She may have just turned 20, but Kaylee Keller is already a seasoned pro in the recording studio and on stages of many stripes. In a whirlwind five years, she already dropped her debut EP Simply Sweet, the follow-up Diamond and the brand new Rubies, amassed heaps of critical praise, rising chart-success and tackled her fair share of touring (including opening slots at the arena level), alongside live performances and interviews with media outlets such as FOX News Channel, FOX Extra, iHeart Radio, CelebSecrets, FOX411, ABC, WMEG TV, and Simply Grace Magazine...
She may have just turned 20, but Kaylee Keller is already a seasoned pro in the recording studio and on stages of many stripes. In a whirlwind five years, she already dropped her debut EP Simply Sweet, the follow-up Diamond and the brand new Rubies, amassed heaps of critical praise, rising chart-success and tackled her fair share of touring (including opening slots at the arena level), alongside live performances and interviews with media outlets such as FOX News Channel, FOX Extra, iHeart Radio, CelebSecrets, FOX411, ABC, WMEG TV, and Simply Grace Magazine.
But no matter how massive the reach thus far as an entirely independent artist, the pop country singer/songwriter with a lifelong affinity for self-expression (and Shirley Temple!) has literally soared into the stratosphere with the instantly connective single “Nowhere America.” In addition to lighting up the internet, the media is latching on at lightning speed, thanks in part to her immense charisma as a superstar artist in the making, but also a storyline that simultaneously celebrates coming from a small hometown with a unifying message that couldn’t be more vital in times of dissension and despair.
“I have been very blessed to be able to travel the world at such a young age. I have lived in NYC and Nashville for different seasons of my life, but I realized how much I actually love and miss my hometown each time I come back home to Garden City, Kansas,” echoes Kaylee. “I think this song connects because it pulls at the heartstrings. When you listen to the lyrics, it sends you back to your own home- that one place that is irreplaceable and has molded us into who we are today. I think in a time when we’re more separated then ever, this song reminds us of America’s foundations, along with our roots, love for one another and growing up with family and friends.”
In fact, it’s just one of many gems that populate the Rubies collection, which also includes the incredibly relatable (not to mention musically infectious) “Taking Out The Trash” to build upon Keller’s tradition of positive and empowering songwriting. “We all can carry baggage or ‘trash’ from past mistakes and choices we have made, so this is a song that encourages and reminds you that today is a new day,” she confirms.“So take out your trash and move forward. Stop letting baggage and toxicity hold you back.”
And Kaylee isn’t just talking the talk with a sense of theory, but speaking from the personal experience of someone who’s been dealt her fair share of setbacks. Not all that long ago, this entertainer with a passion for fashion was relentlessly bullied and sexually harassed by a group of boys at her high school, and while those years cast some dark clouds, she instead used such intolerably negativity to add fuel to her dream-chasing fire. For starters, her grades and exceptional progress allowed her to graduate high school with honors two years early, and as her career in music ascended, she incorporated motivational speaking into the mix, vulnerably sharing her low points and eventual triumphs with students all across the country.
“Without having a strong sense of who I was, what I believed about myself or to be able to share it with my family, I would have caved in physically and emotionally,” she admits of the terribly trying time. “I didn’t really have anyone at my school to stick up for me because sexual harassment is something that doesn’t get addressed, but I want to be that person for others. The thing I find strange is how little it’s addressed in the music world, so I am using my music to do just that. I talk about using talent for purpose. It all starts with making good choices when you’re young and believing in yourself, even if no one else does.”
In addition to her anti-bullying stance loaded with self-esteem affirmations, Kaylee shares many other platforms throughout her performance mediums. “I am a very passionate person and I talk about several important matters, depending on the event, such as ‘show me your friends and I will show you your future,’ ‘it is never too late to stop being that bully,’ ‘it’s never too early to start on your purpose,’ plus the idea of dating with a purpose, the importance of abstinence until marriage and putting an end to pornography addiction. I talk about my relationship with Christ and keeping morally strong in a world of peer pressures and temptations.”
While there’s plenty for faith-based music fans to sink their teeth into throughout Rubies, the project is also stocked with fresh, diverse sounds capable of appealing to practically any walk of life. Having an influence pool that lands somewhere between Shania Twain, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Kacey Musgraves, Andy Grammer, Jamie Grace and Taylor Swift certainly doesn’t hurt, and anyone who listens firsthand could safely wager Keller will soon be mentioned next to any of those household names.
“I wasn’t trying to make this project ‘fit’ to any specific molds or categories,” she explains. “That’s what made this really fun to make.
I didn’t want to pressure myself to make something genre or radio ‘safe.’ I was creating something that was me: things I say, do, have experienced, life lessons that I want to pass on and instrumentals that I enjoy jamming to. I wanted whimsical instruments that you don’t hear every day in each track, so we incorporated banjos, violins, maracas, shakers, steel guitars, keyboards, synths, etc. I wrote lyrics that were appropriate for all ages and that leave the listener with a life lesson, but feeling good and empowered about what they are singing.”
Even though Kaylee’s trajectory is clearly heading towards national (if not global) familiarity and fame, she’s only concerned with the message that’s projected through the highest quality of music she’s capable of making at this point of her blossoming career. That commitment to detail and humble approach within the spotlight’s glare was surely gleaned from her rock solid faith and family foundation, which includes unflinching support from her parents and two older brothers. And as far as her fans are concerned, Keller is committed to always being accessible and encouraging, even willing to come alongside any of their journeys and help in any way she can.
“I hope my listeners feel my music is a safe place for them to go,” she sums up. “I want it to make them smile, give them courage and hope no matter what situations they are going through, but without the worry of explicit language. I hope my fans find me approachable no matter what adventure God has me on. I want them to reach out to me on social media to help them achieve their own dreams and give them advice and guidance when they need it. I’m all about teamwork. I wouldn’t be in this position without my fans and I want to help and serve them back.”