In the little more than a year since she made the full-time move to Nashville, contemporary Country singer Kayla Adams has gained the attention and respect she deserves of both Country fans and the music community. Performing with the energy and attitude of a Miranda Lambert, while bringing to mind such groundbreaking female stars as LeAnn Rimes, Kayla is making a name for herself as a serious contender in Music City. And in addition to singing with the best of them, she’s a triple-threat as a musician and a songwriter as well.
Working on her first full-length album, the Montana farm girl knew early on that she wanted to devote her life to singing full-time, and a door opened for her to do just that right after high school. “I auditioned for a group called Captive Free that did youth outreach, and ended up singing on the road with them for a year,” Kayla says. “I was the youngest, but we were all basically kids. I’ve always been a little bit of an old soul, always been adventurous and up for anything, so I loved it. After that experience, I knew for sure that nothing but music would ever make me happy.”
Kayla then enrolled in the music program at prestigious Belmont University in Nashville, but after a semester decided that the curriculum wasn’t right for her career goals. So her next stop was the famed Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, where she studied voice and guitar. After that, though, Kayla found herself at a career crossroads. “I had to decide what to do next, and I knew I could work at home in Montana, so I went back there to gain some more experience,” she says. She continued to develop her performance skills back home while opening for acts as diverse as Kellie Pickler, Rodney Atkins, LL Cool J, Karmin, Heidi Newfield, Smashmouth and others. She even sang the National Anthem for the Montana State Senate. Sometimes she worked with her full band and sometimes she did it the old-fashioned way – no backup, just with her Taylor acoustic guitar.
After performing and decompressing back home in Big Sky Country, where she grew up fishing, hunting and snowboarding, Kayla did something that few musicians – especially young, blonde-haired, blue-eyed women – would ever even consider. The adventurer in her took over, and she packed up her Ford F-350 pickup and hit the road to play solo, sometimes traveling for months at a time. Often sleeping in the camper on the back of her truck, with her faithful Yorkshire terrier Tory acting as watchdog (“He might lick somebody to death,” she giggles), Kayla sang wherever she could find an acoustic gig and a receptive audience. “I drove from Kalispell to Florida and back on one tour. I just figured out where I wanted to be and lined up a gig there. I sang a mixture of originals and covers, mostly Country, and some acoustic Pop like Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles.”
Her debut single, “Sober & Sorry,” to nobody’s surprise, reached #20 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. The chart ranking now qualifies her to walk Red Carpets at future Country awards shows. The video for the song was featured on Virgin Airlines domestic and international flights for a month, and her wardrobe was provided by The Buckle and Corral Boots.
At last year’s Country Radio Seminar Kayla performed her latest single, “Burn a Little Colder,” a song about slowing down the pace of a developing relationship. She also sang the song during her six-month national radio tour last year, performing live on-air while increasing her fan base throughout the county. As with “Sober & Sorry,” she co-wrote “Burn a Little Colder,” and she credits two chart-topping women as inspirations behind her songwriting. “My two biggest influences as a writer are probably Kristyn Osborne from SHeDAISY, who’s a great storyteller, and Sherrie Austin, whose songs have meant a lot to me,” she says.
The ambitious 25-year-old has no time to sit still, with as packed a schedule as any major act. In addition to writing and recording for her upcoming album, Kayla will be playing numerous dates across the country later this year. Add to that a sponsorship with Aston Martin, the legendary British maker of luxury sports cars, and you’ve got one busy young woman making noise and making news on Music Row.
Kayla also knows, though, that to do it right, she will need to assume certain responsibilities that come with success, and she’s ready to do that. “I just want to make music, and when it comes to what I’m known for as an artist and a person, it’s not to push my personal religious or political beliefs on anyone,” she says. “I want to be a role model for the young girl who has a dream to do something she thinks is impossible, to let her know she can do it. That’s more important to me than trying to push any kind of agenda. My own dream has always been to just do nothing but play music, and I’m living that dream. If I can inspire someone else to achieve their dreams as well, that’s icing on the cake for me.”
Follow Kayla Adamskaylaadamsmusic.com