One of Big Loud’s latest signed artists/songwriters, Zandi Holup, is a refreshing new face in the country music scene.
Growing up in a musical family, the Pennsylvania transplant and now Nashville resident is no stranger to the music industry. In pursuit of her passion, she began sharing her unreleased, original songs on social media (“Mountain Man” & “I Don’t Like Myself in Love” put her music on the map for me) and amassed a collective online fanbase of 500K+. Also an avid songwriter, “she’s written over 150 songs in the past few years—with her first independent release, “Wait for You” topping the Spotify “Fresh Finds” playlist” (PR team). It was these ongoing efforts and consistently putting her authentic self out there that eventually led to her signing with Big Loud. Her debut release under the label comes as “Gas Station Flowers”– a track that paints a vivid portrait of what it feels like to settle in a relationship.
As she shares in a press release,
“Gas station flowers are my metaphor for love. Not a love that you deserve, but a love that you only accept because an afterthought is better than nothing at all,” She continues, “Wilting, barely hanging on, stems that are so devoid of life, yet you tend to them in hopes that they survive. And somehow, you still find shreds of beauty in the withered state” (Holup, PR team).
Holup is a natural storyteller, which is evident in the lyrics of this track (with due credit to her co-writers, Brian Alexander & Stefanie Joyce). Through poetic hooks and vivid imagery, she illustrates what it feels like to be an afterthought in a less-than-ideal relationship. This is demonstrated in the lines,
“Bet you saw them in the checkout line
A cellophane wrapped afterthought, but hey that’s fine, at least they’re mine”
Here we have a woman who feels undervalued, but she’s invested too much in the relationship to pack up and leave. This is contrasted by a significant other who has let their vices consume them, as he comes home drunk and stoned. His vices are putting a strain on their relationship, while he’s become her vice.
In terms of subject matter, the song has universal appeal. For many of us, there have been points in our lives where we have settled for less than what we deserve– Where we would rather be in the wrong thing than faced with the loneliness and uncertainty that comes with leaving and being on our own. As Holup further explains in a press release, “As human beings, I feel like we all find ourselves in a place where we accept gas station flowers,” she adds, “This song is my expression of emotion from a place of not feeling worthy in my own life” (Holup, PR team).
It takes a lot of bravery to be honest with yourself and say, “I am worth more than this and am deserving of a love that goes beyond the bare minimum”. It’s easy to put how you feel about someone above how they treat you. It’s much harder to acknowledge when the bad outweighs the good, and when a situation is no longer right and/or healthy for you. Ultimately, it’s difficult to let go of someone you love. Many fans will feel seen and less alone in their experiences after listening to the song.
In terms of sound, the track features a hardy medley of fiddle, guitar, pedal steel, banjo, upright bass, piano, drums and percussion. This provides a perfect backdrop for her voice to take centre stage. Her music doesn’t sound overly commercialized or overproduced–it leans more towards traditional country music, with some folk & grassroots airs. Something that traditional country and folk fans will surely appreciate. Overall, “Gas Station Flowers” is a must-listen.
Holup, Zandi “Gas Station Flowers.” Spotify, Big Loud Records. 2023. https://open.spotify.com/track/7q5DhpYZrHZxxG3UNMxFQN?si=d564382411a64b18.
Kelly, Brayln. “Featured: artist/songwriter, Zandi Holup.” Photo courtesy of Big Loud. Accessed Oct 6 2023.
PR team. “Zandi Holup Settles For “Gas Station Flowers”. Oct 6 2023. Press Release.
Unknown. “Featured: Official cover art for Zandi Holup’s single, “Gas Station Flowers”. Courtesy of Big Loud.” Photo courtesy of Big Loud. Accessed Oct 6 2023.