Based in Brevard, North Carolina, singer-songwriter Keturah Allgood has been steeped in the culture of Appalachia her whole life.
With influence from her family and the church, she became enamored with music and music-making at a young age. Today, she’s a seasoned veteran in the greater Asheville songwriting scene, with her styles teetering on contemporary country-Americana, drawing on themes of love, peace, inspiration, and memories.
The lead single from her upcoming album, “Sing Baby Sing,” is a heart-warming, inspiring piano ballad about singing through the negativity that people and life may throw your way. Her soulful vocals and finely crafted lyrics are a trademark of hers, as is her sincerity and nobility, as heard on her newest track, “Rosary Beads,” which touches on the heavy nature of war, namely the struggles of returning soldiers. The new single has a dramatic and touching accompanying music video.
Her upcoming album, Shine, is set to release August 25th.
We got to chat with Allgood about her North Carolina upbringing, her new video single, upcoming album, and much more.
Can you tell us about your upbringing, and who or what inspired you to dive into a life of singing and songwriting?
I was raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in the small town of Brevard, just outside of Asheville. I was surrounded by the sonic wonder that is Appalachia. It was a deep and ancient sound that drew me in.
My grandmother and her five sisters had the sweetest most angelic harmonies, I could sit for hours listening to them. I was raised in the church, and was probably around three years old when a woman named Joan Bell brought her choir to our church. They had soul and I wanted it. I was hooked. I started rounding up my preschool class and performing for them, just singing my little heart out. I am sure I was quite a handful! I was rhyming and forming songs before I could even write. I was captivated by the way the words fell from my mouth and seemingly fit together somehow.
It’s honestly still something that fascinates me as a writer, how thoughts transform into words that rhyme. Never ceases to amaze me. So I suppose music and songwriting were just in my bones, inside the fabric of my DNA and something that I was destined to do.
You’ve got your new single, “Rosary Beads,” officially out now. It’s definitely pretty heavy and timely for Memorial Day. Was there a specific moment or incident that triggered the writing of this song?
“Rosary Beads” came to me like a movie in my mind. It was a vision and the song was fully formed and written in about an hour.
The scenes that unfolded in my head that day were of a young man grappling with the horrors of trauma, of war, of conflict. He was looking at the rosary beads his mother had given him as he drove down a long southwestern highway. He was filled with visions of his childhood, beautiful and peaceful. It was as if he was trying to somehow find his way back there, to that beautiful moment in time. At the time that I wrote the song, I was married to someone who suffered from so much trauma herself and I just couldn’t reach her. So the situation at that time certainly played a part in the way the song unfolded.
I also believe that songs can be prophetic. It wasn’t long after my first marriage ended that I met my fiancé. He is a combat vet and has seen first hand the horrors of war. He is much like the soldier in my vision, trying to find his way back to peace.
What primary messages or feelings are you hoping come across to the listener with this track?
I would hope that people can see the compassion and empathy that is the thread woven throughout this song. The idea that no matter who you are, we are all suffering in some way. It would be such a better word if we could recognize that and treat each other with kindness and love.
And what can you tell us about the pretty intense and again heavy music video? Where was it filmed, who helped it come to life, and what were you trying to achieve in it?
This video was produced and directed by Will Gawley from Charlotte Avenue Pictures and filmed by Stephen Shiveley. It was a joint vision between us.
Will took my ideas and produced a brilliant, moving cinematic masterpiece. It was filmed in the woods outside of Nashville. It is a very heavy story. We didn’t want to shy away from the reality that is war or the reality of the wounds that follow soldiers home. In this country, we lose over 22 vets a day to suicide. We are facing a crisis in our country, in general, with mental health and a society filled with so much pain. I wanted to make sure that we included the crisis numbers for people who are struggling and to let everyone know that no matter what you are dealing with, you are not alone and there is no shame in reaching out for help.
I also see you’ve got your new album, Shine, set for an August release. Can you talk about the processes you’ve gone through to write it? The struggles, breakthroughs, etc.?
When I was writing the songs for this record, I felt like we are really facing a worldwide epidemic of suffering. It seems, at times, like there is no hope and we are just doomed to stay in the cycle of endless darkness. I really wanted people to see and feel that there is hope. We all have a beautiful, brilliant light that radiates inside of us. It’s all about tapping into that light and shining it out into the world.
As I have gone through the journey of writing these songs and watching my own life transform through the playing of them, I had the realization that the album really is a healing for me and that my own life has become better and more radiant just from the process of making and sharing this record.
Are there any overarching themes or motifs throughout the album?
Love, kindness, and compassion.
How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist, and how might this album be different from previous releases?
I have been doing this for a long time, but this is the first record that really reflects who I am inherently. I think when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, your records are a reflection of your life’s journey. I think that it has taken me a long time to be as honest and raw in my writing as I was on this record.
Some of that, I believe, comes with age and wisdom, but it also comes from doing the real work of digging deep to find out who you are as a person and what you want to project as an artist. I believe that anyone with a platform, large or small, has the ability to affect change. You can be an agent for good, positive love or you can be an agent of chaos and division. I want to be the kind of artist that brings people together, the kind of artist that shows people how amazing life can be when you walk through it being grateful and living in love.
What’s one or two things that you want people to know about you as an artist?
What you see is what you get. It’s just as simple as that.
What might you have planned post-album release?
I am planning to tour in support of the record, and just looking forward to sharing this album of love and light to as many people as we possibly can. Love wins, love heals and through this music, I hope to show people that there is hope. We are going to be Allgood.