IT’S BEEN A LONG ROAD TO A COUNTRY/POP SOUND, but musician and Naples native Chloe Friedmanfinally arrived after dabbling in a wide array of genres: musical theater, pop, classic rock and others are sounds she’s used to serenade local audiences since she was singing her way through Florida Gulf Coast University. But country stuck for the singer/songwriter, who debuts her third album, “Homegrown” on Friday, June 10, at Momentum Brewhousein Bonita Springs.
“I got my start doing theater — that’s always been one of my loves,” she says. “But when I was 13 or 14, I realized you could write your own music. It was finally something where I didn’t have to play a character. I could play myself and express myself through music.”
When she started taking songwriting courses and putting her own thoughts and experiences to music, the storytelling element of country is what kept her strumming and writing, she says.
“Homegrown,” which was recorded at local studios, is a bit of homage to growing up in Southwest Florida and seeing a different side to the area than many tourists are privy to. For instance, the title track pays tribute to the 13th Avenue beach in Naples and the city’s pier, a beloved hangout for anyone who’s ever grown up here.
“I went to the 13th Avenue beach almost every weekend with my friends growing up. You’d show up and know everyone there,” she says. “I had this idea I had to write something beautiful and fun because that’s what this town is. We do have high-end shops, yes, but we still have that hometown feel, which is what I love.”
The talent she’s found at recording studios in the Bonita Springs and Estero areas has been a pleasant surprise, she says, and the studios themselves are like hidden gems. “Homegrown” was recorded at The Live Room, JGM Studios and Trilogy Studios and mastered in Nashville by Malloy Master Tracks Studios.
In addition to providing the vocals, Ms. Friedman plays piano and harmonica. Her father accompanies her on guitar and bass.
“Probably my favorite part of recording is translating what I hear in my head,” she says. “I allow myself a lot of creative freedom. We’ll play it and work on it.”
Her first album, “Triple Threat,” was released when she was a teenager and had just discovered the thrill of songwriting.
“It was very pop/rock, I’d say, for a 15-year-old,” she says. “I was just on fire. I was writing so much because it was new and exciting for me, that whole process of framing stories and thoughts into songs.”
Now 25 years old, as Ms. Friedman has developed as an artist and performer she’s grown more comfortable with herself and her skills, which allows her to take risks. Performing more than 100 shows a year for private parties and at public venues, including gigs to put herself through Florida Gulf Coast University, certainly helped hone those chops. Although she works full time in marketing, she still performs a wide array of genres and is currently contracted for an eight-show series in partnership with Gator Country at Old Naples All American Sports Grill through July 9.
“You have to be pretty versatile around here,” she says. “I play a wide variety of music because we have so many different lovers of so many genres.” Her repertoire of cover tunes ranges from Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” and Wilson Picket’s “Mustang Sally” to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil,” Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
She also considers herself lucky to be able to perform her own compositions as often as she does. “I’ve been very fortunate to play a lot of my original music,” she says. “That’s probably the most exciting thing for me.” Her key performances over the years include opening for John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting and joining the lineup of songwriters in the 2014 and 2015 Island Hopper Songwriters Festivals organized by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau and presented in Sanibel-Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and Fort Myers by BMI Nashville and Cat Country 107.1.
The release party for “Homegrown” takes place from 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 10, at Momentum Brewhouse in Bonita Springs. Ms. Friedman will sing selections from the album, and guest artists include Brandan James and DJ JayM will also perform. Admission is free and copies of “Homegrown” will be available for purchase.