Credit Carly Simmons’ mom for knowing raw talent when she heard it, singing along to the radio in the back seat of the family car. Patty Pruitt couldn’t believe what she was hearing. But when she asked her daughter to sing for the family, stage fright took over. “I went quiet for years,” Simmons recalls with a laugh.
Not completely in love with the direction her life was taking, she obliged—and the two began writing together. With the $5,000 she saved from waitressing at BBC Tavern and Grill in Greenville, Delaware, Simmons left school and made the trip across the country in 2016. Once in L.A., she began to grow her network in the music industry. She collaborated with a producer named Gazzo on a cover of MGMT’s “Kids,” which sparked the interest of Grammy-winning Dutch DJ and producer Tiësto, who wanted the track on his album. “At this point, I’ve only been in L.A. for three months, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s easy. I’m getting my big break,’” Simmons says.
Alas, MGMT wouldn’t sign off on the track’s inclusion on Tiësto’s album. But Verchick wasn’t ready to give up on Simmons, introducing her to Josiah Rosen, cofounder of the popular band Augustana, who’d since gone on to become a successful songwriter, working with the likes of Rachel Platten and Colbie Caillat. The two clicked instantly. “When I met Carly, I thought she carried a lot of charisma,” Rosen says. “I loved her voice and saw a place for her in the country music world that was wide open.”
There was just one problem: Simmons didn’t want to be a country singer. She agreed to one session, which netted the song “Whiskey Kisses.” That was all it took. “I fell in love with country songwriting,” she says.
A lover of all things vintage, Simmons frequents Malena’s Vintage Boutique in West Chester and various Goodwill locations. “Fast fashion is killing our planet and making us all the same,” she says. “We need to get back to a place where it’s about self-expression and a work of art.”
All seemed well. But behind closed doors, all wasn’t well. Locked in a power struggle, Simmons and Verchick were constantly at odds. Eventually, Simmons was out of Sour Blossom and contemplating her next move. Enter Lauren Jones, a young singer/songwriter who’s now a third of the rising girl group Trousdale. “I remember just sobbing at one of her songs,” Simmons says. “We ended up writing together and becoming really good friends. I learned so much about writing from her.”