The first time I saw Teresa Guidry play in a writer’s round, I kept wondering how I knew her. She looked so familiar to me, but I was confident that we had never met. It turns out she was a contestant on “The Voice” in season 10 in 2016, but her stay on the show as a member of Team Blake was brief, she was eliminated during the battle rounds. Her performance on the show was enough to make an impression on me that I remembered her, and maybe you do too. The question that I had was- what was her story before and after the show? After seeing Teresa play a couple of times in writer’s rounds, I loved her sultry and powerful voice. I wanted to tell her story, and she has a story to tell. I hope that her story can be a source of inspiration to others who may find themselves at a crossroads in their life, career, etc.
Teresa Guidry spent some of her childhood moving around, but her family ended up settling in Rock Hill, SC. She was part of a large family, but her parents were always supportive of her dreams. As a child, Teresa always wanted to be in talent shows, plays, and chorus. In a way, Teresa always knew she wanted to be on stage. Teresa began singing early on, but her father got her started playing guitar at fifteen when he gave her his guitar. Her father taught her what he could, but she would sit in her bedroom practicing chords on her own. Teresa still plays the guitar her father gave her.
One of the first times she performed in front of a large group of people, was in front of a pep rally at her high school. Teresa said, “Playing in front of my school, was probably scarier than auditioning for “The Voice.’ As many of you have experienced, high school students can be mean. They can be especially mean to those who have a talent and passion for performing. Teresa learned of a group of girls who planned to pretend to read the newspaper during her performance. In many cases, It is those same kids who want to act like your biggest fans when you achieve some level of success. Teresa decided to attend college after high school, mainly because that was what she was expected to do. I am confident that many of us have done things in our life because we were supposed to, and sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that we don’t know how to escape. Teresa spent a year and a half in college before going to her parents to tell them she did not want to go back to school. At twenty years of age, Teresa decided to move to Nashville, and her parents were supportive of her choice.
When Teresa got to Nashville, she spent a day walking around a downtown area applying for jobs. She landed a job at a whiskey bar and moved in with a roommate so she could pay the bills. This is a familiar story among songwriters I have met, as many piece together part-time jobs to give them the flexibility to focus on their songwriting and play writer’s rounds. The most challenging part according to Teresa was “not knowing anyone in town, but it is easy to meet people in Nashville.” Networking with other writers is a common practice, happening every night at a writer’s round. If you are an aspiring songwriter, going to writer’s rounds are an essential part of making in Nashville. Upon moving to Nashville, Teresa was advised not to get caught up singing cover songs around town. However, Teresa was fortunate to meet Grammy-nominated songwriter, Jan Buckingham upon moving to town. Jan Buckingham has gotten song cuts by Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrel, Dottie West, Pam Tillis, Crystal Gayle, Whitney Houston, Clay Aiken, and George Jones. They wrote “Like you Should” together. “Like You Should” is about a five-year relationship that ended three days after Teresa moved to Nashville. This is a relatable song. We have all been in relationships with people who claim to love you, but not as they should. You can find this song on the self-titled EP Teresa released in September 2016. Another song on her EP that resonated with me is, “Just doing me.” I felt this song was very personal, and Teresa confirmed this for me. “The song was about self-affirmation of moving to Nashville.” Her hometown blew up in a frenzy over her time on The Voice, so much that she “couldn’t’ even look at social media because I had so many notifications.” She had to focus on the music.
Teresa’s experience on “The Voice” in her words “wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows.” “You were basically sequestered in a hotel while you were on the show. It was cool but stressful.” Her exposure from the show helped her career, and she had many opportunities come up after the show since she had already been in Nashville previously. Contestants of “The Voice” have not had as much success after the show as one might think. Teresa told me “Many people think once you get on The Voice you have made it, but you have to capitalize on the exposure and work hard after the show.” Teresa spent her time after “The Voice” working to record and release an EP. Many artists are never able to put any music out on their own due to the cost of recording. Teresa said, “the struggle to put out music on my own made me really proud once it was completed.” Once the momentum and notoriety from the show faded, Teresa went through a period of depression.
Many others from her season had similar experiences. One day you have all this attention, the next day you find your life back to normal. Teresa said, “I was drinking and eating bad food, and I had gained weight. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself.” She was comparing herself to others and “wondered if I should just quit.” When she played shows, Teresa noticed she was not getting the reaction she wanted from the audience. “I realized, I had to make some changes within myself, and just start feeling human again .” Teresa pushed through her depression. “I began exercising, eating better, writing more, and changes started to happen in my life. I began noticing that people responded more to me. In a positive way.’ She made herself a priority, and she ended up removing herself from a job that made her unhappy. Teresa told me “Your confidence shows through, and people want to be around that.” In my own experience, I have noticed this to be true. Think about people you are attracted to in your life- they are typically confident and appear to have their life together.
Currently, Teresa is recording new music but really focused on writing. In addition to writing, Teresa is performing and trying to build her fan base. Much like the first EP, if she releases any new music, she wants it to be personal. In April, Teresa will be performing at the Mayor’s Charity ball during Master’s week in August, Georgia. Additionally, she will be interviewed and featured by iHeart Radio. Around Nashville, she will be continuing to play shows and writers rounds at local venues that you can follow on her website. If you have not yet discovered Teresa Guidry’s music, you can find it on streaming platforms and available to download. If you are in Nashville and she is playing in a writer’s round, go see her perform. You will not be disappointed.
I am grateful to Teresa Guidry for sharing her story with me. The lessons that I have taken away from my conversation with Teresa is that you must have self-love and confidence in yourself to make it work as an artist in Nashville. When you begin to doubt your purpose and forget why you are doing something, people tend to give up. Be strong in your purpose and understand your “why.” Enjoy what you do, and chase your dreams.