Lesa Hudson knows she has a lot to be grateful for. She is grateful for her fans, grateful to Myrtle Beach musician Rick Strickland for inviting her to join his band, and grateful to God for her talents. At the Carolina Beach Music Awards this year, Lesa won Songwriter of the Year as well as “Smoothie” (a mellow song, not a ballad) with Rick Strickland for “When You Look At Me”.
I first met Lesa at the Carolina Beach Music Awards (CBMA) and was instantly charmed by her humble demeanor. The Rick Strickland Band is different from other ensembles because she and Rick write their own music. “We didn’t start writing music, it found us. We write from our heart,” she said.
Lesa comes from a family of musicians. She started playing piano as a young girl and never stopped. She was outgoing, but felt she had no confidence. Wanting to be a singer, she had always practiced singing into a hairbrush pretending it was a microphone.
Lesa believes it is God’s will that she become a musician. While her early interest was Southern Rock, she loved Christian music. In fact, before she joined the Rick Strickland Band, she had formed a Christian music trio with local artists Debbie Anderson and Heather Corbett. In 2006, the trio produced an inspirational album of which Lesa wrote eight of the songs. They took it to Nashville and one of the tracks went to number two on the charts! The song went viral and Lesa was nominated for Inspirational Country Music Female Artist of the Year twice and also New Artist of the Year twice in Nashville. Due to the desire to go in different directions, the trio eventually broke up. But as luck would have it, Lesa had met Rick at a concert through a mutual friend. In 2008, Rick called Lesa and asked her and Debbie to be part of a new band that he was forming.
We asked Lesa where is her favorite place to play in Myrtle Beach. “It’s hard to pick a fav place where we perform on the Strand. There are several great places to play. I really enjoy performing during SOS events and CBMA weekend because everybody is always in a “great state of mind” and ready to have a good time! And the folks who plan all those events do an incredible job! A very memorable performance on the Strand was back in September when we did our Fan Appreciation Concert at the Avista Resort in NMB. We played 3 hours straight to a crowd of over 300 attendees who danced and sang to everything we played! It was an incredible night!”
Lesa’s advice to budding musicians is to always be true to yourself. Listen and learn from others, but don’t try to be just like them. Your path is your own so strive to be the best YOU that you can be.
The Rick Strickland Band writes its own music and can be seen at several clubs all through the south. Lesa, Rick and the band play from the heart and it is obvious at their performances, whether it is a big venue or during a jam session. They are the real deal on stage and off and we are thankful for them!
Thanks to Jim Allen Of Ocean Drive Happens for the great pictures.