Kelly McGrath is a great example of finding someone fantastic as a result of a music festival. Before British Summer Time – Hyde Park, I was shamefully unfamiliar with Kelly but am delighted to now have her music in my life.
Kelly’s new album/EP Kites is everything to love about country pop, about great, honest lyrics and about a tune that will stay with you.
Kelly was billed as part of the line up alongside Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Santana and fellow Country artists Eric Paslay, Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real, Ryan Kinder, The Wandering Hearts and more.
We caught up with Kelly just before her set to talk about her big European tour, her music and more.
I hope you enjoy!
Listen to Kelly McGrath – Kites here
Purchase Kelly McGrath – Kites here
Hi Kelly how are you? Welcome to BST how excited are you?
It feels, mental, it feels absolutely mental to be here, it is such an honour.
Will you be staying to watch anyone?
I saw the Cure, they were incredible but will try to see everybody here. I have a lot of friends here, Eric Paslay, Lukas Nelson.
You have been doing a lot of shows over a few countries haven’t you this month?
England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and that’s it. It’s been incredible. It’s my third tour in Europe but my longest one. I started the tour May 30th and at this point the last date is July 23rd in Edinburgh. We are still booking though.
You seem to play Edinburgh a lot?
I played there last October on my last European tour and the people were amazing, the fans were great. The music venue that I played at loved having me there and said they would love to have me back. They had me two nights in a row when I was there a couple of weeks ago and they said they would love to have me back in July before we go back to the U.S. They were amazing, they actually said that they felt privileged every time we play.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what made you decide for a career in country music?
I just released my fourth album, well it’s an EP in May and I released my first album in 2007 so I guess I have been making records for 11/12 years and I have been playing professionally for about 15 years. I am born and raised in Tennessee so Country is in my roots but I lived in Los Angeles for about six years. I moved there as I was developing as a songwriter and I didn’t want to be boxed in as just “country” when country was very different 10 years ago to what it is now. I wanted the freedom to be able to write a county song if that is what comes out and write something rock and roll if that comes out – I wanted to be able to have the freedom to develop as an artist and songwriter into who I was and I am so glad that I went to L.A and did that. It has influenced me and helped me come into my own. My last album Heartstrings is very country and then Kites I would say is country – pop.
Your current ep is titled Kites which we love – tell us a little bit about that and the writing and creative process
I had two producers for Kites, one was an L.A pop guy Ethan Roberts who has worked with Katy Perry and Selena Gomez and then his best friend Brad Hill who is in Nashville he worked with Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne and they co produced the album. It was the best album I have ever made and was the best experience I have ever had. I think as an artist, as you develop it never ends and as a songwriter there is signature things about your sound or your songs that regardless of how the production may change, or songwriters may meander into other genres, there’s still signature things about your voice or your content, your delivery and there’s certain things that are unique to you as an artist. I feel that makes you original and the most important thing to me is to be authentic, real and believable and I feel that comes across in this EP.
Lets talk about some of the songs, was there a particular theme? You write all your songs?
I write all my songs yes. There wasn’t intentionally a theme. I played about sixty songs for producers and they picked the six strongest that also felt like a family. I guess the common theme is love, loss and relationships and finding that silver lining. Honest songs that come from heartbreak that don’t have to be super sad or a ballad. All That I Want is the most pop single on the EP and I did a music video for that that was on CMT. I drew inspiration from The Police, people don’t realise that if you listen to the lyrics of their songs, a lot of them are really really sad like Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – that is like the funnest song and it feels like this guy is in love with this girl and it’s this happy song but it’s not, it’s really sad but you may not know it because it’s a happy pop melody. I love that so I drew inspiration for the Idea for All That I Want.
What song gets the best reaction?
For What It’s Worth
Thank you so much for chatting today and we look forward to your set and hope to see a return in the UK soon, maybe C2C?
I am hoping to play C2C so you never know.