Saturday, February 12, 2011


I’ve written about the delight of watching a new author’s career take flight. I recently caught a glimpse of a new vocalist whose career is also launching, and Kylee Johnson's career path is in a sharp upward trajectory. This singer/songwriter has already caught the attention of some big forces in the music industry. She has songs available for download on iTunes, and there’s little doubt we’ll be seeing this lady’s albums in stores shortly.

Our youngest son, Josh, moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college. Last fall I heard him talking about a friend he had met at church—a singer/songwriter about to break out. Kylee was the artist. He dropped an impressive list of names associated with Kylee’s career while rolling off an astonishing list of credits. But it wasn’t until I heard her sing that I knew he was right. Kylee Johnson is the real deal.

Indie Rock Review said this about Kylee Johnson’s voice and first EP or extended play recording:

Having made a splash in the indie-pop scene, Johnson has emerged as a singer/songwriter to be taken seriously. At first listen her voice has a simplicity that is the result of a controlled instrument that truly sets Johnson apart from the rest. While her soft, creamy voice carries a gentle, honest undertone, she manages to swiftly and effortlessly show a vulnerability that is a pleasure listen to as she jumps around her register.

The album as a whole sounds polished, assured and optimistic. Wrapped in a variety of keys and a mixture of strings, the lyrics feel altogether so applicable and widely personal. All four tracks offer a sweet, heartfelt youthfulness with the wisdom of someone that has experienced love and love lost. Her colorful upbeat pop tunes continue to surprise me as we journey from song to song.

Kylee Johnson has proved herself to be a skillful pop artisan. She has the heart and talent to make beautiful, epic art about those situations in love that we have all experienced. Just like that summer love, Johnson has come in full force, skipped the introductions and has left me wanting so much more.

I followed a link to Kylee’s web site, and it was pretty bare. She’s been too busy singing and recording to do much promotion. She loves the music more than the hype. I respect that about this young artist who seems slightly out of place in an industry dominated by media hungry peers.

But she has plenty to crow about. She has contacts in the Nashville scene whose eyes are on her, and she was booked to compose and perform an original number at her friend, Jesse Csincsak’s and Ann Leuder’s wedding. The two competed on seasons four and thirteen of 'The Bachelorette' and 'The Bachelor,' respectively.

Kylee’s strong, confident vocals may be rooted in her love of some of the greats, balladeers like Michael Bolton and Neil Diamond, and crooners like Robert Goulet, but she has a fresh, clean vocal all her own, that’s innocent and vulnerable. Her contemporary styling has a broad appeal that makes the listener feel she is singing their life experience.

You can listen to five of her beautiful tracks on her web site. If she hooks you as she did me, you can download her sweet sounds from iTunes at.

Kylee was taking a break from LA to visit family and I contacted her to see if she had time for an interview. She kindly consented.

When did you first know you wanted to be a musician/singer?

The first concert my dad ever took me to was Michael Bolton. I was 8 years old. From that time on I knew I wanted to sing. I would listen to Michael Bolton and Billy Joel on repeat.

Was there something in your family life that nurtured your interest in music?

My mother and grandpa are both very musical. My grandpa is a beautiful singer and my mom plays the piano and violin. My parents and family have always supported me in my desire to perform. They took me to dance/singing practice every day and I can't think of a performance that they missed.

What instruments do you play?

I play the piano...I'd like to say the guitar but I can only play one song on the guitar.

What training have you had, or are you self-taught?

I am primarily self-taught but I did take piano lessons. I will take vocal lessons if there is particular song I need help with. Now that I'm writing my own stuff all of my songs are in my range...which makes it easier ;)

Do you prefer to compose or sing?

I definitely prefer to sing. I have always been a vocalist but it has been really fun learning how to write music. It has pushed me to better, which is always a good thing. It has taken me out of my comfort zone and helped me develop a different part of myself.

What moments have been the highlight of your career so far?

Two things really stick out to me. The first time my production team in Nashville called me to tell me they wanted to work with me. The second being meeting my musical icon, Michael Bolton. It has been an amazing experience and anything that happens from here on out I will consider a blessing.

What was your first recording experience like?

It is was really nerve racking! I am a private person and I felt very exposed. It was scary but the people I worked with were and are amazing. By the end I felt more comfortable but it is still weird for me to hear the finished product.

What are you currently working on?

I am always writing new music and am currently rehearsing to start doing live shows. Hopefully we'll be doing shows within the next month or so.

Thanks for the interview Kylee. It’s been a delight, and I’m a big fan. I know you credit your family with much of your success. What advice would you give to parents with musically-talented children?

I would tell them to love them and support them in any way possible. Allow them to discover what it is they love and help them develop that talent. I will always be grateful to my amazing parents for making the sacrifices they made so that I could and can pursue my dreams.

Thanks, Kylee, for a great interview.

Take a moment and click over to Kylee’s web site. Listen to a few of her tracks, and then download a few on iTunes. This is a career worth following. Her star is about to launch.

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