Years before songs like “Leaving Tennessee” turned Carter Faith into a rising country star with almost 20 million digital streams, a national audience, and strong support from Spotify and Apple Music, the songwriter played her first shows in Davidson, North Carolina. It was a small hometown in the middle of the state, within easy reach of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Those landscapes left a permanent mark on Faith’s music, whose mix of coastal country dreaminess and rootsy Appalachian twang evokes its own sonic geography.

“My grandpa would drive me to preschool sometimes, and he’d let me pick the cassettes we’d play along the way,” she says. “He liked Jim Croce, Hank Williams Sr., and Elvis. I really grew attached to Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac, and the Wreckers. I thought that was the only type of music that existed.”

With her swooning voice and southern storytelling, Faith creates a sound that nods to her old-school influences while still rooting itself firmly in the modern day. It’s a mix of the classic and the contemporary, glued together by a small-town native who grew up witnessing the escapist power of country music.

“I grew up the same way a lot of middle America grew up,” she explains. “We worked hard for everything we had in a town where people always dreamed of a different life. They imagined what their life might be like if they left. So many people live their lives that way, and that’s country music to me. It’s escapism. It can reflect your surroundings, but it can also take you somewhere else.”

Before country music took her to Nashville, Faith built an audience in her hometown. She cut her teeth playing a string of three-hour shows at a local coffee shop, where she slipped her original material into sets filled with cover songs by Eric Church, Dolly Parton, and Johnny Cash. Those diverse influences inspired her own music, while a lifelong appreciation for books and poetry helped shape her ability to write lyrics that made sense of the world around her.

That world grew larger once she moved to Nashville and enrolled in Belmont University’s songwriting program. From shows at the Bluebird Café to performances alongside Cole Swindell and RaeLynn, she fine-tuned the sound she’d started creating in North Carolina. She learned to trust her instincts, too, leaning on her spirituality and strong sense of self-worth to carry her through the early stages of her professional career.

After signing an artist development deal with Altadena and Pound It Out Loud, Faith released a string of self-written singles — “Sinners in a Small Town,” “Easy Pill,” and “Leaving Tennessee” — in 2020. Laced with acoustic guitar, pedal steel, and ringing reverb, the songs added layers of atmosphere to her organic songwriting. It was a dreamy sound — an extension of the escapist country anthems and folksongs she’d grown up loving. One year later, she released The Dusk Sessions, a stripped-down EP featuring reimagined versions of “Easy Pill” and “Leaving Tennessee,” as well an out-of-the-box cover of Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.” Driven forward by upright piano and Faith’s show-stealing vocals, The Dusk Sessions doesn’t just showcase the craft at the heart of the songwriter’s music; it also proves she’s willing to blur the lines between genres, stepping out of the box to find her own home in country music.

With “Leaving Tennessee” and “Easy Pill” earning more than 10 million digital streams, Faith has found her voice and her place. Spotify’s Wild Country, Apple Music’s Today’s Country, and numerous other playlists have featured her songs, broadcasting her music to an audience that stretches far beyond her native southeast. In a genre built upon a tradition, she nods to those who came before her while still chasing down new horizons. It’s a journey, not a destination, and Faith is eager to continue to momentum.

“I want to impact people and create beautiful art,” she says. “It’s not about being famous. One of my favorite things about this journey thus far is when people share how my music has affected them. It blasts me back to listening to Eric Church, and feeling like he wrote those songs just for me. If I can do that just for just one other person, it makes all the effort worthwhile. I never want to lose that magic of music-making.”

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