Laura Bell Bundy

HOMETOWN: Lexington, Ky.

INFLUENCES: Pearl Bailey,
Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson

ALBUM: Achin’ and Shakin’, out now

WEBSITE: laurabellbundy.com

FOR LAURA BELL BUNDY, THE ROAD TO NASHVILLE BEGAN in New York City. She had been performing country music for several years, but caught the attention of Music City as the Tony-nominated star of Broadway musicals like Legally Blonde, Hairspray and Wicked. She set aside that burgeoning career to move to Nashville in 2008 and pursue the life in country music that she always wanted. Now her major-label debut, Achin’ and Shakin’, finds her fulfilling that dream at last.

The Kentucky native grew up listening to her mother’s country music collection, and has been acting and singing professionally since childhood. She moved to New York with her mom after landing a part in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, which she followed with roles onstage in Ruthless, The Musical! and the TV soap Guiding Light. After attending high school in Kentucky, she returned to New York at age 18 and resumed her musical theater career.

Once there, she and her then-roommate formed a country duo and began performing around the city. “In the meantime, I got Hairspray and Wicked, and honestly, that’s how I supported myself,” she says. “I moved to New York and my intention was to have a music career, not to do Broadway. For me, it was like I had two different baskets of eggs, and one was the acting basket and the other was the music basket—and the acting basket of eggs hatched first.” Now that the other basket of eggs has hatched, so to speak, she is happy to be pursuing her musical career full-time at last. “Songwriting and recording is my passion,” she says. “This is my love. There’s a part of myself that has come out that I really like, and it’s very important to me.”

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