Singer and songwriter, KayBe has had an eventful journey of her musical career since the beginning. She was born and raised on Country music in St. Louis, MO listening to artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston. From being surrounded by music throughout her life, she ultimately decided to move to Los Angeles, California to continue her career as an artist. She previously released a self-written EP entitled, “Wax” three years ago and had a follow up single, “Murderer.” Just years ago she was diagnosed with Pertussis or more known as “The Whooping Cough” which took a major change on her vocal chords. With this effect on her voice for years if not forever, KayBe struggled, but she did not give up the fight.
We spoke with her about being a woman in the music industry, her challenge with Pertussis, and her upcoming album. You can find more information about KayBe on the links below, and you can listen her exclusive Spotify playlist below with Veracious Magazine!
You have a single, Love Songs that released a few weeks ago which is about crushing on a boy. How has the reaction to the song been so far, and do you think this boy knows you wrote this song about him?
Yes! I am beyond ecstatic and thankful for the wonderful feedback I have received! My favorite is when someone will just text me or come up to me and just say a lyric in the song and I’m like “YESSS! I KNOW!!” But everything has been great and I feel so warm and fuzzy. People are commenting on the growth that I’ve made over the past few years and that makes me happy and thankful for my loyal fanbase that has stuck with me and is growing! Do I think the boy has heard this song…? Ummmm… that’s a little nerve-racking… although with all the social media platforms that I’ve been plastering the song on… it wouldn’t surprise me if it somehow got back to him. He would definitely know it’s him from the first line of the song. Either way and thought I’ve long moved on, I’m lucky to be able to look back on my past crushes and think happy thoughts.
You have an upcoming album, Love Songs. What can you tell us about it so far, and how many tracks will be released?
Yes! I’m so excited about all these songs and releases. Love Songs was the first single off the track and I am releasing a new track every two weeks for a total of 12 weeks (6 total songs) and then I’ll release the full length which will include everything I’ve released this year and then some additional tracks… and perhaps a few surprises in between which I AM SO excited about, but can’t say just yet. However… this is all fan-requested! Stay tuned.
What made you decide to title your track and album the same name? Can we expect the rest of this album to be about love or about this specific person?
This album is a collection of songs from a very specific period in my life… and I think that was the learning of love period. Although I’m still learning now, it’s totally different… I am in a happy, head over heels relationship (wait for those songs!), whereas the songs on this album are puppy dog love, crushes and mostly unrequited love. The first tastes of love and feeling for someone else. It’s a very different kind of love and it was a different part of my life and that’s why all the songs belong together. I chose the single “Love Songs” to be the first released off the album because it’s literally a summary of everything else. They are all love songs that I wrote about some boy while he was out living his own life. Actually “Love Songs” the single is the only song on the album about this boy. All the other songs tell a different story so I will let them do that! I did just release a track called “Christina…” I bet you can’t guess who that might be about… 😉
Could you give us a breakdown on how you write your songs? Do you start with the melody or lyrics first?
That’s a super hard question, but a really good one. Typically every idea that I have is an actual thought from my mind and every song on this album is exactly what I was experiencing in these past four years… I didn’t have to take any creative license in these lyrics… everything you hear is true! When I actually sit down to write without a specific melody or lyric first I’ll start playing the piano and experimenting with chords that match my mood or thought that I want to try to express … and either a lyric I like first or a melody I like first will emerge and then the other end will catch up. This is always fun because I know what I want to write, but I don’t know how to say it or sing it, so when I sit down at the beginning I’m always excited to see what new something I will come up with after a few hours that I didn’t have before. Other times I will be singing in the shower or in the middle of a work shift and a lyric or melody will enter my brain and I’m like… ‘that’s it. That’s the song,’ and then I go home to my piano and work everything to revolve around that.
What makes you different from other female vocalists in this industry?
I am pretty proud of myself on my latest accomplishment… and that was writing, singing and producing all my 2018 work, released and yet to be released. There has to be other awesome females out there that are doing the same thing, but for some reason, there aren’t too many widely known. Male producers dominate the industry (which is great because they have great music too), but I’m happy that I can be alone in my room and put out the same amount of work without being dependent on another and also I love being knowledgeable about all of it when I am in the room with other musicians. I am also a HUGE advocate for authenticity (which I think is a big deal since everything we see and hear is edited nowadays!) If I can’t sing something flawlessly live… then I won’t record it in a song. When I’m writing… I write so I can sing it genuinely and naturally. Of course the beautiful thing about recording is being able to try a few things and see what works and also sort through some of your best recorded takes and moments, however… if it’s not something I can do within a few takes and then repeat it live… I won’t record it… it has to be real.
