NASHVILLE, Tennessee- One of my favorite things is discovering new talent, often ahead of the labels and music industry. PR teams pitch me an artist, and if I like what I hear, I schedule an interview. When Dead Horse Branding sent the song, “Sass” by new country artist Siena (Paglia), I was hooked by the title alone.
It turns out that this real-life Las Vegas cowgirl can sing quite well. With her debut single, she has just enough twang to keep us old-timers interested, but with lyrics that are fresh and relatable to the younger set.
The only musical person in Siena’s family was her uncle, who is a talented guitarist. Other than that, she is the only one who has pursued music as a career.
As a child, Siena had singing lessons and sang in a choir. When she was 8 years old, her vocal coach put in a Christmas show in which she performed.
“At first I was scared, but the more you do something, the more you love it,” she said.
Growing up, Siena was influenced by artists like Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Tricia Yearwood, and Fleetwood Mac.
“[Fleetwood Mac’s] storytelling was ahead of their time,” she said.
By her early teens, she was part of a country girl group in Vegas called Sugarstack, and they would sing around town in places like galas, ballgames, and private events. By the time she was 18, she ventured off to pursue a solo career.
She started singing alongside local Las Vegas country artists Chris Heers and Seth Turner, who took her under their wings. They let her sit in with their bands as they mentored her.
This led to Siena being asked to perform on her own, where she would often sing classic songs that the audience requested.
“I think that engaging with your audience is very important because those are your fans and those are the ones who will drive your career,” she said.
Siena attended the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival on October 1, 2017, where a gunman killed 60 people and injured many more.
She said, “I never wanted to leave a concert early, but before Jason Aldean came on, I had a feeling that wanted to go home.”
But she was there with her girlfriend, and they had never seen Jason Aldean in concert before, so they stayed.
Siena remembered, “Everyone heard the shots going off and I thought it was the speakers cutting out. Once people saw other humans falling to the ground, as the shots kept firing, people got down on the ground and started running. It was scary. In the breaks, when the shooter was reloading, people would run for cover. If I had been five feet to my right, I would not be here today. It was like being in a war, but you can’t fight back.”
Four days after the shooting, Siena got a call to sing the National Anthem for the fundraiser called the “Las Vegas Night of Healing.” Artists who performed were Rascal Flatts, Big N Rich, and Cam, along with other stars who supported by video, and they raised money for the victims’ families.
“For me to almost not being here to be able to sing before thousands of people in a closed arena, I do not know how I did that. It was nerve-wracking, but I got up to show that I could sing the anthem in front of thousands of people. I did it to show courage to families of the fallen.”
This event led to Siena meeting some key people from Nashville. She was also asked to sing the National Anthem at other major events.
In August of 2021, Siena officially moved to Nashville.
“It was so crazy. God works in mysterious ways. I was on my way to a gig from Las Vegas to Utah where my friends were playing. I got hired to be the opener for Chase Bryant. On my way there, I thought, ‘God if I’m supposed to be in Nashville, just put me there. I don’t want to be in Vegas anymore.’”
While on the drive, she was on Facebook and saw a Nashville housing page where burgeoning artists can look for places to live. Miraculously, she found a place that would provide her with a room but also was on a property that was big enough where she could bring her horse, Gracie. God answered her prayer within 24 hours.
“Ever since then, I’ve met a lot of really great people, had cool experiences, and written a lot of hot songs,” the singer said.
She has noticed the comparison of Las Vegas to Nashville with Nashville earning the moniker of “Nashvegas.”
But the thing she really likes about Nashville is being surrounded by supportive people, many of whom want the same thing that she does, and who are chasing the same dream.
“Yes, there is a level of competition, but people come out to your showcase, download your songs, and are there for you. The Nashville music community is very tight,” she said.
Siena co-wrote her debut single, “Sass” alongside producer Don Miggs, a song where she channels her inner Shania Twain.
The honky-tonkin’ energetic song is a country music anthem, telling it like it is. As a Nashville-based breakthrough artist, her spaghetti western spirit, desert richness, and rustic vocals keep listeners grounded in their roots in an ever-changing music scene.
She said, “I live my music life the same way I live my personal life. I do like to go outside and be with my horse, go hunting and fishing. That’s fun for me.”
Since being in Nashville, Siena has learned that “fans like to see transparency in your songwriting, your social media, and the stories you share as you write good music that people can relate to.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of what I have accomplished so far, the connections I’ve made, the songs I’ve written, and what God has in store for me,” she said.
As Siena continues to write music for her upcoming EP, she admitted to having a little bit of a perfectionism hook. But she is learning to let that go as it is “too hard on me, too hard on the music.”
“I’m really digging into who I want to be and what kind of songs I want to sing and what I want to say. I want to be a friend to anyone who listens to my music,” she said.
Siena is now a proud house owner but still visits her horse regularly in Mt. Juliet. She has a good head on her shoulders, and by putting God first, there is nothing she can’t accomplish.
You can follow Siena on her website, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and all streaming platforms.
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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.