We are back with our next feature on one of the LA Music Critic Award winners of the first half of 2016. Today’s featured artist is the amazingly talented 18 year old phenom Kaylee Keller, who won for her VIP video remix collaboration with the VinylJackers of her hit song “Diamond.”
Sit back, enjoy the ride and learn things about Ms. Keller.
IVB: How long have you been performing?
KK: All my life, really, from talent shows and competitions to performing for my family and friends. I really love to jam with my family. I learned to play guitar about a year ago. I have also tinkered with the snare drum and keyboards. I once bedazzled my guitar for a couple of years before learning how to play it. At the time I was taking acting lessons and not into pursuing my music.
IVB: Who are your influences?
KK: Definitely Shirley Temple when I was younger, but around middle school I fell in love with the music of Jamie Grace, Shania Twain, ABBA and the Go Gos. I also started to check out other artists like Hanna Montana (Miley Cyrus), Hillary Duff, and High School Musical. Lately, I’ve been grooving on Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Adele and Ellie Golding. Glee made a big impact on me as well because it was so creative and featured top notch acting. But I had to stop watching because the content was too mature for me.
IVB: What made you decide to go the DIY route?
KK: Well, my mom has been with me every step of the way. I felt inspired by God since the age of 6 and never really wanted to do anything else but music. I did musical theater as well as acting in film and TV in New York City. The opportunity opened up when I graduated two years early (at age 16) and since then the connections have all been coming together. I simply love being an Indie artist and although I have been offered things by the labels, I’m not ready for that yet. I want to make sure I have the right team together before I sign with anybody.
IVB: Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?
KK: I do want to be signed to a label and go on tour, but more importantly I want to see what doors God opens for me. I also would love to have what Meaghan (Trainor) has. I’m happy learning songwriting and am open to all opportunities. I want to try them all.
IVB: How did the collaboration with VinylJackers come about?
KK: My song “Diamond” was submitted to Radio Diego in the Netherlands and it kept popping up in the Top 5. The VinylJackers worked alongside of them and reached out to do something with me. They used the original video I made for “Diamond” to create the VIP remix. They are two guys who won the title of Best Producers in the Netherlands in 2015. At the time they were the youngest to win that title. They have also worked with Chris Willis on his song “Blood in my Veins,” as well as working with Star Beats and performing at big dance parties. I believe there will be more collaborations in the future.
IVB: Did you write “Diamonds?”
KK: My mom and Jeff Pardo wrote it with me, as well as three other songs.
IVB: What are your future plans?
KK: I’m going back to Nashville in August to work with Nathan Meckel. We’ll be writing more music at the Cowboy Clinic Studio over the course of a couple of weeks. I love working with Jen (Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions) – she has such a good heart and is one of the few people that I can trust. So many cool things keep coming up because she believes in me.
IVB: Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?
KK: Once, I was performing on stage in a musical. It was a really rough performance. Early in the play, I was supposed to walk off the stage but instead I walked into the side of the house set piece. I was talking to the audience and not paying attention to where I was on the stage. I also broke a plate backstage to create a breaking sound and one of the techs got cut. I also poured an entire plate of spaghetti on another actor.
IVB: What type of social media presence do you have?
Thanks to Jennifer Lyneis for the nomination.