One Year Later: Carly Tefft talks Career Boom and Note from President Trump

A story of triumph and resilience in the age of cancel culture

A year ago, singer and songwriter Carly Tefft had an entire summer of live performances cancelled because she accepted an invitation to sing the National Anthem at a rally for President Donald J. Trump.

After we shared Carly’s story of resilience, many American patriots as well as readers and listeners abroad identified with the talented red head who wanted to show appreciation to her country, without being labeled or put in a box.

Carly’s experience took the news cycle by storm, almost overnight.

Now, one year later, Carly’s back on the road, splitting her time and talents this summer between Nashville, Cape Cod, and Cape Coral, Florida. She is back doing what she loves — writing and producing songs and working with creative teams to shoot music videos as well.

The song she wrote about cancellation and triumph, “Freedom in this Country,” is now officially available on all streaming platforms. Listen and download it here:

Besides filling her schedule and taking her career to the national stage, the past year has changed Carly Tefft as a person, too. She sat down to provide us with updates on the whirlwind of “going viral” and the support she gained from freedom lovers and music lovers alike.

When first we spoke about a year ago, you had lost gigs on Cape Cod for singing the National Anthem at a Trump rally. Your music career took a bit of a turn after the story about your disappointing run-in with one venue took off.

I couldn’t have imagined what was about to come next! To receive numerous supportive notes as well as performance requests via email, social media, and text message was overwhelming to say the least. Never mind headlines from press… I had quite the busy touring schedule up and down New England throughout the second half of the year, which made me extremely grateful!

Once your story gained ground, reaching national—then international—audiences, were you concerned at all about being associated with the conservative community?

I had a hunch this would happen, but I was grateful to have the support. I accepted the fact some people would label me as a “MAGA” supporter, for better or for worse. I’ll always be grateful to have bridged lines between different “parties” because the National Anthem should not be political—which is why I spoke up in the first place.

After your story went viral, was there anyone who reached out to you that had you a little starstruck?

I actually did receive a very nice note from President Trump—that blew me away—as well as the lead singer from LIT. (LIT sang ”My Own Worst Enemy” which was one of the first songs I ever sang in public when I first started singing in high school.) It was a bucket list moment!

How did your faith influence the decisions you made over the past year, and how did the past year influence your faith?

I always try to make my decisions honor and give glory to God. The day before the story dropped, I had another music opportunity that would have taken me in a different direction. But throughout counsel with a friend as well as prayer, I knew God had something different for me, I just didn’t know what…until the next morning. Always having an open heart to hear Him is something I constantly strive for in my life, no matter how busy life may get.

The song you wrote and produced following your experience with intolerance and division, titled “Freedom in this Country,” which will soon be released as a music video.

What messages did you hope to convey with the video’s artistic choices?

It’s a strong story line of what happened when I lost my performance contracts as well as when the news story broke.  The ultimate shock of “how did life end up this way?” led me to a decision. I could either back down and stay quiet or stand up and speak out about how this isn’t the way life should be in America. I hope people feel and see the emotions of strength and resilience through the song and video.

Which singers, songwriters and musicians have you had on repeat lately?

It’s summertime so I’m definitely in beach-mode! The Elovaters, Dirty Heads, Billy Currington, Sheryl Crow, Zac Brown Band, as well as some independent artist friends of mine: Nick DeLeo, Bradley Martin, Louie Bello and Greg Rider!

You split your time between Nashville and Cape Cod. If someone were deciding between the two for a permanent move, how would you describe the differences between the two locations?

Nothing beats summer on Cape Cod! I’m an ocean girl at heart and the seafood here is incredible.

Nashville, however, has this incredible creative energy that has attracted some of the best people. That’s my favorite part about living in Tennessee—the community and the love I’ve experienced is truly special.

Your most recent song release, “Overnight,” is deep and personal to you. What is the story behind the lyrics, and what does the song mean to you?

Grief has been such a journey for me since my mom passed quickly to metastatic breast cancer almost three years ago. It took me a long time to write any song again, let alone write about the actual process of grief.

Writing the song “Overnight” with my cowriters helped me realize healing is a process that takes a long time and that’s okay. To grieve is to love someone who isn’t physically with us, which honors their memory. It’s been an honor to know this song has been able to help so many people thus far. That’s all I can hope for as an artist and songwriter!

After your story went viral, President Donald Trump assured you in an interview on the Howie Carr Show, that, if he secures a win this November, “Get ready because [you’re] coming to the White House.”

How confident are you that you’ll be able to take him up on his offer?

In my personal experience, President Trump was one of the first who heard about what happened to me and took the time to write me a letter as well, which speaks to his character. He keeps his promises. The way the country is looking nowadays, I believe most people are ready for a better economy and want to feel safer both at a national level as well as overseas. President Trump has showcased that he is the better option for the country.

I know I, for one, could really use some mean tweets and $1.99 gas right now…

Will you be performing on Cape Cod this summer? Where can people find out about your next gig?

I’m all around Cape Cod and New England this summer!

Find out about my next performance here.

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