Being a local singer/songwriter is never easy, especially at the age when one needs to decide whether to attend college or focus full-time on music. However, 19-year-old Christie Huff has found motivation to move ahead with music. A music video for one of her songs made it into a film festival in the nation's capital.
Huff's "Soldier Song" will appear May 24 during the "Heroes From Each Generation" film block at the G.I. Film Festival in Washington. Mark Fletcher, with whom Huff has collaborated on her other music videos, produced the video and found director Jacob Lees Johnson to work with them as well.
The video tells a World War II-era love story of a young man and woman separated when the man must leave for war. The video details the woman's emotional struggle as she tries to stay connected to her loved one. Actual footage of soldiers returning home appears at the end of the video.
"Working with everyone was really smooth," Huff says. "I feel like we all had the same vision for where we wanted the video to go. Everyone involved in making the video was very passionate about the project."
After submitting the video for this song to multiple video contests and having no luck, she struck gold upon submitting it to the G.I. Film Festival. She will be traveling to D.C. to premiere the video.
Not bad for the first song she ever wrote.
"I didn't really realize how big of a deal it was until I looked more into it," Huff says. "I feel so honored to be chosen for it. It's really cool, I'm really excited!"
Seeing her friend's husband leave for war provided the song's inspiration. Huff saw a love story she could tell others. She tends to find her inspiration in this way -- through stories that she sees around her and through movies. She admits that she doesn't have much experience with relationships, which is why she looks to movies to help her when writing songs about that area of life.
Huff discovered her love for music and singing at a young age, when she would sing songs from Annie and Evita, and her passion for performing came when she participated in school plays and would get to sing solos. In junior high, she decided to get more serious about singing, so she joined the choir and sang in talent shows, where she could perform songs on her own. It wasn't until her senior year of high school -- from which she graduated only a year ago -- that she wrote her first song.
After only one official year writing, performing, and recording songs, Huff was chosen as one of four performers in the Valley to participate in Tempe Center for the Arts' "In the Spotlight," where the musicians perform "in the round." Being chosen to participate in this event, she said, was reassurance she was doing the right thing.
"Growing up in Mesa, I've always looked up to the performers at the Tempe Arts Center," the country singer says. "I've been going to the open mics there and getting to know people in the scene in Tempe. It meant a lot to me that I was chosen to be featured in something that I had been looking up to for such a long time."
Huff has already released one album and has another set to come out July 25. Both recorded in Nashville with producer Jeff Dayton, her debut album, Sweet Love to Come Home To, was released late last year and featured her first song she ever wrote, "Soldier Song."
For her second album, Huff once again worked with Dayton, who has produced, backed, and written for country stars such as Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and George Strait. The two met at a singer/songwriter convention in Hawaii after Dayton heard and liked her music. He invited her back to Nashville with him, where they finished recording her first album. Huff says the second album will differ in that it will feature more rock elements mixed into the pop-country sound of her first album.
Beyond her two albums, this young country singer has written more than 200 songs in the past year, but it hasn't been an easy feat. Huff struggles with dyslexia, which at times has made her life difficult because of the challenge it posed with reading and writing. Her school placed her in special education classes, after her first day, she she wanted to be switched out of those classes.
"I didn't want to be known as the girl with the learning disability," she said. "What helped me get through that was, in seventh grade, I tried out for the talent show, and I sang and people started to know me as 'the singer.'"
Huff finds it exciting when people she doesn't know come up to her after her shows to tell her they've been following her career and love her music. She's used to her family coming out to see her, but it's a happy sight to see when even just a small crowd comes to see her play. Huff plays at multiple locations around the Valley, and even plays a few shows in Tennessee, Utah, Colorado, and California.
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