Kylie Rae Harris getting ready to step up to the LJT stage

Photo courtesy of Kylie Rae Harris's Instagram taken by Hog Callin Foto

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Singer, Songwriter and Texan, Kylie Rae Harris, has just released a new self-titled Extended Play (EP) that deals with relationships, heartache and the love she has for her daughter.

Harris is extremely happy with the reception her new album is getting with listeners.

“The response that I’ve gotten from the new EP has been incredible from the fans critics and my peers. I’ve just gotten really great feedback on the songs and the production and I’m really proud of it,” Harris said.

Harris named her favorite song on the EP as “Run Away,” a song that depicts the universal feeling of needing to escape from the harsh realities of life.

“I just really love the production and how it turned out. There’s just some really cool harmonies. Musically, the guys who played on the record are so good. You don’t ever know what’s going to happen with a song once you get in the studio,” Harris said. “I did not even imagine it turning out the way that it did. It was just a big surprise. It was an unexpected favorite song when it was all finished.”

Of course, making an album is no small feat.

“Honestly, it’s the aftermath. The fun part is recording and making the project. It’s really scary releasing a record because you’ve worked super hard,” Harris said. “You’ve put a lot of money and a lot of heart and energy into this project and then once it’s out there it’s out there. You have a little bit of control as far as some press. Aside from that it really is just up to the fans and everyone for how well it does and if it gets heard. I’ve been sitting on these songs for six years and the scariest thing to think about is you have a project that you’re really proud of and that it’s not going to get heard.”

If Harris could say anything to those who are not familiar with her music.

“I would say to just give it a chance and see if you connect with it. Also, I think from an artist’s perspective when we record project together, I think for me at least it’s a collection of work. Just like an art collection,” Harris said. “The artists spend a lot of time ordering the songs and choosing the songs. I would encourage listeners, not just for my music, but to really listen to a project from top to bottom in order when they’ve got time to really sit with the songs.”

Harris started singing in church when she was 12 and began seriously writing, playing guitar, and performing at 14 when she first started high school.

She reminisced on this pivotal time in her life.

“This local singer/songwriter here in the Dallas area had an open mic night that she invited me to come do. So I took the church band and used them as my backing band and we played my first gig in a bar around that time,” Harris said. “Honestly, after that it just stuck so I started playing in bars when I was in high school. I actually had a residency at Love and War in Texas when I was in high school. So I quit everything else.”

When Harris was young, she looked up to country singer Radney Foster as her inspiration.

“I pretty much learned how to sing harmonies to his songs. I loved his career path, I loved songwriting, I loved his voice. He was probably my greatest influence growing up,” Harris said.

The artist believes that there was really never any other career path for her.

“I think that decision was made for me. It doesn’t even feel like a choice. I played that first gig and the rest was out the window. I just didn’t want to do anything else,” Harris said.

Harris took off time from her career in the early 2000’s to raise her daughter, but being a single mom and a performer comes with its challenges.

“I’m really lucky to have a really supportive family that steps in and picks up my slack when I’m traveling,” Harris said. “It’s not fun being away from my kid and there’s a lot of mom guilt that comes with that and a lot of sacrifice. That’s definitely the hardest part.”

Harris strongly believes that her daughter has only made her a better artist. She feels as though now she has a purpose to do what she does other than just the love of the music.

“She’s definitely got me more grounded and I feel like I’ve got more purpose,” Harris said. “Like before she was around when I was playing I would just do it aimlessly without direction just because I love to play music. I still love to play music but now there’s a reason pushing me to succeed.”

“It’s people. I just really want to connect and I want to be honest in my songs,” Harris said. “I’m a firm believer that if you have a gift that you should use it with purpose. I try to be intentional when I write and I get my inspiration that way.”

Harris does not believe her sound is strictly Texas country but a little more California country.

“You know even though I’m from Texas, I think if I had to put my sound in a box the best way I could describe it would be California Country,” Harris said. “It’s a little bit Country, it’s a little bit Texas Americana singer and songwriter but it’s also got a little bit of that Sheryl Crow pop influence. It’s more of an atmospheric country.”

Throughout her career, Harris has had the opportunity to make lifelong friends with other artists who share a passion for music.

“Last weekend I played a gig with Larry Joe Taylor, William Clark Green, Stoney LaRue, Deryl Dodd, Steve Holmes and the Tejas Brothers. They’re all going to be at Larry Joe Taylor Fest,” Harris said.  “I had this conversation with Will Green, you know we’ve all known each other for 10 plus years. I think my favorite part of this scene is the community. We’re all lifers, we’re all doing this together and we’re all growing up together. It’s honestly invaluable to know that regardless of what happens musically or cool gigs, which I’ve had a lot of cool gigs, the real treasure behind this scene are the relationships and the friendships I’ve made in it.”

Harris is ecstatic to get back on the Larry Joe Stage. When she was young she attended the festival and dreamed of being up on the stage as an artist.

“I’m just excited to be back. I’ve been going to Larry Joe Taylor Fest since 2004. I used to go as an attendee and I just dreamed of being on that stage and then in my 20’s I got asked to play a couple of years,” Harris said. “Then I didn’t play for a couple of years because I was kind of out of the scene when I was raising my daughter. I got to sing with Rodney Faulkner the last couple of years and his band. But to back as an artist again, it really is just an honor. One you get to a certain point in music you get used to getting asked to do these cool things and you take it for granted. But I’ll never forget being a kid standing out there wanting so badly to be a part of it. I’m just really looking forward to being a part of it. I’m really grateful that I get to do these things.”