Interview: Southwest Kansas Faith & Family
Kaylee is an 18-year old Garden City native and lives with her parents Eric and Pam, along with her two brothers; Brennan and Benton. They are members of Cornerstone Church in Garden City.
Kaylee doesn’t have to reach far into her bag of tricks to impress and delight. With a keen sense of what moves the heart and inspires all ages, Kaylee easily fits into her developing career as a top recording artist.
Even though she’s only 18, Kaylee is already active in the church. She has served on the youth and main worship teams at her church. She has also served as a youth leader at the church. In addition to her church activities, Kaylee has a religious school background from attending St. Dominic’s Catholic School from the first thru fourth grade. Her musical abilities have also afforded her several opportunities to sing at various other Garden City churches.
Kaylee has just completed her first single, “Diamond” and 4-song E.P. The title track, “Diamond”, neatly packages her life’s purpose into one perfectly wrapped anthem. “Lift your head up high ‘cause you're beautiful,” lyrics co-written by the combo of herself, her mom and top Nashville based songwriter, Jeff Pardo, sum up Kaylee’s number one goal; empowering young women and men to embrace their inner beauty and talents and love themselves despite the world’s efforts to encourage feeling inadequate.
Keller ultimately credits God’s grace and the constant support of her family in helping her reach the point she’s at today. Her perseverance and positivity will no doubt enable her to soar to new heights through her music and reach those who need her message the most.
In discussing the title track, Kaylee says, “Diamonds are the most precious jewels. They are rare, beautiful and highly prized. However, they are nothing compared to our value in God’s eyes. My song, “Diamond” shares that message of how each and every one of us is beautiful and one of a kind made in the image of God.” They all radiate in their own way and I wanted to capture this beautiful message in my song Diamonds. She also points out that “Diamond” derives from the Greek Word (Adamas) – which means invincible and/ or indestructible.
She says, “In the worlds eyes you will never be pretty enough, valued enough, or perfect enough. However, through Gods eyes you are royalty, a princess, better than a rare gem. Our true beauty comes from God alone.
She continues, “The motivation behind my music is to bring hope and joy and share my message of encouragement which I believe lines up Gods Word. 'Diamond' is a bouncy, emotion-bared tale of choice and consequence folded into an ultimately upbeat context of the enduring spirit - and its redemption through friendship. I think everyone at times in life can feel isolated, hurt, and alone. But DO NOT EVER stop believing in yourself. Keep moving forward because you are a Diamond.”
In giving her music a name, she says, “My concentration is on Positive Pop but on this particular EP, each song has its own type of vibe and can fit into Pop, Christian, and Country Pop genres. I’ve been told I’m setting the standard for “the new cross mixed music”. I have also noticed that artists are not limiting themselves to just one genre.”
While music has been an important part of Kaylee’s life from day-one, she said that she felt God was calling her to the Pop music industry, not Christian music. As a Christian artist, she felt that she would be limiting her audience. She didn’t want this because she wants her message to reach young people who might need to hear “the good news,” but would shy away from a Christian artist.
Kaylee is also excited to watch her ideas turn into a song. “Starting with a pen and paper then into a video, then to an EP and now available to buy on kayleekeller.com and iTunes, Spotify, Google Plus and Reverbnation. It is such an indescribable but exciting experience.”
Kaylee doesn’t remember “never singing.” She says, “My mother told me as she sang to me as an infant I was already humming along. I remember begging my parents for a variety of instruments that I was determined to play. However the only one that stuck with me was the guitar.”
Kaylee’s idol is Shirley Temple and she created a new term, “Snappy Dance” at age 6 after watching Shirley Temple’s movies. I wanted to act, sing, and tap dance just like her. No matter what situation Shirley was in whether happy or sad, she always brought hope to the screen. That’s what I would like to do with my music.
She remembers “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” is what inspired her to be a musician. She adds, “Anything I had to give a name was always Shirley Temple, including my floppy eared male bunny.”
With the unending encouragement of her parents and siblings, Keller danced & sang through her younger years performing wherever and whenever she could. Keller never swayed from the possibility of being in the spotlight forever. After branching out through a Christian based talent showcase called AMTC and pursuing her dream of acting and recording, it wasn’t long before she was recognized by a top talent scout in New York City. Kaylee was set up with Capital Records and they connected her with one of the best artist development companies in the business. Through this relationship Kaylee was able to collaborate with a “who’s who” list of music industry professionals who have guided Kaylee’s efforts into the EP, Diamond.
Entering the music industry can be quite intimidating for an 18 year old Garden City Kansas girl, but Kaylee says, “Rumor has it that the entertainment industry is full of boogie men and scams and top record labels not supporting their artists, but I have been blessed to have found the opposite. Capital Records opened the door for me and I have a great team around me that have become close like family. From radio personal, celebrities, top industry executives, fans/friends, guitar and vocal coaches.
She continues, “Traveling is a huge part in becoming and being a successful artist. From live shows, recording studios, filming videos, and interviews, I have got to go to Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Florida, Atlanta and many places in between. I didn’t expect my career to take off this fast but it has been so exciting and rewarding and I feel very blessed to be called “one of the up and coming artists of 2016”.
In a current culture, Kaylee shines a beautiful light through the window of self confidence and self love, a message desperately needed by a growing generation.