Thumbs up or thumbs down? Mandolin ace Sierra Hull pondered her fans’ and peers’ reaction to her new music while she was preparing to perform at last year’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, N.C. Picking up the mandolin at age eight, Hull had traveled the bluegrass festival circuit many a weekend growing up, while her friends enjoyed sleepovers and playing sports.
“I loved it,” she recalls. “I loved playing. I loved the traveling. I consider myself to be a people person, and I’ve always loved getting to meet new people, and the community itself of bluegrass music and the music world in general was exciting to me.” But some of the same people who had heard her sing and pick for the last 16 years were about to hear a new Sierra sound.
“It’s so scary when you share something new with people who have been so supportive of you doing this other thing for a while,” she admits. “I was not sure how they would perceive me, even just a change of instrumentation.” Fortunately, the former child prodigy found out she had no reason to worry about her performance. “I feel like everybody has been even more accepting of this than what I was doing before. I’ve been really blown away. I put myself in a bit of a box thinking that’s what people thought I was supposed to be, and I’m not sure that people ever thought that. At the end of the day, you have to be what you are. I truly think it boils down to people know when something feels honest or when something feels like it’s not.” Read entire article »