regularly. Then a year or so later, I played at Molly McGuire’s on Wilmington Island every Wednesday for about a year, and I gained a lot of loyal fans that way. But some of the coolest venues/events I have played… I can say Tybee Island Pirate Fest was great, St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is a blast, and Livewire in Athens and Barrelhouse South in Savannah are both great venues.
Do you ever get nervous before a show?
Yes. Truthfully. I used to have stage fright when I was a lot younger… ironically enough. But you want something bad enough, you learn to overcome it. And that’s exactly what I did. But every now and then, when it’s a new venue or a bigger show, I get really nervous. Until the moment I walk up on the stage.
What do you like most about living in Savannah? Is there anything you don’t like? Anything you’d change if you could?
I love Savannah. It’s home. There are so many things we have here that I know I can’t get anywhere else. But if I could change one thing, it would be the support — or lack thereof — that musicians get from the city. We have no support when it comes to loading in and parking. So it would be nice if they could cut us a break loading and unloading our equipment into venues. Parking tickets aren’t nice. :(
What’s the best song or album you’ve listened to recently?
I am in LOVE with Kacey Musgraves’s latest album Pageant Material. As a songwriter, I really admire her style of writing. Another band I have been really listening to is Anderson East. I saw him live in Savannah a few months ago and he was so great! I was instantly a fan.
Aside from music, what are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about graphic design! I recently graduated from college with a degree in Art with a focus in graphic design. In addition to playing regular gigs, I do a lot of freelance for clients locally. I also design all my own band merchandise. ;)
What are you working on next?
Currently, I have been in the writing process and hoping to hit the studio with my band either later this year or early next year. We have been doing short tours and just trying to travel as much as possible. Another goal we have is to hopefully do some publishing and sell some of our songs.