“A lot of folks first heard of me when I wrote a song called ‘Knocked Up’ that Heidi Newfield cut on her first solo record,” Angaleena said. “People would say, ‘God, honey, that song has balls.’ But I just wrote what I knew. I was pregnant, not married, and felt like the shame of my family.” It was songs like “Knocked Up” and “Look It Up” (a Top 20 single for Ashton Shepherd) that began drawing the attention of writers and artists on Music Row.
“I was in the middle of a divorce, living in the ghetto, sleeping next to my son who was three. And one night at like 2 a.m., I got a call from my friend, Ashley Monroe, and Miranda Lambert,” Presley recalls. “They had been listening to my record – and probably drinking a lot – and asked me if I wanted to start a band with them. I almost hung up ‘cause I thought it was a prank call, but I went ahead and told them ‘yes,’ and I’m glad I did.”
The result -- Pistol Annies, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful band signed to RCA. Their first single, “Hell on Heels,” was written by Angaleena, Miranda, and Ashley and was certified gold by the RIAA. Their album, also titled Hell on Heels, debuted at No. 1 on country sales charts and was picked by many critics, including The New York Times, as the best album in any genre of 2011. The follow up Annie Up was released in May 2013 and found the trio again topping sales charts and performing on the Today Show, The Tonight Show, The View and many more. In 2014 Angaleena released her solo album American Middle Class.
“It’s still surreal for me,” Angaleena reflects. “It feels like you can bang your head against a wall trying to knock it down for a long time, and one day it crumbles, and it was all worth it.”
Never one to slow down, Angaleena has continued her role as a prolific writer since the inception of Pistol Annies, working with many of Nashville’s esteemed writers including Matraca Berg, Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, Erin Enderlin and Lori McKenna. “Writing is my first love," she says. "It’s what I came to this town to do.”
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