Erin Kinsey’s “Just Drive”

“Anyone can relate to the song if they think about a time in their life where they wanted to get away from it all…get in the car with their significant other and… just drive.” — Erin Kinsey

Photo Credit: Sara Kauss

Long before Erin Kinsey officially launched her country music career, she was already a full decade into it. Which is why, at just 21, she is the epitome of a 10-year overnight success who has firmly established herself as a Nashville singer-songwriter with a long, bright future ahead of her.

While other women her age may be just starting to think about what’s next, Kinsey’s known for a good ten years exactly where she was headed. Because she had parents who told her to find what she loved, back when she was an 11-year-old in Rockwall, Texas. “That way, I could start sprinting toward it as soon as possible,” the country newcomer says.

From Rockwall, Texas, a small town east of Dallas. Where would you take a visitor to your hometown?

The first place I would take someone in Rockwall is a local Mexican food restaurant called Chiloso for breakfast tacos. It’s similar to Chipotle, but local ingredients and their jalapeño ranch is to die for. I also would take them to see the lake!

Playing guitar at age 11. Now a multi-instrumentalist (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, bass and drums). What would you suggest for students also looking to learn multiple instruments in high school and/or college?

I would suggest just picking something you’re passionate about! I think it’s easy to learn something just because you think you should but choosing an instrument (or instruments) that you have fire to learn yourself makes the frustrating, or touch parts of learning something new, a lot easier!

Moved to Nashville 3 years ago to sing, play, and write country music. Signed to RECORDS Nashville, the Music City division of RECORDS, the joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment and music exec Barry Weiss. Grand Ole Opry debut in 2020.

Joining Rita Wilson and Victoria Shaw on stage to perform “Pink,” the song you co-wrote with Victoria and Jodi Marr.

The song was recorded by Dolly Parton, Monica, Jordin Sparks, Rita and Sara Evans. The collaboration was released to benefit Susan G. Komen, the breast cancer foundation.

You also opened for Dolly at the Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye event. What was it like when you all got together on the day you wrote the song?

Myself, Victoria Shaw and Jodi Marr had a writing session a couple years ago. I walked into the write after finding out my manager was in a battle with Breast Cancer. After telling my co-writers the news, Victoria brought up a concept for a song that she had been saving for over a year for the right room. That idea and write ended up being “Pink.” I don’t think we ever could have imagined the song would change and truly save the lives it has, and definitely never expected the voice of the queen of country music to be on it. I feel very lucky to play a part in a song that is as important as “Pink” is.

Featured on Jim Brickman’s “Never Alone.” How did you come to record the song with Jim?

We actually recorded the song at the very beginning of the pandemic for a project that ended up not panning out, but we decide to release the recording anyways! “Never Alone” is one of those songs where even though it was written years before the pandemic, the sentiment applied and was more important than ever.

Hearing your song on SXM The Highway On the Horizon. Can you describe the first time you heard yourself on the radio?

Hearing my song and my story for the first time on the radio is a moment I’ll never forget. SXM The Highway has always been my dad and I’s ‘go to’ station back home, so it was a very surreal thing to know my song was being played on the station that developed my love for country music. The On the Horizon show played every weekend between 10am and 11am, and while it was on the show, my dad in Texas and myself in Nashville would sit for that hour and just wait for it to come on. That will always be a very special memory for sure.

First single, “Drunk Too. ” …“So I’ll say I was drunk, too And I didn’t mean what I told you I’ll say I was blacked out So then you can scratch out the things that we said That you never meant.” Written with Ava Suppelsa and Danielle Blakey. What inspired the co-write?

This song was truly inspired by embarrassment. I think we’ve all said things we wished we hadn’t, even if there wasn’t any alcohol involved, and most times pretending like you didn’t mean whatever was said is easier than having to admit it was the truth. It’s crazy how difficult it can be to tell the truth even when we’re told from a young age that it’s a good thing to do.

Second single, “Just Drive,” was released in August, co-written with Michael August and Josh Ronen.

Filmed a video in Nashville with director Dustin Haney. What’s on the perfect playlist for the drive, besides Paramore of course?

My perfect playlist includes quite the variety! Taylor Swift, The Band CAMINO, Ed Sheeran, and John Mayer are definitely musts for me though!!

“Better On Me.” What is the backstory to the upcoming song?

I wrote “Better On Me” with the same crew I wrote “Just Drive” with! It was to incorporate the things I loved about “Just Drive” (like the big guitars and drums) with a new story line. To keep it simple, “Better On Me” is about all of the shirts over the years that I’ve had to give back that I really, really wanted to keep haha!

Writer’s rounds. Diving into recording during quarantine. “Recording has been one of those super intimidating things for me, and I decided to tackle it over the last year. I’m far from being great, but being able to record a clean guitar/ vocal using something other than garage band or voice memos was something I couldn’t do a year ago, and now I can :) soooo…” What’s on the music bucket list for 2022?

Two big bucket list items for 2022 for me is putting out music, and hopefully playing out a lot, A LOT, more! I absolutely love playing live, and after being able to finally release music this last year, I’m so excited to go out and meet all of the people that had heard my music online! They’ve truly changed my life, and I can’t wait to hear their stories.

Covering Taylor Swift’s “Fearless.” What songs were you most excited to hear on Taylor’s Version of Red?

I think like the rest of the world, I was VERY excited to hear the 10 Minute Version of “All Too Well.” As a songwriter I know well the feeling of needing to shorten a verse/ chorus/ or song because it’s getting too long, I love the idea of ignoring the song standards and just writing until you feel the story is completed. I was excited to see what the completed version of the story in that song sounds like.

Singing the National Anthem at a Nashville Sounds game. Lauren Alaina and Carly Pearce sang it at the World Series. How special is it to be asked to perform the song?

Being asked to perform the National Anthem is extremely exciting, and also pretty nerve wracking. So many icons of music have sang the same words and melody over the years through the ups and downs of time. It’s such an important song, as a performer I want to make sure I serve it justice.

How’s your German Shepherd Chewy doing? Where do you and Josh like to take him on walks in Nashville?

Chewy is doing AMAZING! He absolutely loves to go on walks, so Josh and I take him to the beautiful trails in Nashville pretty often! He’s great on the leash, so it’s fun for Josh and I as well haha!

What’s ahead in 2022?

Well, in 2022 I’m definitely planning on releasing new music, and also playing live a lot more! My entire life has changed in the best of ways since this time last year, so knowing what a year can do, I’m super excited to see what the next one holds!!

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