If there is one thing aspiring country songstress Beth Marie Anderson has learned while chasing dreams of stardom, it’s that no goal is too lofty.
“It doesn’t matter if you come from a super tiny town and it doesn’t matter how big your dreams are, if you take little baby steps towards them you can make them a reality,” said the 26-year-old.
The Qualicum Beach native stopped in at Woodlands Secondary last week as part of a tour to share her country music journey and inspire teens to follow their dreams.
Anderson has just returned home from Nashville, the country music capital of the U.S., where she said she has been performing and co-writing songs with artists like Patricia Conroy and Emerson Drive.
She has also just released a second and a more “gritty” country-rock album, Let it Go.
There are still big dreams to pursue – including singing at the Grand Ole Opry – but the songstress said she has come a long way from her start six years ago and wanted to share the experience with students. It isn’t always easy to know where to start, she said.
For Anderson, it was believing in herself.
She grew up fascinated by music and loved singing along to harmonies, but as an overweight and bullied teenager a career seemed unreachable. She “just wanted to hide” in the shadows than share her talent, Anderson said.
It wasn’t until the eleventh grade that Anderson decided to sing in front of a small group of girls. She insisted they keep their backs turned as she belted out a tune. It was the first time she performed and shared her hopes for a music career out loud and no one booed or judged, she said.
“I had big dreams to an outsider. I was overweight and had no singing lessons – they were probably thinking ‘good luck,” she said. “[But because of their response], my confidence grew a bit.”
Anderson started believing in herself and working toward her dream. At 18 she started taking voice lessons and after four years of studies at Vancouver Island University, she was accepted to Victoria’s Conservatory of Music.
It wasn’t long after, she decided to take her journey to Nashville. She worked two or three jobs to record music and handed out business cards “like crazy” to people in the music business.
“You just start somewhere … and keep following your dreams on a forward path, you can achieve a lot of different things,” she said.
The message came over loud and clear for Woodlands Secondary student Saffron Hall-Weber, who said she also liked hearing that a singer from a small community on Vancouver Island could make inroads in the country music scene.
“A lot of the singers you hear about [seem] to start somewhere larger,” she said.
For more information, and upcoming performance dates, please visit www.bethanderson.com.