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Artist Spotlight

I talked with Orlando Mendez about his music career and his recent single Heart on the Line, released in early September. Orlando's smooth delivery of Heart on the Line tells of his personal connection to the lyrics. Heart on the Line is a vulnerable heartfelt song of self-reflection and discovery. Orlando focuses on writing songs with meaningful stories and personal inspirations.

Orlando was raised in Miami, Florida, where his dad exposed him to a large variety of musical artists, anywhere from Green Day to 90’s Punk Rock. Those influences show in his showmanship and stage energy as well as his Cuban culture earning him the nickname, The Cuban Cowboy.

Orlando Mendez attended the University of Florida and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance. He was involved in nearly every school stage performance as a young actor. Before the entertainment industry was shut down during the pandemic, Orlando was traveling to New York City and to South Florida beginning a busy career in film, commercial acting, and stage performing.

During the shutdowns, he found songwriting as a creative outlet and learned to play guitar. Orlando’s experience in stage performing has given him the confidence to comfortably sing on stage, he's even able to drown out the crowd noise. While he’s on stage, he feeds off the crowd’s energy.

You might recognize Orlando Mendez, he competed on The Voice and sang Beer Never Broke My Heart by Luke Combs, and made it to the top 20 before his exit on the 22nd Season of the hit show. Orlando said he had a great experience on The Voice and took experiences he couldn't gain anywhere else.

Orlando gave me a list of songwriters that he is a fan of and would like to write with such as Trent Tomlinson, Andy Sheridan, Wyatt McCubbin, Ashley Gorley, Randy Montana, Erik Dylan, and Jason Nix. Orlando is writing music every day and is finishing up an EP that will be coming out soon. Keep up with him on his social media pages and website. (linked throughout the post)

thank you, Orlando for your time and fun conversation. Can't wait to hear the whole EP In A Country Minute!

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I recently talked with Brian Meulen, an Illinois native, singer/songwriter, and husband to singer and songwriter Annie Vander. I recently did a feature on Annie and her music career and it is only fitting to combine them in this feature. Brian began songwriting and playing guitar during the shutdowns as many others did, I have definitely noticed a pattern of people digging into the arts during the shutdowns. Brian Meulen works full-time in the investment business world as a broker, and songwriting has become his hobby and creative outlet. Brian's wife Annie is in full pursuit of music and through all the travel, endorsement, and experiences of Annie’s career, Brian also found his place in the charm of songwriting. Producer David Norris has co-written with Annie and produced her music. While in Nashville connecting with David on Annie’s music, David encouraged Brian to jump in and join them in writing music. Brian had some notes on his phone about his life with Annie and then began putting the lyrics together and wrote Heaven in the Country. Brian Meulen is a 90’s hair band and rock music fan but has recently been swayed into country music by artists like Hardy and Warren Zieders through their mix of country and rock influences.

Brian Meulen

So, then there is the story of how Heaven in the Country got started... Annie Vander cowrote Tonight with David Norris telling the story about when she and Brian met, then in response to Tonight, Brian wrote Heaven in the Country. Brian said that Heaven in the Country is his side of their life story. Brian Meulen works in downtown Chicago but he and Annie live on acreage that backs up to a protected forestry area, allowing them to take full advantage of the quietness of the country living with their 3 dogs. Brian is proudly Annie’s biggest supporter, occasionally playing guitar in her band, traveling to Nashville to write with Annie and David Norris, making her music career first priority. Brian plans on releasing more songs throughout the year and collaborating to write music and hone his guitar craft.

Brian Meulen is building a catalog of songs to pitch to other artists and artist teams. His socials are in the links throughout

Thank you Brian for sharing stories and love of dogs with me. Chat again soon ~In A Country Minute

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Jet Jurgensmeyer is a young artist but has the skill set of a seasoned artist. Jet grew up in Nashville, Tennessee surrounded by musical talent and opportunities. Jet’s parents owned a bar in Nashville where he started performing at a young age. Jet also began acting as a young child and added voice-over work to his talents as well.

Falling Too is Jet Jurgensmeyer's summer song release and it made its radio debut recently. Jet said hearing the radio station personalities play his song and talk about him when he was en route to the station for a radio tour visit was surreal.

Falling Too is a love story, a collaboration written by Jet Jurgensmeyer, Brian Sauerwald, Pierson Swanson, and Kyle Winski. Falling Too is the result of these songwriters being in a songwriting session without any direction to go in at the start of their session. They made a decision that if after about 20 minutes if it didn't get anywhere they needed to take a break and leave to go eat. It must have been a good motivator because, in the next hour and a half, they successfully completed the song. Falling Too is a song about the first young love experience that relates to everyone. Jet's unique style and vocals captivate the emotion in the lyrics for every listener to resonate with.

Jet Jurgensmeyer had another song release this fall which will lead to his much anticipated EP and album, due out at the beginning of 2024. All I Need is a Billy Joel-inspired song explaining that the love of your life should be all you need. Jet explained how you should be energized by that person and they should make you "comfortable to be yourself" around them.

Jet explained that he stays aware of his stage presence because it is all about “helping people forget whatever they are going through. The 3 minutes and 15 seconds of a song can change someone’s life”. Jet integrates his faith into his music hoping it will have an impact on the listener. Jet Jurgensmeyer plays acoustic shows, mostly just him and his guitar. Jet is writing songs about 4 days a week while attending college in Nashville. College has been a relatively easy transition for Jet because of the disciplined life he leads. He said he mastered the skill of sleeping well on a plane by just leaning the seat back and shutting his eyes, possibly from all the travel to and from California with his acting career. One of the most recognizable (for me) was Jet's role on the sitcom Last Man Standing playing Boyd. Jet has had a long list of roles, voice-over work, and currently 2 full albums.

Jet said he hopes to always be learning, and developing his craft and skills in songwriting and performing. The one thing he never wants to be is an artist who doesn’t grow. “When someone says, I do things the way I’ve always done it, that is not good, you have to grow and develop as you age and live your life”.

Jet Jurgensmeyer, thank you so much for talking to me about your recent music In A Country Minute. Travel safely and don't forget to use those brochure tips. chat again soon

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