Kaylin Kole is a rising singer/songwriter in Nashville, but she is barely scratching the surface of her potential. Since Kole arrived in Nashville, her sound and songwriting have continued to evolve. I have noticed tremendous growth since I have known her, and the music she released in 2023 has leveled up. Fortunately, I ran into her one night at Live Oak. So we sat down to talk about her Nashville experience and music. Please keep reading to learn more about Kaylin Kole.
From Wisconsin to Music City
Kaylin Kole may have been raised in “America’s Dairyland,” but it wasn’t cheese in her blood; music was. Kole said, “I became interested in music when I was young. My uncle was in a band, and my dad was a deejay. So, they were influential on me. Music became such a big part of my life as I grew up. I would sing songs from artists like Michael Jackson, The Blackeye Peas, and Etta James. But I love all types of music. My first time performing on stage was in a small town in Wisconsin called Alma Center. They put on the Strawberry Fest Idol, which was a karaoke contest. For five straight summers, I participated in that contest, which led to an opportunity to do a talent competition in a neighboring city.”
When Kaylin Kole participated in this talent competition, little did she know it would start her journey to Music City. The Wisconsin native said, “One of the judges of this competition lived in Nashville at the time. But at 15 or 16, I didn’t know much about Nashville. So, he introduced us to Nashville and showed us around. While my initial interest in town was to attend Belmont University, I decided not to go. However, as soon as I graduated from high school, I moved to Nashville in November 2019.”
Kaylin Kole Hit the Ground Running in Nashville
Upon arriving in Music City, Kaylin Kole immediately started networking and finding future co-writers. But at eighteen, that would be challenging since she was too young to get into many bars that hosted original music showcases. Kole said, “When I got to town, there were only a couple of bars I could get into. Fortunately, I had worked and saved so much during high school that I didn’t have to work for the first six months in town. I was able to focus solely on music. I would go into the few places I could to network and find people to collaborate with. Then, I began co-writing non-stop. Even during 2020, I wrote with people through Zoom as often as possible.”
Being seen around Nashville is still vital even after you have been here for a while. You have to work to stay relevant in Nashville constantly. In Nashville, the saying is true, out of sight, out of mind. The singer/songwriter said, “Music is a business like any other, and you need connections to grow your business. You could have great songs, but who will hear them if you aren’t actively building your business? Even during 2020, I used social media to reach new fans. It is a challenge to get noticed in Nashville. So, when people recognize me for my work, it’s affirming.”
Growing as a Person and Artist
When Kaylin Kole got to Nashville, she was, in her words, “more soul/pop,” but is now writing country music. However, she still has a soulful voice. Kole said, “Writing in the country mindset has become more natural. When I go into a write, I want to be in a room with better songwriters than me because that helps me improve. So, I have grown as a person during my four years in town and as a writer. Being alone, away from your family, you experience more. You are the one who decided what was best for yourself as a human and an artist. I have also learned to control my voice more over the past few years. For future projects, I want to let my vocals shine.”
I saw Kaylin performing at Belcourt Taps soon after she moved to town, and since seeing her perform recently, her voice control has improved. Kole always had a strong voice, but she can do more with it now. Kaylin’s songwriting has also leveled up. The move from pop to country seems to be paying off for the Wisconsin native. You can judge for yourself since you can listen to Kaylin’s previous pop releases on your favorite streaming platforms.
Kaylin Kole Releases Country EP, “Bourbon Warfare”
2023 has begun a new phase for Kaylin Kole, as she released three singles and, on August 25th, her first country EP. “Bourbon Warfare,” the EP, follows the release of the title track. “Workin’ on Workin’ On It” and “You Ain’t Jack” were two singles released earlier this year from the EP. The EP consists of three more songs. A song titled “11:03” and a reimagined version of “Love Me That Way,” which she released in 2021. The sixth song on “Bourbon Warfare” is Kole’s version of “Whiskey Wings,” also released by her co-writer, Julielle.
Kaylin Kole can’t take credit for the idea behind the title track. The singer/songwriter said, “I wrote “Bourbon Warfare” with Kurt Stevens and Kent Jenkins. Kurt came in with the idea of loving someone with a vice, but without whiskey, they were a great person. It’s a story of fearing for your life when they came home drunk. I had no intention of cutting this song, but it was a gem. With this group of songs, you listen to a story chronologically. This EP is a tremendous collection of songs, and I recommend listening to the EP from top to bottom. Each piece is well-written, and Kole’s vocals shine.
For Those New to Kaylin Kole
The love fans have for her music energizes Kaylin Kole, but she hopes you get to know her through her songs. Kole said, “I want people to walk away after seeing me perform saying that I am unique. While I want people to know my music, I also want people to know me as a person. Music is personal, and it can touch the hearts of many. Everyone has a different journey, but music is so versatile. You can put yourself into a song regardless of whether it’s from a male or female point of view. I will talk about why I wrote the songs when I do my live shows. I take pride in performing, and if people stop to listen to what I’m saying, it gives me the ability to connect with an audience. It’s hard being an artist. You want your career to be a personal journey, but it’s also a business. If someone doesn’t like my music, it’s difficult not to take it personally. But I would be fine if one percent of 8 billion people knew me and my music.”
As I told Kaylin during our interview, the growth in her artistry has not gone unnoticed. Thinking back on the first time I saw Kaylin Kole perform, I walked about thinking she was good. However, Kole is on another level now. The work she has put into improving her songwriting and vocals is evident to those in town. As I said earlier, Kaylin Kole is scratching the surface of her potential.
I look forward to seeing what Kole does next, but in the meantime, I will enjoy listening to “Bourbon Warfare” and seeing her perform when I can. So, join Kaylin on her journey by following her on social media. You can find her everywhere. @kaylinkole