There’s a saying by author Malcom Gladwell that it takes an average of 10 years or 10,000 hours of practicing a craft to be considered a professional. At just 17-years young, southern singer/songwriter Kylie Odetta is already half way there. She has written over 200 songs and continues to build her catalog.
She’s not only committed to understanding the dynamics of great song writing but she has taken the time to understand the business side as well. Not many artists do that at any age, let alone when their still in high school. Kylie has surrounded her self with a team of talented people, recorded her last album with producer Matt LaPlant, signed with a licensing company to get her music into tv and film and will be performing for record labels at the Driven Music Conference in Atlanta, GA. Ariana Escalante spoke with the emerging artist to share her back story and the direction she is taking her music.
AE: You have an adorable accent, what’s your background and how did you get into the music business?
KO: I’m from South Carolina. I began taking piano lessons when I was 6, wrote my first song when I was 8. Writing music came naturally to me because my parents would sing and play guitar while I was growing up. When I wrote my first song, I was playing outside on the driveway and I couldn’t get this tune out of my head, so I went inside and figured it out on the piano. One of the first songs I wrote was about a dead cat and chocolate so…I hope my music has come a long way since those days (she laughs). When I performed at my 6th grade talent show I realized how much I absolutely loved performing live. From there I began to play at small coffee shops until a family friend offered their in-home studio to help me start recording. I loved the process right away. Since then I’ve worked with many talented people, but Matt Laplant recorded my latest album. Most recently, I signed with a music licensing company so hopefully my songs will be in upcoming tv and film projects.
AE: What do you love about performing live?
KO: I’ve played for an audience of 1 person and up to 20,000 people and I’ve loved all of it. I just love connecting with people.
AE: What is your greatest accomplishment thus far?
KO: Most people would think opening for Colbie Callait would be my greatest accomplishment, and that was an incredible opportunity. But for me personally, I feel most accomplished when I hear feedback from a listener who has been touched by my music and felt connected through it.
AE: What is the main message with your music?
KO: Vulnerability is more powerful than putting up walls. We are all connected and can relate through emotions.
AE: How do you like to connect with your fans online?
KO: Any social media site out there, I’m on it. I mainly interact with my fans on twitter. I think it’s really important to reply to every comment or message I receive.
AE: Tell me about your new album and other projects you’re working on.
KO: This album is the first album that I feel really expresses my own unique style. I also just signed with a college booking agent so I will be performing at a lot of colleges on this side of the country. I’m always writing new songs, and I can’t wait to get back into the studio. I just released a new acoustic song for FREE on Sound Cloud called “Let Me Love You.”
AE: What’s your main goal as a musician?
KO: I would love to…and I’m going to…make a living as a musician. I want to create a sustainable life doing what I love. I really love intimate shows, so if I could get to point where I’m selling out 500 seat venues and the fans can sing along and connect to my music, then I’ll feel I’ve made it.
AE: What’s been your biggest struggle so far?
KO: As an independent artist you really have to keep up with all the changes. Now with the internet and so many resources, musicians have to be business savvy and take charge of their own career. I will say one thing-If you’re in the music industry for money, you’re in the wrong industry.
AE: Have you done any crowd funding?
KO: I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people who have similar goals as I do and we end up collaborating. I like to call it “teaming up.” I’ve learned that when you know talented, hard working people, you don’t necessarily have to pay a ton of money to create content. Everything is DIY these days for indie artists.
AE: What advice do you have for other artists?
KO: Don’t ever pay to play somewhere. Find and create opportunities. Before you pursue this industry, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Practice, hone your craft. Get better and better at what you do.
AE: What’s coming up next for you?
KO: My new music video “Promised Myself.” We shot it in this old mill which is really cool. Coming soon, end of 2014. And of course performing at Driven Music Conference this month. Can’t wait.