Saturday, 8 March 2014

One on One: Lily Nelsen

This weeks One on One is with singer/songwriter Lily Nelsen. It was amazing and such a pleasure  getting to talk with Lily. She lets us in on a little about herself, her family, and of course her music. Being a huge country music fan, I was drawn to her voice and her incredible talent. I absolutely love her YouTube videos! If you have not had the chance to listen to Lily's music, you should give her a listen. You will become an instant fan. Lily Nelsen is just an all around incredibly talented young lady...

Chef D: Can you tell the readers a little about yourself, and how your music career started. When was the first time you performed in front of a audience. What was the very first song you performed live.

Lily: I'm a 17 year old singer/songwriter, born in Orange, California, and raised in Hendersonville, TN. I live with my mom and dad, my younger sister, 4 dogs, Koda, Bella, Sophie and Moose, and my little tuxedo cat, Miss Jazzy Magic Mittens:) My mom is a singer/songwriter whose music brought us to Tennessee when I was 6 years old. So I grew up surrounded by songwriters and musicians. I play the drums and guitar, and I'm hopelessly addicted to Twitter, coffee, sparkles and cute shoes!!
When I was 4 years old, my mom enrolled me in a local performing arts school where I developed a love of music and theater.  When I was almost 5, I played the role of Zsu Zsu in a small rendition of 'It's a Wonderful Life'.  Throughout elementary school, I  always loved performing in the talent shows and Christmas programs. In middle school, I landed the lead in two school musicals (Annie and Hairspray), but it wasn't until I performed in the school talent show that I knew I didn't want to do anything else but music. I really fell in love with songwriting after I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I have always been an extrovert, but after my diagnosis, I felt distant from my friends and ashamed of my disease.  It was embarrassing when people who didn't know about Type 1 Diabetes would stare at me while I checked my blood or took a shot. But songwriting let me express all the bad feelings I was experiencing at that time, and so I started writing constantly about whatever was going on in my life that day.  After a while, I began performing at local writer's nights. Singing my songs in front of strangers over and over gave me the confidence to be comfortable with who I was no matter who was watching. It took a long time to get past those feelings, but nowadays I don't worry about who's staring at me, and if they ask what's up, I tell them:)

Chef D: Are you working on any upcoming projects? Is there an artist and arena or city that you hope to one day work with and perform in..

Lily: I'm always writing and recording new songs, and have recently posted a few of my originals that you can download free at The person I'd love most to perform with is Taylor Swift.  I grew up in the same town as her and have had the opportunity to meet her and her family on several occasions. She's a  songwriter and performer who has given an enormous amount of money and time to various charities and causes since her career began.  Most people don't realize how long and how hard she worked before anyone knew who she was.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for her work ethic and the way she's handled adversity throughout her career with so much grace and dignity. As far as arenas and cities I hope to perform in...Nashville is my favorite city, so the Bridgestone Arena would be great...other than that, I'd say Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Chef D: Who is the most important person in your life? And who has been the biggest influence in your life and what have they taught you?

Lily: There are several people who support and influence me daily! My mom was my earliest influence because she is a singer/songwriter herself, and the reason we came to Nashville in the first place.  Apart from music, she helps me every day to focus on what's most important in life.  Someone who is a major influence is Amanda Williams.  She is a Grammy nominated songwriter in Nashville, the daughter of hit songwriter Kim Williams (Three Wooden Crosses, Beer Run, etc.), and founder of, a community that helps aspiring songwriters learn about songwriting and the music business. I met Amanda in 2012 at a songwriter's night, a few weeks later I attended her annual June Conference.  I learned so much at the conference and met some amazing friends and co-writers there as well!  After the conference, I scheduled some eduwrites with Amanda, where I went to her home for 2 hours and wrote songs with her while she taught me the important elements of songwriting.  We eventually wrote six great songs together and still have one left that I hope to finish with her soon! Amanda is also a great singer and performer.  In fact, Garth Brooks recently had THIS (5:43) to say about her! In 2012, Amanda inspired me to start the first songwriting club at my high school (Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tennessee).  She even took time to come to the school for two days and teach the members about songwriting and music business. Go listen to Amanda's songs, and you'll see why she is definitely someone to keep your eye on!

Chef D: Is there something your fans don't know about you that you can share with us today..

Lily: Many of my fans may not know that I'm a Kawasaki Disease (KD) survivor. I'm passionate about spreading awareness of Kawasaki Disease, the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children, because so few people have heard of it, and so many kids with KD are misdiagnosed, leading to delayed treatment and life threatening heart damage. At 3 years old I got sick with what my parents thought was just a common cold.  Right when the cold started going away, I developed a high fever that was resistant to Motrin and Tylenol.  I also developed a rash, swollen hands and feet, red, cracked lips, bloodshot eyes and 'strawberry tongue'.  After being misdiagnosed, put on antibiotics, and sent home three times by the pediatrician, my parents finally took me to the local emergency room where I was diagnosed with KD and treated with IVIG and high doses of Asprin. Since the symptoms of Kawasaki Disease tend to mimic so many other diseases, the diagnosis and treatment are often delayed, leading to life-threatening heart damage. It's crucial to treat the disease within the first 10 days of the onset of fever to avoid complications. Unfortunately, my uncle James who also developed KD as a child, passed away at 40 years old due to heart damage caused by KD. When he got the disease, there was no treatment.  After James passed, his heart was donated to Stanford University for Kawasaki Disease research.  I've recently reconnected with KD Foundation, who helped my family when I was diagnosed.  I'm excited to announce that I'm working with the KD Foundation on a new project that will raise funds to help develop a diagnostic test for KD. This test will help doctors diagnose and treat KD much faster than current methods and can help save countless lives. To find out more about Kawasaki Disease AND to donate, visit  They also have a support group online where families can connect, share stories and encourage one another through the KD journey.

Chef D: When at home with your family, do you have a favorite dish that you all enjoy having, can you share the recipe.

Lily: My family's all time favorite dish is Sopapilla Cheesecake.  It's super simple to make and basically melts in your mouth! Any time we bring it to gatherings, we never leave without someone asking for the recipe.  I'm just warning's addictive!

Sopapilla Cheesecake


2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter melted
 cinnamon and sugar

Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan.
Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls.
Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture.
Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
 A big thank you to Lily Nelsen for taking the time to be a part of this week's One on One!


Lily's Twitter
Lily's Website
Lily's Facebook
Lily's Instagram
Lily's Youtube Channel
Lily's Pinterest

For more info on the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, click below:


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