Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sara Zebley and Hayley Prosser, known together as Steel Blossoms, have begun making their mark in Music City. Upon meeting at a random festival in Pennsylvania, these two hit it off from day one. They soon discovered that they shared a common love for country and Americana music, teaching, performing, and songwriting, and the rest is history.
Prior to their music careers, Hayley and Sara were both elementary music teachers, and still hold an affinity towards teaching. They began writing and engaging in the music scene in and around Pittsburgh, and after a few years, they decided to make their move to Nashville to become a full time duo act. They soon became familiar faces around the Honky Tonks, and from there quickly started touring around the U.S and writing more material.
It was then that they caught the attention of esteemed songwriter, Jerry Salley. Salley got them signed to Billy Jam Records, where they recorded their debut EP, ‘Year Number One’. Shortly after that, they came out with a full length self-titled album in April of 2019. This album got the attention from the bluegrass, Americana, and country crowds, enabling them to perform at lots of different venues all across the United States. They have shared the stage with such artists as Rhonda Vincent, Tracey Lawrence, and Collin Raye.
These two are on the fast track to success by way of their ability to connect with fans, their relatable lyrics, and exuding raw entertainment and authenticity on stage.
We had the amazing opportunity to get the inside scoop on the duo and their success story.
Music Mecca: I know you are both from Pittsburgh, PA. How did you two meet and form Steel Blossoms?
Steel Blossoms: We met in 2008 while we were both performing separately at a music festival in the Pittsburgh area. We both grew up in two different towns about 45 minutes apart and were both involved in a rather small country music scene in high school and college. Hayley filled in for the singer of my (Sara’s) already established local band in 2009 and the chemistry was instant. We didn’t actually join forces until April 2011 and we’ve been inseparable ever since! We were in a band called “Girlz in Black Hats” for 3 years before we decided to move to Nashville in 2014 and rebrand to Steel Blossoms.
MM: I see that you guys have already released a few songs this year. Are those songs a part of an upcoming EP or album?
SB: We just released an album in April 2019 and it’s our very first one with the help of a record label. It’s also our first full length, full band recording as Steel Blossoms. There are 10 songs and they are available everywhere!
MM: You have both been living in Nashville for awhile now. What has been your favorite venue to perform at in Nashville and why?
SB: We have a few favorites from over the years. Puckett’s and Ole Red are at the top of the list! We love Puckett’s for the amazing food and the “homey” vibe and they always value good music. We love performing at Ole Red because it feels so big and professional on that nice stage with the big screen behind us. The staff is also incredibly friendly at both!
MM: How did you guys decide upon the name “Steel Blossoms?”
SB: We are from Steel City (Pittsburgh) and we wanted to represent that. Pittsburgh is where we blossomed as people, musicians, and friends, so Blossoms was a natural choice!
MM: As a duo, what is your songwriting process like? Is one of you more the writer and one more the melody maker?
SB: It totally happens differently every time. Usually one of us has the idea and a few lines started, brings it to the other, then we build it together, mostly concentrating on lyrics before melody. We “get” each other so co-writes between us usually come pretty natural if we talk it through first.
MM: I know you guys signed with Billy Jam Records recently and have been collaborating with award-winning songwriter, Jerry Salley. What has that experience been like?
SB: It’s been an amazing experience so far. It’s really nice to feel a support system around you at all times, helping with things that you usually take care of and think about on your own. Jerry brings a unique songwriter perspective to everything we do, while the others at Billy Jam Records are looking at things from a marketing and sales perspective. It’s been neat mixing those two worlds and watching the magic happen!!
MM: You were both elementary school teachers before the Steel Blossoms formed. Have you taken anything from that experience and put it towards Steel Blossoms?
SB: Honestly, teaching has helped with performing so much! We both used to be elementary teachers, a job where you are performing all day long and you have to be “on” at all times! It has helped with small talk, talking to an audience, and powering through when you don’t feel like being in front of a crowd.
MM: What are some things that you do when you are not performing?
SB: We watch a lot of Netflix when we aren’t touring! We lead fairly boring lives outside of performing because performing and touring is so exhausting. We both try to stay active at the gym in our spare time as well as hanging out with our significant others at home!
MM: How do you guys feel about the rapid growth of Nashville, and do you think it’s helping or hurting the authenticity and culture of Music City?
SB: We love that Nashville is growing but I will say that I wish there could be more variety of music being offered for the crowds downtown. I’ve heard so many tourists tell me that they are sick of hearing the same party songs. There’s room for everyone but we don’t need to all be the same to make a living at this!
MM: What are some upcoming things that y’all are excited about for the rest of 2019?
SB: We are pretty excited to attend Americana Fest again this year. We had a blast last year and now that we are actually a part of that world, it’s going to be even better this year! We are also so excited that we are doing full band shows this year on the road to promote our album! We bought a 15-passenger van and we are road tripping even more than last year.
For more info on The Steel Blossoms, be sure to check out their website HERE.