At fourteen years old, up and coming singer/songwriter Queeva has already planted strong roots in the music industry, marking her place as an artist in country music who plans to stick around for a while. With a buzzworthy new single, a music video launch with The Boot, and a full EP in the works, the young Irish American singer from Chicago has a work ethic and determination not seen in most others her age. When we spoke last week, Queeva described the start of her singing career in detail. She was seven years old at the time and hasn’t slowed down since she began; in recent years Queeva has paired with Jamie O’Neal who has taught the new artist how to write her own songs and shown her the way around a recording studio. Lula 1892 caught up with Queeva to talk about how she got her start, her Irish roots, her single “Live Like a Song” and what’s next as she continues to gain traction on the Nashville scene.
Queeva knew she wanted a life in the spotlight from a remarkably young age. Having decided almost right out of toddlerhood that she wanted to be an actress, by seven years old she was making good on her dreams and participating in talent competitions as far away from her home in Chicago as Los Angeles. It was there that Queeva was discovered by her first manager and the path to working with well-known Nashville singer/songwriter Jamie O’Neal and recording her own music began. “I used to sing a ton of cover songs when I was younger, and when I’d listen to Taylor Swift especially I’d take note of how much her songs not only impacted me, but other people my age, and I wanted to do the same thing. A few years later my manager got me in contact with Jamie O’Neal. I started learning how to write and record songs under her at nine years old. I’m so honored to be working with Jamie because she has so much experience, she’s so talented, and she’s such a kind person. She basically taught me everything I know about song writing and recording.” It is simple to make the connection between Queeva and Taylor Swift; with her strawberry blonde hair, bright blue eyes and infectious smile she could easily be America’s next sweetheart, much as Swift was in the early 2000’s. To compare Queeva to any other singer, however, would do her a disservice. With a distinct inner grounding and her own well developed style, the singer has already set herself apart as an original.
Working with O’Neal on her song writing has paid off and it is obvious from the very first word Queeva speaks in any conversation that she is wise beyond on her years; something that shines through in the inspiring, upbeat music she is currently producing. When asked about her ability to write about subjects sometimes beyond her age, Queeva answered simply, “I always take a simple concept and try to find the best way that a lot of people can relate to it. Inspiration for songs usually comes from things that I witness around me. I’ll take a simple situation I’ve experienced or I’m witnessing as inspiration and frame it in a bigger way. “Live Like a Song”, for example, is a good one. I see kids in my school all the time who are sad and who feel alone and I wanted to remind them, and everyone, that you never have to be alone. Why not live like a song? Music is something that’s always there, for everyone.”
Perhaps one of the most promising, refreshing things about Queeva is that she does not try to negate the fact that she is fourteen years old. Instead, she uses it to her advantage, and knows that the road ahead is long but worth it. The singer embraces her talents and the unique position being such a young person in the industry affords her. “Sometimes it can be difficult because people doubt you when you’re so young in the industry. But this is a huge honor to be able to share my message with people my age, as well as anyone else who wants to listen. The message I want to send is that you’re not alone. I really hope that people will turn to my music for whatever they need to get out of it, whether that’s friendship or hope. That’s the way I’ve felt listening to artists I look up to, and I want to be that for others,” she remarked with equal parts joy and grit in her voice; two things that will no doubt take her far.
To accompany her uniquely uplifting lyrics, Queeva has already established a strong sound, rooted in her family’s Celtic bloodline. Though Queeva herself hails from Illinois, her parents are both Irish and raised Queeva to speak Gaelic and stay well acquainted with both her Irish and American heritage. Given country music’s Celtic roots, Queeva’s music naturally has an authentic, old-fashioned sound with a refreshing, modern twist. It was her family that taught Queeva to love country music and it’s something she is positive will remain with her as she continues to grow in her career. “Being Irish is important to me, but it was important to my career from the start as well. All of my family in Ireland love country music as much as those of us in America do. If it weren’t for my surroundings in both countries, I wouldn’t be as interested in or have as much love for the genre as I do today. Being both Irish and American and knowing both countries so well influences my music. Country music was played in both homes in Ireland and Chicago, as well as Irish music. I want to keep that Celtic country sound in my own music because that’s what I grew up on and that’s what made me want to be a country artist. I feel like today a lot of the songs that I hear on country radio aren’t as country as I want them to be. That sound will be something I aim to keep in my music forever.”
As Queeva continues to chase her dreams with joy and steadfast ambition, we look forward to tagging along for the ride; we have no doubt we’ll be covering her Opry debut one day soon. Queeva has a lot in the works for the rest of this year, including a new single release, a new music video, and a full EP debut. Queeva’s current single, “Live Like a Song” is airing on Nickelodeon, so tune in to catch it! To keep up with her, follow Queeva on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or visit her website.