Liz Huett’s debut single, “STFU & Hold Me,” is about getting to that point in a relationship where you’re sick of going around and around talking about the same issue with your partner and it’s time to wave the white flag. “We’ve all been there,” the California-raised, Nashville-based singer-songwriter says. “You just don't think it’ll get solved, and it’s like, ‘Oh, just shut the fuck up and hold me.’”

That Huett chose this irreverent demand as the title for her first-ever solo single says a lot about her, as does the way she sweetly sings “shut the fuck up and hold me” in her clear, companionable voice. In person, Huett is warm, sassy, self-deprecating, and, yes, unafraid to drop an f-bomb. She is the kind of person who might post on Instagram a quote like “Let your life glorify” from one of her favorite worship songs, then follow it up two posts later with a photo of herself in a bar with a cigarette in her mouth captioned, “Mama tried.”   

“Look, I’m not a polished person,” Huett says with a laugh. “I mean, maybe I could give that impression if I absolutely had to, but I'm not. I usually say the wrong thing. I don’t always have the healthiest tendencies in relationships. But if I were to try to hide those things, I don't think my songs would be interesting, because people can smell bullshit. I'm totally comfortable letting the world see an edgier side of me. And hopefully listeners will feel a bit more understood when they're in those relationships that are kind of a pain in the ass.”

In this way, “STFU & Hold Me,” which was produced by her co-writers The Futuristics, is the perfect calling card for Huett, who caught the performing bug while growing up in Riverside, California. The adopted daughter of a stay-at-home mother and a retired LAPD officer father, Huett would force her parents and four much-older siblings to sit through impromptu performances in front of the fireplace in the family’s front room. “My dad would have to say, ‘Now presenting Elizabeth Kathleen Huett!’ I wouldn’t come out until he announced me and then I’d sing,” she recalls. “I would wait for the standing ovation from whatever siblings were being forced into the audience that night. Being the youngest of five, you're already kind of a ham.”

Huett started her career in the entertainment business as an actor, but chose music over acting because she got tired of missing school. “I just wanted to feel normal,” she says. “In fifth grade, I booked this movie, and I was gone for three months. I was dating the cute guy and I came back and he was hanging out with some other chick. I wanted to have the quintessential all-American upbringing and go to school every day. Instead I'm on set with adults and studying in a trailer by myself. So by the time I hit high school I was pissed,” she says with a laugh. “My parents, who were not stage parents by the way, were like, ‘You're crazy. But fine, you can stop. We're not going to force you.’ Singing and making music was something I could do in my bedroom.”

Because Huett grew up with her ear glued to the radio, listening to everything from pop acts like Tom Petty and Pink to ’90s country superstars like Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks, she decided to move to Nashville to pursue her career as an artist. “I just felt confident about it,” she says. “Looking back, I shouldn't have, because I didn't write songs or play an instrument. Once I got there, it was very sobering. Like, ‘Holy shit, if I really want to do this as my career, if I want to be the person singing the songs on stage, I have to roll up my sleeves and get to work.’”

Before Huett had a chance to do that, destiny came calling in the form of an offer she couldn’t refuse: the chance to tour as a backing vocalist with a rising country artist named Taylor Swift, who was about to embark on her Fearless tour. “It was a last-minute audition,” Huett recalls. “I had been working at a high-end boutique, selling clothes to a lot of country artists and I’d say to them, ‘I’m a fan of yours, do you have any advice for me?’ Literally, I was doing that. So getting the offer from Taylor’s people, it was just one of those ‘right place at the right time’ stories.” 

Huett toured with Swift for three and a half years. Then, with Swift’s blessing, she decided to come off the road and throw herself into writing her own music. She quickly lined up a publishing deal with Warner Chappell, began writing songs, and worked on developing her eclectic pop sound. “It's funny where you end up when you stop trying to control things and just let the evolution happen,” she says. “I’m a California girl. I didn't grow up with a banjo and a front porch.”

Now signed to Interscope Records, Huett delivers her songs with a genuine vulnerability that makes her work appealingly relatable. Her sly lyrics go down smooth thanks to her intimate vocals and bright melodies. “I want people to feel like they know me by the end of my song,” she says. “That's what we've been chasing this whole time. There's a lot of depth in there, interlaced with the ‘fuck you’ anthems, and the drinking songs, and the feel-good up-tempo vibes. I want people to feel like they want to hang out with me. That I will make them laugh. That they can feel safe to totally be themselves. And that I will always get the extra round!”