Indie-pop artist & songwriter KAYLEE has released the debut EP ‘Sideways‘, which touches on self-acceptance, love, & presents an inside look on her experiences within quarantine after being diagnosed with COVID.
KAYLEE has kindly taken the time to speak with Fierce & Fabulous Revolution about the incredible journey behind the creation of this stunning EP & the message behind the songs featured on it.
Hey Kaylee, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Can you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself?
Kaylee: I grew up wanting to be an artist. I started off first with compositional art and then shifted into illustration. I became obsessed with creating a story for every piece and began writing back stories to my art. Soon, that shifted into me writing short stories and poems. Eventually, my interest for writing grew because of how naturally it came to me. So, I held on to that dream throughout school. I worked on my high school’s yearbook staff and later obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Media and Entertainment Studies. My aunt and my grandpa are both musicians and inspired me to make music apart of my life. I started playing the guitar when I was 13 and the first song I ever learned to play was “The Only Exception” by Paramore.
When did you first discover your passion for music?
Kaylee: I found my passion for music after I had been to a few guitar lessons. My instructor would teach me out to play specific songs and we would always sing along together. More importantly, he helped me figure out keys and chord progressions for my own music venture. I felt inspired to learn melodies and write my own music, making it a thrilling experience.
Have you always known that music was a career that you wanted to pursue?
Kaylee: I knew that music would be my career from early on. For years, I had woken up with songs stuck in my head, cried my eyes out to music award shows, and taken several aptitude tests only to find out that I had a career in music. Even if it meant music journalism, I had to have part of me in the industry.
How would you describe your musical style to someone unfamiliar with your work?
Kaylee: I’d describe my music as a “good time vibe.” It makes you want you to move your body, even if it’s just for a few seconds. It’s upbeat with a hint of melancholy, like a reminder that not all good things last.
You are about to release your debut EP ‘Sideways’, which sounds amazing by the way. How did the idea to create this EP first come together?
Kaylee: Thank you so much for the kind words! I initially came up with the idea of making an EP years ago. I’d completed a few tracks that I wanted to release but when I met with my engineer/producer, I wanted to have a start fresh. I’d just recovered from coronavirus and I’d realized how worried I was about the future. Like, what was gonna happen next? “Sideways” was a wake up call that not everything is perfect and some things come imperfect. So, after struggling to find a title for the EP. I’d written majority of the songs that I wanted to add, but I couldn’t figure out what to call it. I wrote the song “Sideways” and fell in love with the idea of things being sideways (or unexpected) literally and physically.
What are some of the biggest influences behind the songs featured on the EP?
Kaylee: Chloe x Halle’s “Ungodly Hour” release was uplifting and motivating for a few songs on my EP. I loved their transparency and how infectious their music was. FLETCHER’s “S(ex) Tapes” EP reminded me to be okay with being vulnerable and it made it much easier for me to allow myself to be free of any fear or judgment I had against myself. Hayley Williams’s “Petals For Armor” project inspired me most to be brave and allow myself to explore new adventures with my music.
How did you select the songs for your EP?
Kaylee: I wrote the entire EP within a few weeks, making it one of my quickest projects ever. Initially, I was going to release each song as a single because I felt unsure of my ability to produce and finalize an EP. But, after much self-love, I remembered that I was doing this for me (and only me). So, I took the songs that reminded me of moments where I did things for myself and no one else. Each song on the EP has a meaning behind that makes it easy to listen to as a whole or individually and I hope each person that listens to it can find some connection to it.
Are there any songs that did not make the EP that we could be seeing released at a later date?
Kaylee: I wrote “Sideways”, which was originally the title track for the EP, and fell in love with the lyrics immediately. I adored the message behind it and wanted it to be on my EP badly. However, when I heard the rest of the EP, I felt that it didn’t fit with the overall theme or vibe. So, I took it off but kept the title because I loved the concept of things being sideways.
How have your family & friends reacted to your EP?
Kaylee: It’s funny because I didn’t tell my family or friends about my EP or about my singles. I teased and released them on social media and I got calls and texts that were saying, “This actually doesn’t suck” or “We’re all piled in the car in someone’s parking lot listening to your song on repeat.” It was the best response I could’ve asked for, as someone who was terrified of being vulnerable.
What does this EP personally mean to you?
Kaylee: This EP means the world to me and more. I never thought I’d see the day where my music was actually released and I live for musical expression. I’ve dreamed about releasing music since I could write my own music. It’s cathartic and scary to have a piece of me out in the universe but I know it was meant to happen that way. “Sideways” was very hard to make because I had a lot of self-doubt but I learned that the voice in my head wasn’t right. And, I swallowed my fear and submitted my music.
If listeners could take away one message from your EP, what would you like it to be?
Kaylee: The best message to take away from my EP would be: Live for now, everything that you’re waiting for will happen for you when you make them happen.
Finally, is there a message that you would like to share with the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?
Kaylee: It’s important to remember that YOU matter and what you do matters. Use your voice to speak up for things that are important to you and don’t be afraid of a little pushback. Good things are worth fighting for.
You can check out the full EP on Spotify below.