It was a chilly, mid-morning day when I met up with singer/songwriter Colleen Badenhop. When she walked up to our meeting location, I noticed that she was wearing a thin hooded zip-up sweater. The sweater couldn’t barely keep anyone warm on this day. However, Badenhop had a good reason for the clothing choice. “We are in the process of moving,” explains Badenhop. “All of my warm clothes are in boxes [laughter].” For Badenhop moving into a new home is just one of many things happening as of late. She recently finished her eleventh year of teaching music in the Kettering City Schools, and she just recently released her debut album On the Inside.
Badenhop grew up in the little town of Wauseon, Ohio, about 45 minutes away from Dayton. Her mother would play the piano and the organ while her father would sing in the church choir. Badenhop picked up playing the piano when she was young through reading music and watching her mother, and once she started attending Bowling Green, she started to get a better understanding of chord structure. As soon as she started to write songs, Badenhop started to become more serious about playing the piano. She started to dive deeper into learning and practicing. Following college, Badenhop married her high school sweetheart, and they migrated to the Dayton area.
Around 2012, Badenhop started to throw around the idea of exploring going further with her music. “I didn’t know how get from point A to point B at all”, said she. “I wasn’t sure what I do, who to talk to, how much it was going to cost.” She started off small-going to establishments and performing karaoke every week. “I would learn the songs that I wanted to sing that night. I would get on YouTube and learn the song really well,” Badenshop explained. Attending each week started to give the crowd a sense that Badenhop was destined to be doing more than already released music. “Someone told me that I should write my own songs. I would say to them that I should, but I don’t have anything to write about [laughs].”
Over time, those doubts of not having anything to write about washed away. Badenhop mentioned that she had some emotional moments that fueled some of her writing. Although she didn’t specifically mention what happened, Badenhop talked about how she starting forming moments into music. She sang the newly formed songs in her mind and would play them on the piano. Badenhop reached out and messaged another local singer/songwriter Jayne Sachs, who she was a fan of. Sachs became a mentor of sorts for Badenhop and explained that she needed to go out to places like Canal Public House and perform.
On the Inside was recorded at Babblefish Studios in Franklin, Ohio. The album, which was part of a successful Kickstarter campaign, was started in September of 2013 and ended in January. The recording was spread out, with Badenhop and her band recording mostly on weekends. During the recording process, Badenhop really wanted to have her hands in every part of the process down to the design of the album artwork. “I found out I was a little bit of a control freak [laughter],” Badenhop jokingly said.
The lyrics throughout On the Inside spotlight the full spectrum of human emotional experiences. Songs like the soft, gentle “Home Again” (When I lay down with you/I am home again/Enclosed in your arms/I am free again) to “Story” (If you were a boat/I’d be your river) highlight love and hope. Alongside are tales of loss and frustration-“A Comfortable Veil” and “The Last One to Know”. For fans of singer/songwriters like Ben Folds and Sara Bareilles, Badenhop’s On the Inside will be right on.
To hear more from Colleen Badenhop, click onto her Reverbnation website here.