Spunky and fiery redhead Kristen Kae ignites a spark every time she picks up a guitar. The native Kentuckian expresses her vibrant personality with a powerful country sound that incorporates hints of rock and soul. Influenced by fellow carrot-topped country stars Reba and Jo Dee Messina, Kristen’s songwriting is vivacious and spirited. Marked by bold lyrics, her original songs are distinctively honest. Her new single “She’s Not Me” is no exception. With her next release, she plans to change up the pace and give her fans a taste of something new.
Tell us a little about your musical background; how old were you when you started playing guitar, and what inspired your musical desire?
Ever since I was little, I’ve looked for every excuse to be up on a stage singing. Music has always been my greatest passion. Singing live on stage for me is a place of freedom, comfort, and emotional expression. What really inspired me to dream big about making it in the music business was not just from my love of music, but also wanting to inspire others and make a difference. I looked up to so many talented music idols growing up that made me feel less alone because their music showed me they’d gone through similar things as me. Knowing someone had been through hard times and pushed through to find success helped me through the hardest times in my life, and I wanted to be able to do that for someone else.
I got my first guitar for my seventeenth birthday when I was starting to get more serious with my dreams of being in music. It was an acoustic-electric red Oscar Schmidt guitar. I actually never planned on playing guitar originally, but my music mentors at the time highly recommended it to me. All I can say is, I’m so glad they did because I wouldn’t be a songwriter today if not for that, I don’t think. I also watched Taylor Swift play at the time and got inspired, which is part of why I named my first guitar “Swifty.”
Where do you find the inspiration for your music?
The good, the bad, and the ugly experiences I go through in life are what inspire most of my songs. Music is my place to tell my truth and be completely honest about my most inner thoughts. Some of the best song ideas though have come from a good conversation with a friend. Sometimes the thoughts flow easier when you’re not trying. Often I, or a friend, will say something in such a smart way, and I’ll be like, “Dang, that should be in a song!”
What is your songwriting process?
My songwriting often starts with the lyrics because I was a poet before I became a songwriter. The message and the story are what matter most to me. Sometimes melody and lyrics all come out at once if I’m really feeling it, and those tend to be the best songs, I think.
What’s your go-to guitar for songwriting?
My acoustic-electric Seagull guitar. It has such a beautiful clear sound, and I fell in love with it the first time I played it.
Music to me is . . .
The greatest form of expression. There’s things that can be expressed in a song in a way words never could. It is truly the universal language.
Connect with Kristen Kae on social media @TheKristenKae on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter