When you first see Lyrx’s name, you might be confused. Hell, the first time I saw it I assumed it was an EDM DJ.
Lyrx is a country artist from a little town on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma. She’s a middle child. A farmer’s daughter. On Sundays she’d travel with the family band, singing “He Leadeth Me” and, hours later, fall asleep on a church pew. But Lyrx had a secret. “I’ve always been a rebel,” she says, laughing. Monday through Friday she was smuggling records into the house by My Chemical Romance, Hinder, and Sick Puppies. At 17, she joined a Southern rock band and traveled the dive bars of the Southeast. “Country music would talk about what I knew,” she says, “but the rock would speak to who I was, the emotions and feelings.”
Her connection to country music might surprise you – she’s the older sister of Shay from Dan + Shay.
It was two long years of touring and a strained relationship with her parents before she moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Shay, looking for a new start. During the day she’d attend a bible college; the nights were spent singing at clubs. “It made me tough, and it gave me the love of music,” she says. “It’s fun to tour. It’s fun to be a musician.” It was at the encouragement of Shay, who himself had recently moved south, that Lyrx considered pursuing music in Nashville. Most importantly, with age came a peace with country music. “When I accepted who I am and where I’m from, then I loved country, because it spoke about everything I grew up on—riding four-wheelers and going to bonfires and being a mile from every neighbor we had,” she says. “When I write country music, it’s just me writing about my life.”
Lyrx pulled from her early years for the song “90’s Country,” which Walker Hayes released in August 2018. Written by Hayes, Lyrx, and Grammy Award-winning producer Shane McAnally, it’s a song that tips the cap to all those classic country songs of the 90’s. If you know Whiskey Riff, you know how much we love 90’s country. “People talk about old country, about Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, but I grew up on Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill,” she says. “Walker and I were talking about the artists that inspired us to be country musicians, because all of them, at that time, were different than the old country. They were different, and now we’re different.”
That difference is evident with her debut single “Take the Money.”
“You can take the money / I’ma take the country,” she sings. Taken at face value, “Take the Money” celebrates Lyrx’s rural roots, but as she explains, it has a deeper meaning after five years spent hustling in Music City.
“I have a lot of respect for the music industry, but I also think they pass over a lot of people,” she says. “They’ll sign the next Miranda Lambert. They’ll sign the next Kelsea Ballerini. They won’t sign the first anybody.” With her first single, Lyrx announces to both the world and country music that she’s her own woman with her own influences, and the only one that will write that story is herself. “I define me,” she says.
“Filming this video was such a cool thing for me. I came up with this concept with video director Caleb Mallery with my Arkansas roots in mind. We never cared about the money, it was always about family, God, and doing what you love. I really hope everyone has as much fun watching the video as we had making it!”