Since posting my recent article on this site introducing this Texan born talent, Kimberly has released her fantastic EP, “Don’t Blame It On Me” , five tracks which leave you in no doubt that she has trad country music coursing through her veins! It’s available to stream/download now wherever you usually access your music.
Kimberly now lives in Nashville and has found a kindred spirit there in another artist we’ve featured several times on the site, Erin Enderlin, here they are performing a recent song they co-wrote “Bathroom Mirror” about the special bond between sisters
Eager to discover more about Kimberly’s EP and her musical journey to date I fired off a few questions to the lady herself and I hope you agree that this is one fun and informative interview!
1. LH As always, Kimberly, I like to ask my interviewees where they are while they’re replying to my questions in order to help paint a picture…..
KK Ha, I’m at my kitchen table. I’m rotating 30 minutes at a time between answering questions and catching up on emails while cleaning up around the house, so I don’t get overwhelmed with either task.
2.LH And I’m diving straight in and asking about your new EP Don’t Blame It On Me. Within the tracks, you really connect with the listener and tap into every emotion possible! How did you go about choosing what songs to include, given they had to be narrowed down to just five?
KK “Don’t Blame It on Me” was the cornerstone song for the project. I could see the music video for it already in my mind when I heard it (influenced by the scene in “Urban Cowboy” when Bud and Sissy met), so kept I that visual in my mind while choosing other songs. I wanted the project to be true to me and my influences, and to also include stories that I would tell myself ( if I hadn’t written the song ) and consist of language I would speak. I told myself I was making a record as if it were the last one I was ever going to make. I asked friends and publishers to send me songs, and looked back through my own catalog just trying to find the best songs. Essentially I chose 4 songs that I wanted to hear on repeat, and then the one I wrote, “ Daddy’s 8-Track”. I thought if I never recorded again, I’d regret not taking the opportunity to record it since that song was very much a part of my story.
LH I’m so glad you included it……..coincidentally it was a song I chose to mention in my previous article about you as I loved it so much!
3. LH Like so much of your music, the first single to be taken from the EP, “Some Things Have A Name,” could be mistaken for a cover of a country classic (I love the instrumentation, particularly the fiddle playing!), yet it is also refreshingly relevant today. I guess cheating songs stand the test of time particularly well! What more can you tell me about this one?
KK The instrumentation and melody in the song were the things that first drew me to the song. Like you, I thought it had a classic sound to it. The lyrics, the language they used, the little bit of sass, all felt like things that I would say in that situation- the way I would deliver it, so that’s what sold me on it. My producer and I already loved the song, but when the keys player had the idea to put a “strings” section on it during recording the song really came alive!
4. LH I love your cover of “First Fool In Line” which you have included on the EP (most famously recorded by Don Williams). Is this a song that has a personal meaning to you or simply one you have always dreamed of recording?
KK I had never heard the song until it was pitched to me, and they pitched me the original demo. I cried when I heard it because it just reminded me of a good old country ballad with a story I could relate to and options for those sweeping choruses with harmony vocals that just grab you. After I told the publisher I liked it, he told me it’d been cut before by Don Williams and I said, “Well that makes sense…”
5. LH Reading your bio on your website, you grew up in a tiny town in Texas I understand, in a family where music was always important. When did you start singing and playing yourself, and when did you realize it was going to be your career?
KK It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I told my mom, “Hey, I think I can sing.” After high school, she convinced me to go to McLennan Community College to complete the commercial music program where I then joined the country band and started playing mandolin. I played my first solo gig on the Texas music circuit after I graduated with my band consisting of guys I met in the program.
6. LH Your sister is a singer/songwriter too, and played a major part in your move to Nashville I gather?
KK Yes- I moved to Nashville to sing harmony for her while she was touring and opening for Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, etc. I wanted to be here, but that’s what finally gave me the opportunity to do it.
7. LH And since moving there how do you think you’ve developed as an artist? It must be so inspiring and a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with some of the city’s other amazing writers, but also possibly a little daunting at times, especially to begin with?
KK I’ve realized what kind of artist I am, the things I want to say and what I stand for – I went back “home” so to speak. It’s hard not to chase trends in this town. It feels good when you settle into your groove, but that’s hard too because if it’s not what’s popular it could feel like you’re working as hard as you can and still just treading water. I love the songwriting community in this town though – I love having an inside look at it. I might not like what’s on the radio all the time, but I know there are some unbelievable songs being written. I would say that’s pushed me to write and record better.
8. LH Texas seems to be providing us with a lot of incredible female country music artists…..just for starters, there’s LeeAnn Womack, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert and Sunny Sweeny. Do you think this is just a coincidence or is there something special about growing up in the Lonestar state that instils creativity?
KK Again, possibly the environment. With each of the ladies you listed I feel like you could say are all strong independent artists (meaning independent thinkers if not “independent”). We all have things to say and aren’t afraid of saying them. We’re all also not afraid to roll up our sleeves and lead the charge to get a job done.
9. LH Your career so far has already seen you playing iconic venues and opening for some major stars…..what is the highlight for you to date and what is top of your bucket list for the future?
KK Singing harmony with my sister and Erin (Enderlin both at the Opry and Ryman are probably at the top of the list, and being able to play at either myself would be a dream come true.
10.LH What’s in store for the rest of 2018 and going into 2019? I’m hoping a trip to visit us here in the UK may be in the pipeline?
KK I would LOVE to visit the UK at some point, that would be amazing! I’m going to continue pushing this EP while considering my options to go in and record a few tunes as a follow-up. I have plans to do a run of Christmas house concerts with Erin, and possibly record one more video to go with one of the songs off this project.
LH Well I’m certain you’d get a very warm welcome over here! Fingers crossed you make the trip soon!
Thank you so much for your time….and your wonderful music!
For more information check out https://www.kimberlykellymusic.com
Interview with Kimberly Kelly conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)