Prairie du Chien woman pursuing her dream in Nashville

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Prairie du Chien native Chellanie (Adams) Grunwald has been pursuing her dream in country music for a decade.

Chellanie (Adams) Grunwald (right) is shown with two singer/songwriter friends, Kathy Hudson (left) and Karen McNatt, after playing a club in Nashville. (Photo by Barbara Potter Photography)

By Correne Martin

Since she was a little girl growing up in Prairie du Chien, Chellanie (Adams) Grunwald has wanted to become a singer. These days, she’s paying her dues in the country music capital of the world and, after 10 years there, is pleased with her progress. She’s songwriting frequently, playing clubs and honky tonks in Nashville regularly, is recording a new album and is continuing to work her way up in the music business.

“There are so many musicians and everybody is fabulous,” Chellanie said. “It’s very hard sometimes, hence the day job, but it’s a dream and you have to work at it.”

After graduating from Prairie du Chien High School in 2000 and UW-Platteville in 2005, Chellanie moved to Nashville, where she integrated herself by waiting tables during the day and singing at night. Now, she spends her days working as a loan processor in the mortgage business. Then, she plays live one or two times per week at songwriters’ nights.

“It’s awesome going out singing at writers’ nights and meeting other people,” Chellanie said. “You have to pay your dues. Early on, I did a lot of gigs where you show up at midnight, play two songs to maybe no crowd, and then you hope someone invites you back. Now, I book every month and play on stage with my fellow songwriters. We do about four or five songs each.”

In addition to playing clubs at night, Chellanie also performs at work events, weddings and other paid live music gigs. “It definitely gets you heard. You never know who can hear you,” she said.

Chellanie is also focusing heavily on her songwriting. “The fact that I can get together with like-minded people and put together a song in two hours is awesome,” she said. “And when you can play a song that brings tears to someone’s eyes, that’s what this business is all about.”

Recently, Chellanie has experienced some success with getting one of her songs heard on the international front. Titled, “Back of My Mind,” the tune is something she wrote after hearing a story about someone’s ex love.

“The story brought about the idea for a great country love song, that I think reflects old style classic country music a lot and that was what I was going for when I was writing it,” Chellanie said.

“Back of My Mind” has been nominated for The Iceman’s Top 40 New Country Artist Countdown show, which can be streamed online from all over the world at bestcountryradio.com.

“I sent my song in about a month ago, and [The Iceman] picked it,” Chellanie explained. “It’s been 35th on the list.”

Every week, The Iceman goes through his nominations and first chooses a voting list, of more than 40 songs from new country music artists. The public is then encouraged to vote online at bestcountryradio.com (each person can only vote once every 24 hours). Voting ends on Mondays. Then the top 40 songs are revealed during the countdown, broadcast live at 7 p.m. on Mondays.

Chellanie is hoping some of her hometown fans can help her out by voting for “Back of My Mind” at bestcountryradio.com. “If it were to move into the top couple spots, I could get a chance to perform at a CMA Fest event (June 11-15) in Nashville,” she said.

In the coming months, Chellanie will be spending much of her time recording tracks for a new album. She said the songs will mostly tell stories about random ideas of love and life. She noted that recording has been a wonderful experience and that she’s grateful for her friends and family for all the support they’ve given in recent years as well as throughout her musical journey.

In her spare time, Chellanie and her husband, Peter Grunwald, also a Prairie du Chien native, have purchased a foreclosure house and have been working on remodeling that.
To follow Chellanie as she continues pursuing her dream, fans can find her profile, a few songs and a video on the ReverbNation website. Her personal page is reverbnation.com/chellanie.

Editor’s note: Kayla Taylor, also from Prairie du Chien, has been and is currently featured on The Iceman’s Top 40 Countdown nomination list as well.

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