To hear Kim Kline talk on the phone is a distant cry from what you would expect from her music. Raised in an "itty bitty" Texas town, the 27-year-old pop/rock artist speaks in a bubbly drawl, an upbea

To hear Kim Kline talk on the phone is a distant cry from what you would expect from her music. Raised in an "itty bitty" Texas town, the 27-year-old pop/rock artist speaks in a bubbly drawl, an upbeat opposite of her often shadowy and rough-edged song persona.

"I can be the nicest person in the world, but I just write really dark," she happily says. Much material from her self-titled 2007 debut was culled from a difficult era in her life, in 2004-2005, when her mother suffered a brain aneurysm and a heart attack, and her grandmother and grandfather passed away. The album has sold 8,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

It was also during this time Kline was settling into her new life in Los Angeles, where she now runs the "Kim Kline music brand." The term is apt, considering her sponsorships from Sinful Affliction Clothing, Hudson Jeans and a forthcoming jewelry line via Mr. Luxury, all alliances she helped cement while working in the fashion industry as a sales rep in California. She's also the face of USB wristband promotion company Aderra (Billboard, Feb. 23); the company is using her image and music as part of their presentation to new clients and fans.

Some radio stations, particularly those in tertiary markets (think: KSPI Stillwater, Okla.; WCMT Troy, Tenn.; and WFDL Fond du Lac, Wis.) have taken kindly to Kline's single "Inside." "To look at me, you'd think I'm just a pure top 40 artist," the photogenic belter says. "But then you hear the guitars. I think we're at a good place in time for women in rock. The marketplace needs to hear a woman's voice."