Thrice Sovereign reconstructs their narrative


Treasure Franklin

Kristen Borden-Talcott, Amanda Lee Borden-Talcott, and Joshua Brown

Brooke J. Freundschuh, Editor-in-Chief

Amanda Lee met Kristen Borden-Talcott when she was new to the area and working at a local bar, where Kristen was a regular. They were introduced by mutual friends who thought they’d get along well. The first thing Amanda noticed about Kristen was her shining blue eyes. Shortly after, Amanda found herself separating from her husband. It was then, after introducing themselves to each other over and over, that they began to fall together as a couple. 

They began dating in late 2015 and got married in the summer of 2017. After getting married they started looking at options to expand their family. Amanda has three biological children from her previous marriage. They found they would have limited reproductive options because of Kristen’s negative blood type, so they began to research options that were more expensive. They were looking for ways to make money, and dreamed of opening their own taco truck as a means to supplement income. Writing songs became a topic of discussion. Kristen showed Amanda how to put music to the words that she was writing constantly. 

Amanda started playing music as a child. Her family was involved in musical theater.

“It was the most normal way I could be a part of the family,” Amanda said, “I felt seen.” 

She says finding her own voice over time was difficult. After facing backlash for her voice, she went through a phase where she would only sing for her children and had given up hope of playing music for others in her adult life. 

 Kristen started playing guitar when she was six. She played softball growing up and broke multiple fingers. After she completed her high school sports career, she had to retrain herself to play the guitar which she describes as a frustrating experience. Music has always been a backdrop to her life. Her grandfather recorded at FAME and toured with several bluegrass musicians. She was the only one in the family who wanted to carry on the musical tradition, so she received her first guitar for Christmas from her mom and grandfather. She’s had the same blue acoustic guitar that she lovingly calls “blue” for nearly 20 years now. 

When Amanda and Kristen first met, Kristen was once again recovering from a broken hand that resulted from her time in MMA fighting. She once again had to force her hands to work the way her brain wanted them to. However, despite these physical struggles, they determined they were going to start making music, even if no one listened. And thus, Thrice Sovereign was born. 

“We don’t know what the future holds with our own illnesses, our own life, “ Amanda said. “We could leave behind lessons in our lyrics of our own life experiences and our own feelings through our music, not just for our kids, but for anyone who wants to listen.” Amanda said.

Amanda states that they put little pieces of themselves in their music, besides just the lyrics and instrumentals. Kristen’s voice is whistling in their first single, “Waiting to Thunder,” and for an upcoming release, they recorded their heartbeats into the beat of the song. 

“There’s been a lot of progress made since we separated ourselves, “ Kristen said. 

One struggle they have faced so far is connections in the area being what can make or break your music career. After splitting from the former bandmate they both realized they were suffering from borderline alcoholism. Amanda became completely sober, and Kristen cut back from alcohol consumption. They struggle finding venues to play in the area that are not bars or are not associated with alcohol. They have nothing against alcohol, but that is not what they’re in it for. Kristen recalls that one local establishment offered them a bar tab instead of compensation for a live performance.

“Networking without nepotism is a big deal to me,” Amanda said. 

They often feel that in order to make the connections needed to become established in the area, you’re expected to go out and drink. Especially as women in a still male-dominated scene, they have found this challenging. 

Since they started, they have not stopped crafting new music. The time they spent together in quarantine in 2020 and 2021 they began experimenting more with their sounds. Although they started out with acoustic, singer-songwriter styled music, they say they have songs in every genre from country to rock to EDM. They work by pulling fragments of lyrics and riffs that they have come up with and stringing together sounds and instrumentation to make their songs sound the way they dream of hearing them. 

“They don’t tell you that 90% of the time you’re just sitting at a computer pushing buttons,” Kristen said. 

They are firm practitioners of DIY-ing themselves into the music industry. Many of the services artists pay others to do, they choose to take the time to do themselves to save money. They are producing their music on their terms only, however they are having a trusted friend help mix and master their recordings for their upcoming album. 

Thrice Sovereign leans on another friend to function. They met Josh Brown at High Ridge Distillery, the business that previously occupied what is now For The Record. Brown has become their business partner and helps them with aspects of art, graphic design and marketing. He has helped them design their websites, posters and merchandise. 

“We do it ourselves as much as we have to, which is quite a bit, but it has taught us quite a bit of things that we really enjoy,” Amanda said. 

Last year the Borden-Talcotts made friends with a couple who had just lost their son. At the time they could not afford to put a headstone at his grave. They were insistent to find a way to help, so they turned to the way they know how: music. From this stroke of empathy and compassion, the Mighty Yekim music festival was born and held in Wilson Park. “Mighty Yekim” comes from a misprint of the poster, which originally read “Mighty Mikey,” the child’s nickname. 

Although hosting a music festival may seem like a daunting task, they received help from donors for pizza and water. They got married at Wilson Park. Local businesses gave away items and gift cards to be auctioned off, all while local artists played music to set the scene. The only cost they faced was the $25 fee to rent Wilson Park. However, the price to rent the park has since increased since their event. 

As they grow and learn in their music, their goal is to help as many people who know less than them as possible and invite other up and coming artists to share in their journey. They want to find the most cost-effective ways to help themselves and others make music. “We want there to be people for people like us,” Kristen said. 

“Waiting to Thunder” is their first single, which was released in October 2021. It is the title track of their full-length debut record, which will be released in 2023 at a time that is to be announced.

“Independence, balance. Everyone can be sovereign and equal and balanced and their own lives — that’s what sovereign means to us,” Amanda said.