“I just always had this really deep interest in lyrics and that’s probably why I started writing my own songs”
Kalie Shorr grew up in Portland, Maine, where she was heavily influenced by a blend of rock and country music. From Foo Fighters and Nirvana to Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain, Shorr knew from a very young age, music was what she was destined to pursue. “I just love songs. My dad always tells this story of when I was probably five years old, we were driving and listening to “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam. It’s a really heartbreaking song about a couple who were in high school and they get in a car accident and the girl passes away and he gets her last kiss and it’s really sad,” she told us in a recent phone interview. “A five-year-old shouldn’t really be able to wrap their head around that but we’re just listening and driving down the road and he’s not paying attention, then he looks over and I’m just sobbing my eyes out. From then on, I loved country music and I just loved songs that made me cry and he was like ‘this is so bizarre because you’re like a child,’ but it was what I was supposed to do.”
Shorr wrote her first song when she was just six-years-old and started to play the guitar when she was eleven-years-old. When she was nine she attended her very first concert at Madison Square Garden, with Dixie Chicks as headliners and Michelle Branch as the opening act. Seeing those women live, solidified her passion for song and lyric. Shorr’s parents were always supportive of her musical career but were adamant she waited until she was an adult to pursue it as a full-time career.
In middle school, Shorr started her very own Nirvana cover band with a group of friends. She discovered a new love for country music once the band broke up, and knew she wanted to focus specifically on that genre. When she was fourteen-years-old, she told her parents she wanted to move to Nashville once she was finished with school. Shorr worked hard and graduated high school early, while also working at a local pizza shop to save up for the big move. Once she got to Nashville, she began working at a hot dog stand on Broadway and “hustled” until she met her current manager, Todd Cassetty. The two became close and started Song Suffragettes together. They decided to pick a lineup of female country artists and Shorr was very hands-on with this aspect, building the show from the ground up. Song Suffragettes was where the singer-songwriter met her first friends and collaborators in town.
Shorr’s current single, or should we say, singles, were recently released in a unique way. “Awake” is the name of the song, Shorr originally wrote a country version, but the moment it was written, she knew she could hear it becoming something more. She continuously asked her manager for ideas, until he was out to dinner, brainstorming ideas with the head of Radio Disney and it turned into something never done before. Shorr would simultaneously release the country version of “Awake” and the pop version of “Awake” on the same day. You could hear “Awake (Country Mix)” on Radio Disney Country and flip the station to Radio Disney, and hear “Awake (Pop Mix).” Shorr added Jonny Brenns on the pop mix, he sings the second verse of the song, rewriting the lyric from a guy’s perspective, which she thinks is super valuable. Hearing both versions, she wants listeners to know, “It’s not just, ‘stop calling me when you’re drunk, I wanna be there for you so much but you’re not there for me.”
Shorr is currently working on her debut full-length studio album, slated for release later this year. She has written every track on the album, with the exception for one cover which she is extremely excited about. She tells us the record will be completely different from anything she’s ever done but unapologetically herself, honest, vulnerable and full of estrogen. Briefly touching on female sexism in the music industry, Shorr hopes things will continue to change, “I know it’s my job to keep talking about it and not letting people get away with it.”
Check out our Swag Session with the songstress from last year, below.
Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!
Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!