One of the most buzzed-about moments during the Sony Music Cruise aboard the General Jackson during the 2012 Country Radio Seminar earlier this year was the debut of Kristen Kelly. Since then, the Texas native has continued to generate a lot of attention with the release of her debut single, “Ex-Old Man.”
The singer tells Billboard that her year has been hectic, but she has enjoyed each moment. “I think that the one thing everybody has told me is to take the time to experience it and take it all in,” she relates. “I feel like I have done that. It’s been busy, but I don’t feel like it’s been so busy that my head is just spinning.”
Kelly admits to being amazed at the amount of people that she has met that have a story that mirrors the feisty lyrics to her song. “I love getting to sit and talk [with fans] about how they’ve had a similar situation happen to them or somebody that they know. I hate that anyone else has gone through something where they have an ex old man and ex best girlfriend. That may be the most rewarding part of it. I think the message is about strength — ‘this happened. I’m moving on. Whatever,” she says with a laugh.
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Kelly’s single — as well as her forthcoming debut disc was produced by Tony Brown (George Strait, Reba McEntire) and Paul Overstreet (singer and father of “Glee” star Chord). She says the recording experience with the two was nothing short of incredible. “Tony would get in there, and go to work, and tell all these stories. Paul has stories of his own from being an artist, as well. It’s not every day that you get to work with cats as talented as they are who have the knowledge that they have. I really just try to sit back and listen.”
How would Kelly describe the music they came up with in the studio? “I think my music would be best described as having more grease than polish,” she states. “I grew up in love with country music. My father introduced me to classic rock, and somewhere along the way I fell in love with the blues. I feel that all of that comes out in my music. A lot of what I write and record is angst driven. I believe that it’s ok to say it hurts when it hurts, or that life is good when it is good. I’m just really excited to share it with everyone.”
Recently, she got to showcase her music at one of Nashville’s most hallowed stages — the Grand Ole Opry. Of her debut, she said “To get the invitation to play there and stand in that circle — that is definitely a milestone in my life — not just career-but my life. My family came in. Anytime they call, I will be there with bells on.”
Our advice to Kristen: stay near a phone.