Kylie Trout is a new artist from Southern California who’s introducing her own brand of Cali Country to the world with the release of her current single, Extra, which is taken from a forthcoming EP. Although just 17 years of age, high school senior Kylie has already released eight of her own songs independently (all well worth checking out on all the usual streaming platforms), as well as playing live shows with the likes of Jerrod Neimann, and almost playing a show with the Marshall Tucker Band (more of that later!) She’s also attracted support from Disney Radio Country.
I got the chance to talk to Kylie on the phone recently about the new single, Extra, plans for an album in 2021, as well as her dreams of playing the Grand Ole Opry and the Stagecoach Festival. She began by telling me how her love for country music was born.
“I grew up with my grandparents for the first eight years of my life, and they were the ones who really introduced me to country music, and that’s where my love and passion for it grew, and that ain’t never going to go away. I grew up on that traditional country where it told a story. I love music as a whole, I can listen to any genre of music and find something that I love, but country just always stuck out for me, because of those stories. This is why I love California country especially. It really, really shows that cross-genre, and that love for all different sounds of music, but it still keeps that core value of telling a story.”
Although Kylie realised that she loved to sing at a very early age, as a shy child, her love for performing took a little more time to develop, especially after she experienced a moment of stage fright during a vocal lesson and ran out of the room crying when she was called on to sing. However, it was the music of Taylor Swift that proved to be the turning point in Kylie’s life when she gathered up the courage to brave her nerves and sing Taylor’s song We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together with her sister at a fourth-grade school talent show. Kylie loved the experience so much that she didn’t want to get off the stage, and her chosen path as a performer was set from that moment on.
Aside from Taylor Swift, Kylie says that her other early musical influences include Carrie Underwood, as well as a mixture of classic and current country music artists.
“Well, Carrie Underwood has always been my number one idol. That goes without saying. She’s amazing. Also, I’m loving Morgan Wallen. I love Kelsea Ballerini, I love the old stuff like George Strait, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, those used to be my top favourites. So I’m kind of all over the place.”
Kylie has also previously cited Kellie Pickler as a major influence on her songwriting, and in particular the song I Wonder,” which was about Kellie Pickler being estranged from her mother, something which Kylie very much relates to, having not seen her own abusive mother since she was four years old. Inspired by I Wonder, Kylie penned the extremely personal and heartfelt song Can’t Remember Growing Up about her own similar experiences.
“From a very young age, I really related with,” Kylie states in her biography. “That’s what led me to music and songwriting because it reminded me that I’m not alone and other people are going through the same things and emotions that I go through. I really wanted to share my stories and to be that person that people could hopefully look up to and relate with.”
Kyle’s latest single, Extra, is more of a straightforwardly smart and sassy relationship song about a past boyfriend who “puts the ex in extra!”
“I just love this song,” she told me. “I feel like this song is my style, because I love old, traditional country ways of telling a story, and I love the new sound of this cross-genre country music. It’s mixing country, and pop, and a little bit of soul, R&B, and I think Extra just represents that, and that’s what I love.”
Kylie has already proved herself to be a prolific songwriter at such a young age, so it’s no surprise that she has plans to release a full album as soon as possible.
“Yes, I really, really want to do that next year. That’s like my goal. Because this whole quarantine thing, it’s pushed me to have more time to write. Actually, I picked up guitar as well, so that’s been really, really beneficial to me in writing music. So, yes, I’m definitely working towards that soon, hopefully.”
As far as touring and live performances are concerned, Kylie has already bagged some prestigious support slots including Jerrod Neiman, and a postponed appearance opening for the Marshall Tucker Band. I asked her about some of the artists she’s opened for so far.
“Just different kinds of artists. I’ve sung with Jerrod Nieman, that was an awesome night! He has that older sound, but at the same time he’s very hip with everything. He’s very up to date on his style. I’ve opened for Honey County, and they’re awesome. They’re like me, they’re more that crossover of pop/country. And then I’ve opened for Leigh Nash from Sixpence None the Richer, so that’s obviously a different kind of music as well. But I love that. I love having that broad range, because I’m a very open-minded person, so I think it’s so cool to go see what everything’s about and take all that as influence for my own music.
Marshall Tucker, I’m actually so sad about that, because I was supposed to open for Marshall Tucker Band, but because of COVID and everything, I’m not sure if it got cancelled or postponed, still gotta figure that out, but I didn’t get to do that, and I’m so sad.”
I asked Kylie if she noticed any big differences in the audience response when opening for different types of artist.
“Everybody, I feel like, in the music industry and music lovers, the real music lovers, they’re all just like me. They’re very open-minded and they’ll listen to anything. Like I said earlier, you can find something that you like in everything. Nothing’s good, nothing’s bad, strictly. I think everybody so far has been just nothing but kind. I’ve had great responses, so I’m very fortunate for that.”
As far as future live performances are concerned, Kylie hopes to be able to play at the Grand Ole Opry as well as California’s Stagecoach Festival one day.
“It’s kind of funny, you know, because I’m a singer, everybody thinks that I go to a bunch of concerts and the festivals and stuff, but I’ve actually never been to Stagecoach, I’ve never been to a country music festival! My dad always says, ‘You can go there when you perform there.’ That’s why I always keep that goal in my head.
“I’ve been at the Grand Ole Opry, and every time I go there it’s just the most magical, amazing experience. The very first time that I went, I was out in Tennessee for a singing competition in Pigeon Forge, but we flew into Nashville, so of course, you gotta stop at the Grand Ole Opry. And that was actually my very first time in Nashville as well. I saw Craig Campbell perform Outskirts of Heaven, and I was singing that song in the competition, so that was a really cool experience. And also, Michael Ray was there, and all the girls were running up to the stage, like going to touch his hand, and I was sitting with my grandma, and I was like, “Grandma, come up there with me.” And she was like, “Heck no! I ain’t going up there!” And I was like, “Alright, then get out of my way!” And I ran up there when he was walking off the stage. And then right when I got up there, he turned around and he walked back and he reached out his hand to me, and that was like the coolest thing ever.”
And as for Music City overall?
“It’s just the heart of country music, I feel like. And everybody there is just so welcoming, and so sweet, because we all just share that same passion for country music, and it’s just awesome. I love it. And that’s another reason why I love country music. Like I said, I love other genres as well, but there’s almost like a family feel, where everybody is just, again, so welcoming, so everybody just wants to help each other out. I love it. I love it!”
I couldn’t let Kylie go without asking her if she has plans to tour over in the UK and Europe once everyone gets back out on the road again.
“Yes! Oh, my goodness! I’ve never been. That’s always been top on my bucket list. I always wanted to travel to the UK, Europe in general. I’ll go there, I don’t care what it takes. I will go there one day.”
And finally, did she have a message for the fans over here?
“Yes. I cannot thank anybody who listens to my music enough for the love and support. It really means more to me, and really, every musician, more than people realise, I feel like. So just keep streaming, keep listening, go check out my music, and be on the lookout for my upcoming single, Extra, and more music in the future.”
By Maura Sutton