According to New York Times, “… 899 individuals who have been nominated for the last six Grammy ceremonies, 90.7 percent were men and 9.3 percent were women.” What are your thoughts on sexism in this industry and how do you think as a female singer you can try to make a difference?
I am so proud of women and all that we have done thus far to move up and all the opportunities and advantages we’ve taken to pave the way for those after us and I am thankful for all the women in music that were there before me who I was able to look up to and aspire to be. Of course we all have a long way to go. As far as the Grammy ceremonies… I don’t want to take away any credit towards any of the male musicians and artists who were nominated because they work hard just like I do and men put out great music as well… as far as those who nominate and run the awards shows… I would hope that they listen for the quality and content of the art rather than choose based off of gender… and if that were the case then that’s a real shame. However I think we, ESPECIALLY as musicians, are in a REALLY opportunistic time! WE, man and woman, have the opportunity and the power to create our own music without anyone’s help! We can do it ourselves! We have the platforms to publicize our music… we have the tools to write and record, so do it! I wasn’t doing much with others, so I did it myself… without anyone telling me to manipulate my sound, go a different direction, or anything. I did it myself… no compromises… only growth and pride. Sure I don’t have the same power as some labels with larger budgets, however… I am a musician… and what matters to me is content… music… the material I am putting out and I AM proud of what I’ve done this past year. You want to play a show. Book it yourself. You want to write a song… write it. You want to sell merchandise… create it and do it. You want to make music… do it. It concerns me when people approach me with ulterior motives saying if I want to ‘reach the masses’ or ‘make it big,’ or ‘turn this into a career,’ I need to do things differently with their help. I’m thinking to myself, ‘I am creating and singing and the people who hear my music love it and I won’t ever stop.” No one has inhibited me, I am all woman and I am doing it myself. I hope other women continue to be inspired by the truth in music and find the power and truth insides themselves to remember their purpose and their worth and just do it.
When you moved from St. Louis, MO to Nashville, TN then to Los Angeles, CA, did you feel nervous about moving a few times or were you always excited for a new journey?
Of course I was a little nervous, but I was so excited! Both times… always looking for new things to try and explore and get moving! I love music and when you love something you want to immerse yourself in all different and new things and everything that is that! And so I traveled to see what else I could find and who else I could work with! I’m glad I did… I’ve learned so much in each new city and they have shaped me as a person and therefore shaped what you hear in my music!
Years ago, you were diagnosed with Pertussis which made an impact on your vocal chords. Did you ever feel a moment in your life where you wanted to give up on being a singer or have you always been motived to work harder to find your voice again?
It was awful. It’s like spraining your ankle and having to sit on the sidelines and watch your team do what you know how to do. It’s the worst. It was SO rough. Especially since at first I didn’t realize how much of an impact the cough had on my voice. I was like… I KNOW I can do this… I know I can hit these notes and I know I have more power… where is it!? Why isn’t it happening!? It was so frustrating. I’ve always been a go-getter and that’s another reason it was so frustrating… I am no stranger to putting in hours and practicing more and more and more, so I did… and still the results were minimal over such a long period of time. But that’s when I really got to sit down and get comfortable writing in the studio. And I discovered new pockets in my voice and new sounds and spent years perfecting those! It makes me feel really good when people comment on my head voice and my vocal control and tricks because I had years to work with solely that part of my voice and so it makes me feel like all that time didn’t go to waste! I love singing high and it was an area I didn’t experiment much with before because all I wanted to do was belt… because that’s so fun! But now I have multiple strong colors in my voice and I can mix them in and out confidently and proudly!
What do you want your fans to know about you?
More music is on the way…. it won’t ever stop! I think everything about me is pretty clear… I don’t hide anything and I’m pretty straight-forward… no games. Heart on my sleeve… all my emotions are in my face. haha
I have to be the happiest person ever… doing what I love the way I love it and sharing that with everyone. I say this for my younger siblings and for anyone else that are finding out what they want to do or who they are… Please be true to yourself and OWN who you are and what you have to offer. It feels so good. Do it your way because no one else can. Also, don’t take anything too seriously, but give everything your best effort!