Listen to any Top 40 radio station and you will no doubt hear a song called “Use Somebody” by the Nashville, TN-based group Kings of Leon - a great band with a great song that’s quickly climbed to the top of the Pop and Rock charts.
But if your musical tastes lean more toward Marie (aka “I’m a little bit country”) rather than toward Donny (aka “I’m a little bit rock ‘n roll”)…then you need to check out the new country-leaning cover version just released by newcomer Margaret Durante.
Durante is signed to the Casablanca/Universal Republic music label…and she’s got the backing of some of the music industry’s primo heavyweights – Tommy Mottola, James Stroud, and Shelly Fairchild among others. So you will certainly be hearing lots more from this fresh-faced 21-year-old in the very (and I do mean “VERY”) near future…both nationally and right here in this column.
But for now, just treat your ears to one of the most refreshing sounds to come out of Music City in a long time!
One day soon, when Durante is sitting on top of the Country charts and penning as many CMA, ACM and Grammy acceptance speeches as she is hit records, you’ll be able to tell your friends “Yeah I knew her back when…”
In the meantime, go download her version of "Use Somebody" via Itunes, check out her Facebook page, and browse her videos on YouTube. And if you want to learn even more about this incredibly talented young woman right now…here’s her own story in her own words…courtesy of Margaret Durante’s MySpace page:
Hey everyone! Thank you so much for visiting my page! My name is Margaret Durante and I’m 21 years old. I've been living in Nashville for a couple years. I moved here after leaving Clemson University in the middle of my sophomore year to pursue my ultimate dream job of being an entertainer and songwriter. I simply love writing and performing songs, so to me, it was obvious that Nashville was where I needed to be. There's nothing like sharing your song and story with an audience and feeling the lyrics and the melody work its way through the crowd making everyone a little more close and familiar.
I have an incredible family. My mom, dad and two sisters, Claire and Theresa, have been with me every step of the way. My childhood friends and their families are also incredible. Growing up, they became used to my tendency to sing…a lot! They're all in Potomac, MD, and the Washington, DC area, where I grew up, and I miss them every day. They always encouraged me to sing when I was growing up, so I did.
When I was sixteen, family friends, music enthusiasts and big supporters, Tom and Karen Natelli, introduced me to the B Street Band from the Jersey Shore. The Natelli’s had become friends with the band members over many summers. The band and I immediately hit it off after our first gig together. I spent the next four summers traveling up and down the east coast, enjoying every minute of performing with them. The band dubbed me "Margrock" and I became an honorary member.
As I became more sure of my desire to perform and sing, Tom and I worked together to make the dream a reality. Together we formed MargRock Entertainment, LLC. I wrote songs, we recorded them and we knocked on every door we came upon. At the same time, I was a full time student at Clemson, trying to juggle my classes, my clubs, my sorority -- all the activities I was involved in there.
I'll never forget the day I made the decision to leave Clemson. I was a good student (I swear!), pursuing a double major in music and business. I loved the college life. A lot. (Go Tigers.) But, I loved music first. Somehow, Tom and I had gotten the attention of one of the most prominent executives in the music industry, Tommy Mottola. He believed that I should, could, would have a career in the industry, but I needed to commit, 100%. My Clemson friends helped me pack my car, and, in the middle of my sophomore year…I drove away. I cried for 30 minutes before I felt relief -- the weight of trying to live a double life lifted – it was stressful! The pulling in two directions stopped and a single-minded purpose set in.
At 19, I found myself living alone in Nashville. I've been blessed to be able to work with some amazing people there. Brilliant songwriters like Lisa Carver, Stephony Smith and Shelly Fairchild. My good friends Laura and James Stroud. James is one of the most accomplished producers in country music, and I still can't believe that he took the time to produce my first single. And, in April I signed a record deal with Universal Republic...I'm still reeling about that.
I've learned quickly that the story behind the story of every successful artist is built on the support and contributions of dozens of people who are there for you, helping you along the way. Some in big ways and some in small ways, but every bit matters. I expect this to be true of every meaningful journey in life, but I realize and fully appreciate it now, more than ever.
Photo credit: Casablanca/Universal Republic
For another taste of this exciting future star's musical chops, check out an acoustic version of "Use Somebody" from Margaret Durante: