What did you
do your senior year? Studying? Prom? So did Sugar Land native and eventual Austin High School graduate Katie Armiger, but she also spent it writing, recording and promoting her second album, 2008's Believe
. Armiger, who co-wrote ten of Believe
's 11 songs and wrote "Gone" and "Bleed" on her own, parlayed a victory in the junior division of 93Q's "Houston's Best Country Singer" contest in 2006 into a two-song demo and then a deal with Nashville's Cold Spring Records.
Before heading back to Music City to start work on her third album, Armiger, who turned 18 last week, is on a 25-city tour of U.S. malls that brings her to Katy Mills next Saturday. Rocks Off spoke with her Tuesday afternoon from her tour bus somewhere in Arizona.
Rocks Off: What are the acoustics like singing in a mall?
Katie Armiger: They're really, really good. We have a four-piece band we're bringing on the mall tour. The acoustics sound really amazing. It's surprising, actually. We're missing a couple of people [who would be there] under normal circumstances, but I think it sounds just as good.
RO: Part of the tour arrangement is you get to go with one [contest winner] on a $500 shopping spree at each mall. If they gave you $500, what would you buy?
KA: [Laughs] I would probably buy a lot of shoes. I'm really obsessed with shoes.
RO: Did you get to do everything in your senior year that you wanted to?
KA: I did. The biggest thing for me was prom. I think I canceled out on a show just to go to prom. It was a really big thing, and everybody told me I needed to go to prom, and it's one of those things I think I'll always remember.
RO: Are you into Twitter at all?
KA: Am I into Twitter? [Laughs] Yes. I do have a Twitter [@katiearmiger
]. It's definitely addicting. Do you have one?
RO: Oh yes.
KA: Crazy addicting.
RO: How often do you update?
KA: I would say at least once a day.
RO: What's your earliest memory of country music?
KA: Oh goodness. Just riding along in the car with my parents, listening to the radio. We would listen to Linda Ronstadt and Patsy Cline and George Strait, just everything.
RO: How old were you when you thought maybe you wanted to do it for a living?
KA: It was one of those things where I always wanted to sing. Where I grew up it was kind of a problem just for the fact that nobody sang. Nobody did that, and we just had no clue how to do anything in the music industry.
RO: Do you get to spend much time in Sugar Land these days?
KA: I definitely don't, no [laughs]. But my family, actually, some of them came out on the road with me. They'll take turns coming out and visiting me. It's just one of those things - I have a really supportive family.
RO: What's the most non-country thing about you?
KA: Most non-country thing about me? Ummmmm... goodness. I don't even know. Non-country. That's really hard. Ummmm... I mean, I'm pretty eclectic. I'll listen to just about anything. I wouldn't say that's non-country, but I listen to all different types of music. I think it's definitely very good to be eclectic.
RO: How did you feel about Michael Jackson dying?
KA: It was definitely a really, really sad moment, especially with Farrah Fawcett dying on the same day. I think he's definitely influenced music so, so much, and to have somebody like that die - it's like Elvis, you know? It's huge.
RO: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you found out?
KA: I was actually on my bunk in the bus. I was taking a nap, and [the band] started walking down the hallway and talking about it. I was like, "What-ever. They're lying. That's some celebrity gossip thing."
But no, it was true, and we all came out and watched the news. I guess it was false - they were saying that he was in a coma, but he had already passed away.