My name is Hope Blanchard, and I’m a country-pop musician. In ten years, I hope I won’t have to say that or introduce myself at all. I hope Hope Blanchard will be a household name.
I have a lot of goals: I want to be on all the music charts, I want to win Grammys, I want to play in stadiums. I want sold stadiums. I’m doing whatever it takes to make that happen, and since 2019, “whatever it takes” means leaving my “normal” life behind. But let me back up for a minute to explain that singing – wanting to do it everywhere, all the time – is something I feel in my soul. When I was little, I invited people over to my grandparents for dinner so I could corner them and play. I never got good grades in school (I’m dyslexic), but making music always made me feel smart. No matter the stage, every time I go down, I think about the next time I can go back up. It feels right rightand I want to touch people with my songs, just like artists like Taylor Swift touched me when I was little.
I married my husband, Mitch, who is also a musician, when I was 18. We lived in a house in his home state of Iowa for a year before moving to a one-bedroom apartment in Nashville in order to be closer to the music industry. . But rents in Nashville are expensive, and we found ourselves exhausted from long days managing other musicians to earn money and long nights in the studio working on our own music. I knew it was not sustainable. I was barely focusing on my own passion and paying for a place where we barely spent time felt like a mistake.
I had seen this trend on Pinterest where people live in vans so they can travel full time. And one day it hit me: Why couldn’t we do that too? Except instead of traveling, we could stay in Nashville, using our earnings to record instead of rent. (FYI, making a scrapbook is super expensive. Mine is $20,000.) I showed Mitch some photos from Pinterest, and within minutes we were on the phone with a dealership. I remember bawling because I was so excited about the potential of it all. A few days later we were testing vans and at the end of the month, just before my 20th birthday, we were going to buy one in Ohio (after convincing our parents, we weren’t crazy).
Moving into a literal van isn’t easy. I had arrived at our first home in Iowa with 10 tote bags full of shoes – no exaggeration; I love cowboy boots – and even though we had already downsized for Nashville, fitting our entire life into 70 square feet was stressful as hell. To make it work, we sold just about everything we owned: most of our clothes, our furniture, our car. Then we built the van ourselves, relying on YouTube videos and luck. (The day Mitch drilled a hole in the roof to install a fan was… terrifying.)
It’s certainly not luxurious, but now this van is home. It’s basically a bed with a kitchen. There are also toilets, but we only use them in an emergency. I shower at the Planet Fitness location closest to me that day or at the music studio, where I spend a lot of time. Most nights we sleep outside a Cracker Barrel or a Walmart (fun fact: both tend to offer free RV parking in their lots). I still help manage two artists in order to make money, but otherwise I spend all day, every day, writing and recording music and performing wherever I can. (No need to budget for a hotel room on tour when you have a van!)
I released my first EP in September 2021. It’s a mix of five songs – some are perfect for drunken nights at the bar; others are about my hopefully relatable past struggles. I’m also releasing a new single in June which will be on my next EP. And earlier this year, we shot and edited three music videos in just three weeks (like, what?). I could never have done all of this if we were still living a more traditional life. I’m so proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish since doing everything for me.
People I meet in town always say, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” when I tell them I live in a van. But I know it’s because they don’t understand it was a choice. I always make decent money – I just choose to invest it in myself rather than things. Sure, I miss decorating, hoarding accessories, and having a garden, and I can’t quite spread out and watch all the Netflix I want, but those are sacrifices I’m willing to make. . I’m chasing my dream and I’ve never been happier.
I may not have thousands of monthly Spotify listeners or that Grammy yet, but every day I feel like I’m getting a little closer to seeing my name in the lights. And if you’ve read this far, you might want to listen to my music and you will remember my name. It’s Hope for a reason.
This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on piano.io