Siblings Megan, Katey, and Ryan Bundy were exposed to music early in life growing up in Cincinnati, OH. Influenced by music from artists like John Denver, Dave Matthews and Dolly Parton, their interest in music blossomed and they eventually taught themselves how to play guitar. That was quickly followed by experimenting with songwriting. This was an activity for much of the childhood years but it wasn’t until much later that a run at professional music became real for The Bundys.
Megan Bundy found herself in Nashville, TN in 2010 pursuing the illusive country music dream. A few years later she was laying down songs for an EP when she invited Katey and Ryan to bring harmony vocals to some of the tracks. It was the pivotal moment that changed everything for the budding musicians.
For the next two years the trio juggled competing schedules, school, work, and commuting to give music a go. A brief appearance on Fox’s The X Factor left them with a tough decision. Could they really do it? Could all three siblings put their lives on hold to chase the dream of a career in music?
“We had a brief appearance on the X Factor in 2013,” Megan recalled. “The whole process was exhausting and emotionally draining. One moment, you think your life is about to change and the next you’re on a flight back to Nashville. After that was done, we had a bit of a come to Jesus moment where we had to decide whether or not we were cut out for this kind of life. We went from three siblings from Ohio who love to sing and write songs to a full fledge band in Nashville getting 200 no’s for every 1 yes. The sting the X Factor left us with actually ended up being a good motivator. We knew we had to put in the work and do this the hard way.”
The path became obvious. Megan, Katey, and Ryan launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their first full length album. The sky now, as they say, is the limit. Their debut album, Louisiana Avenue, was released in September of 2015.
I asked Megan if it was more difficult to perform with siblings as opposed to traveling with unrelated band mates. “It’s funny,” she exclaimed. “We didn’t realize how strange it is for siblings to work together, live together, and generally get along as well as we do until we started doing this. We’ve always been a close family, so it wasn’t crazy for us to imagine a life like this. It’s nice to share the stage and the responsibilities of the music world. The music industry can be a rollercoaster of emotions and let downs, so it’s nice not to have to take that on alone.”
“Of course, on the other hand, when your business is family business, it’s nearly impossible not to take something personally. The saying “It’s not personal, it’s business” doesn’t work for us. It’s both,” she told me.
I asked Megan how it was different being raised with music as the center piece of their childhood. “It’s the thing I remember most about growing up in our family. We had one stereo in the living room (before everyone had iPhones and portable speakers!). We grew up listening to John Denver, Elvis, UB40 and Broadway tunes. Both of our parents would sing all the time: doing the dishes, laundry folding clothes, so to us, it was just normal. It wasn’t until we started to have our friends over that we realized not everyone sings all the time,” she quipped.
Meant To Be
The trio officially started in 2012. Megan recalled how differently that felt from her childhood years. “Even though we always sang together growing up, there was something different about singing together in Music City. That changed the game for us.” All three contribute songs to the trio as well as co-write with other writers in town. “Even if we end up not using the songs for our band, it’s our version of therapy,” Megan said. “Our song writing process kind of varies. Sometimes we come to a writing session with partial lyrics and a general idea for a topic of a song, other times it’s a melody in our heads and we have to find lyrics to fit that sound. Either way, it’s usually the three of us, sitting around on the couch with a guitar, a pen and paper for the messy ideas and lyrics and a laptop for when they’re a little more put together. We usually spend the session switching back and forth between coffee and alcohol … a musician’s two best friends!”
The Nashville Way
The siblings are all still working at other income producing pursuits while pursuing music. “From what I hear, ‘it’s the Nashville way’ of doing things,” Megan said. “There is so much talent in Nashville that it’s easy for venues to pay in exposure only. Of course, exposure doesn’t pay our bills!”
Their current focus is on touring. “We’ve got a summer tour in the works,” she said. “We’re trying to go to as many cities as possible. We’re also always writing and trying to add new instruments to our show. Since our home base is in Nashville, we’re trying to schedule shows anywhere within driving distance of there. We’ve got stops in Chicago, Atlanta, and Jackson, MS to name a few. We don’t plan on getting a lot of sleep this summer,” she mused.
By Greg Tutwiler