Kalie Shorr burst onto the Nashville music scene in 2016 with her self-penned hit “Fight Like A Girl”. The Portland, Maine singer-songwriter became a Sirius XM “Highway Find” and was spotlighted by Spotify, Apple Music, CMT, Radio Disney Country, Taste of Country, and Billboard magazine.
You are from Portland, Maine-who’s your favorite artist from your hometown/state?
Patty Griffin is from Maine, and even more specifically, the population 5,000 town my dad lives in. Her album Flaming Red was such a huge inspiration for Open Book because of the way it perfectly blended country and rock. She was so ahead of her time.
How has your family supported your music career? Are your siblings also involved in music?
My family has been really supportive of this album. It’s my story, yes, but it’s also theirs that I’m putting out there in the world. They’re happy that I’m sharing it because they all know the songs they wish they’d had when they were going through the hard times. They’re all music lovers and I always heard it around the house. My older sisters loved Jewel and the Dixie Chicks, my dad loved Pearl Jam and Johnny Cash, and my mom loved Fleetwood Mac and Carole King. I think you can hear all of that in my music.
Favorite song you covered and posted on YouTube as a teen?
I did (and still do) a cover of Wonderwall by Oasis, but I do it a little differently than the original. I also did Wheels by the Foo Fighters, which has more of a country vibe to it than you’d think.
What do you know now that you wished you knew when you released your debut song “Fight Like A Girl”?
I don’t believe in regrets, because I’m very happy with the person and artist I am now. I think I’d just go back and tell her to trust the process, not rush it, and know that everything works out exactly when it’s supposed to. I’m glad I didn’t have overnight success because I wouldn’t have made the same album, and I’m really proud of this one.
How did you first connect with Perez Hilton? What was it like to open for Backstreet Boys at his birthday party?
He reached out to me on YouTube after seeing my (very sarcastic) cover of Friday by Rebecca Black that went viral. The Backstreet Boys are amazing, and the funny part is this was before they got really involved in country music. In a crazy full circle moment, one of the members of IM5, Will Jay, who was also on the bill, ended up in a random writing session in LA with me last year and we wrote what became my first pop cut called “Homesick”.
Song Suffragettes- how has your involvement impacted your career?
It’s made me a better woman and artist and introduced me to some of my best friends. Candi Carpenter and Savannah Keyes were such an instrumental part of the writing on Open Book and I met them through playing Song Suffragettes. I honestly can’t imagine my life without it.
Writing from a deeply personal perspective-are there any topics you want to write about but haven’t yet?
I think my next album is going to be a lot more hopeful. I’ve been going to therapy and spending more time with my family. Doing yoga, painting, reading. I have a few songs I’ve started about my niece Chloe, who my dad is raising now. So she’s like a little sister too. I care about her in a way I haven’t felt before… After my sister’s passing, her and I got a lot closer.
Your words/lyrics are so relatable. They cross generations because they are so heartfelt. Thank you. “Lullaby” you wrote on Instagram, “when you’re tired of feeling bitter and just want to feel better”-so hard to get there but so great when you do.
Thank you so much. I think my relationship ending felt a lot like a divorce because we were together for so long and sometimes people older than you (I’ve absolutely done this to people younger than me) can invalidate your emotions because of your age. I haven’t felt that with these songs. I think people are really grasping the gravity of it and that means a lot to me because it makes me feel understood.
Your new album-which song was the easiest to write? What is the backstory to that song?
None of them were especially easy, but The One (which I wrote with Skip Black and Savannah Keyes) was written 10 hours after the break up. I rolled in to the studio a total mess and I just processed it as we wrote. I think we wrote 2 or 3 songs that day, it was just falling out. It was very serendipitous that I was waiting with them that day.
Which was the hardest to write? Hardest to perform?
Escape was legitimately painful. Candi and I ended up just drinking an entire bottle of wine a piece while we wrote because it was like pulling emotional teeth. She’d just gone home with me for my sister’s funeral and seen everything we were writing about. She stayed over and we must’ve slept 12 hours, no joke. When we listened back in the morning, we were both like “Holy shit. This is the best song we’ve ever written”.
How important was it for you to write or co-write all the songs?
Very important. I didn’t even consider it. I’m a songwriter first, and I write as therapy. I have songs I love to cover but especially on an album this personal, I needed to steer the ship.
All the songs feature real instruments. What instruments do you play? Which ones do you want to learn?
I play guitar and piano. Guitar is my primary instrument, and I played a lot of what you hear on the album. I also play a little bit of mandolin. I’ve been learning bass recently and that’s been a really fun challenge. I’d love to just get better at what I already do.
Performing at the Grand Ole Opry. Can you describe what it was like to step in the circle the first time? What other venues are on your bucket list?
It felt like I was walking into a different dimension. I’d dreamed about it for so long and it just hit me all at once. I cried and couldn’t believe it. I’m so thankful that the team at the Opry has welcomed me with such open arms and given me a place top test out the songs on this record. I’d love to headline the Ryman and eventually, sell out Madison Square Garden- that’s where I saw my first concert, which was the Dixie Chicks and Michelle Branch.
Sharing the stage with LeAnn Rimes-what advice did she share that inspired you?
LeAnn is just such a soulful person. She’s very spiritual, and that comes across in her performance. What really inspires me about her is the sheer amount of time she’s been doing this and the fact that she still seems so excited to go out there every night. She doesn’t take it for granted.
Your new merch launch-your role in designing them?
I worked with two of my really close friends and I’d had a lot of ideas. It was such a fun collaborative project and I love the whole team’s dynamic. I wanted it to be merch that felt like a fashion line- which I’d eventually like to have.
Seattle. Los Angeles. What draws you to these cities?
The music history in Seattle is so rich and so many of my favorite bands and artists originated there- Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Hole, Heart, Brandi Carlile. I just went for the first time and it sort of felt like going home. I’d love to record my second album there at London Bridge Studios. During this rough year, running away to LA was such a great break for me. I have some incredible friends out there and I love the writing scene. I love the ocean and Newport Beach is one of my favorite places. I’d love to have a house out there one day too.
You said “boys and tequila: two things I don’t chase” is your life mantra. How do you find time in your day to get away and take care of yourself?
If I want to do something, I typically have to sacrifice a little sleep and get up early. If I’m feeling anxious or sad, I’ll go do a yoga class or turn off my phone and read a book in a park with no distractions. I also really prioritize mental health and have a great therapist- everyone should have one. I just have a list of self care things that help me and try to make sure I’m doing them a few times a week. I also make a lot of time for prayer and meditation so I can stay grounded spiritually.
What’s coming in 2020?
More visuals for the album- I have so many music video ideas. I have a lot more touring on the horizon and of course… writing for album 2.