Today’s Feature – May 5-6: Kaitlyn Anderson

May 5, 2008 at 10:51 pm (Today's Feature)

If you swung by one of her web pages, looked up some bios or came across a review, you’d have no idea that Kaitlyn Anderson ever had “confidence issues.” However, doubt in her ability to perform, connect with an audience and maintain the enthusiasm necessary postponed the beginning of her entertainment career, now her life’s purpose. Currently the proud bearer of the title, “America’s Pop Rock Sweetheart,” Kaitlyn is more than confident – she’s on her way to sitting on top of the pop music mountain.

Living by the credo, “Honor your gifts and never let go of what you truly want in life,” Anderson now has the tools along with that crucial confidence to make some big things happen. With her band, she has released her debut EP, “A New Word for Over.” Bringing to the table a mix not found often in today’s over-saturated pop music scene, Anderson demonstrates a variety of styles from rock to swing to even a ballad (all coming from a 3-piece crew, in fact).

Writing her own songs for the collection, Anderson knows there is something for everyone – music that is “completely relatable.” Her live performances are demonstrations of such talent, keeping the crowd engaged through blue-eyed charisma, honesty and passion to the point of exhaustion in every melody. The EP is just recently released, so go give a listen – see just how far this once “shy” girl from Texas has come. Get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: Kaitlyn Anderson

PensEyeView.com (PEV): You said, “Don’t be intimidated by your destiny just because the journey seems too challenging. We all have hopes and dreams for a reason. Honor your gifts and never let go of what you truly want in life.”

I wanted to start out with this quote from you because I think it says so much. Tell us, how did you first get involved with music?

Kaitlyn Anderson (KA): I fell in love with music as a baby. My mom and dad always say how I danced and hummed before I even spoke. I started taking lessons as a child and through my teens, but really started dedicating my heart and soul to it a few years ago.

PEV: Having lived in Houston Texas, Simi Valley California, Moorpark California, Paradise Valley Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Tucson Arizona, Huntington Beach California, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California, what kind of music were you listening to growing up? Do you remember the first concert you ever attended?

KA: I grew up listening mostly to oldies and Christian music, like the Beach Boys (loved the harmonies), Amy Grant (inspirational for me), etc. But when my sister hit High School, I wanted to be just like her and began listening to pop and rock music, like Debbie Gibson, New Kids, Guns N’ Roses, etc.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a profession rather than just a hobby?

KA: Absolutely! Many times in my life I knew I had the desire to be a singer, but for one reason or another, I seriously lacked the confidence. A few years ago, I came to the realization that I could do it. I took a chance at a vocal lesson and recorder “Take My Breath Away” for fun. At that point I fell in love with recording and the art of making music. My family and friends noticed a change in my voice, as well. I suppose once I gained the confidence I needed, people could hear it in my voice as well as see it in the way I carried myself! This could hold true for anyone doing just about anything in life. Confidence is crucial.

PEV: What were your first years in the music business like for you? When you were first starting out – before the press, before the accolades? Did you ever think you’d be where you are now, then?

KA: Honestly my first few years were hard, personally. I had to find myself and my voice, and be comfortable with it. After I did that, it became fun – a lot of work, but the most rewarding experience of my life. I worked a lot of crummy jobs to pay bills, and I didn’t mind… everyone has to pay their dues and I knew where my heart was vested. I am grateful I am where I am now, it’s a blessing, but I hope to take this career even further. Now with my great team around me (professional reps, incredible band, and my supportive friends and family), I know I can do it!

PEV: How does it feel to being called ” America ‘s Pop Rock Sweetheart”?

KA: It’s great. I think America needs a new pop-rock “sweetheart.” I mean, I wouldn’t call myself that of course, but I love that people see me that way. Who wouldn’t? It’s a honor to be seen in that light.

PEV: What can fans expect from your debut EP “A New Word for Over”? As well, what kind of reaction did you first have when it was all said and done?

KA: Fans can expect an EP that is different from everything out there right now. Each song on the album has a different sound; we have pop, rock, a swing song, a ballad, etc. It really illustrates what we can pull off. Best of all, the songs are catchy too.

My first reaction when listening was, “no way… is that me??!! Is that my band??!!” it sounded amazing…like a real cd…and then I realized, it was! I had never felt more proud or excited (or appreciative for the opportunity) in my entire life.

PEV: How is “A New Word for Over” different than others out today? Why?

KA: As mentioned earlier, it has a lot of different sounds and flavors. Even though most songs hold a similar theme about relationships (mostly break-ups & feeling empowered), you still feel like you’re getting something new out of every song. Also, I think that every song on the EP is completely relatable, especially to the ladies out there!

PEV: It is rare that we find someone who writes and sings their own music. This is extremely admirable in today’s business. What is your take on the singer/songwriter genre, lacking in today’s music business?

KA: Thank you! It’s an outlet for me; very emotional and fun. I think that singer/songwriters are making a huge comeback, which is an awesome, inspiring thing to see. I think that when you write your own music, people can see it and feel it when the music is played. I always want to play a part in writing the songs that I sing. Hopefully the industry will accept, embrace and celebrate that.

PEV: Is there a certain environment you surround yourselves in when you sit down to write music?

KA: I’d like to sound totally deep and say that I surround myself with candles in a dark room…but that isn’t the case. When I get an idea, I scribble it down on whatever I can find around me, whether I am working, home, on a run, on a phone call, watching tv ; it could be anywhere. It is typically when I am at home, writing in my journal.

After the band was formed, Guillermo (guitar) and sometimes Eric (drums) would get together and arrange music. I would take their arrangement and create a melody and write the lyrics after feeling particularly inspired by the music. I would usually like to be in a quiet, secluded area for that, so I could really tap into how the music made me feel.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

KA: I can’t tell you how amazing my family has been. First and foremost, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done anything without my parents. My brother and sister (and her fam) are wonderful, too. They’re always at shows, encouraging me when I am frustrated, and they tell me that they believe in me and what I am doing. That is a gift.

My friends are great. I can’t believe how cool it is to see them at shows, actually singing along! I’ve reconnected with college friends, high school friends, and my best friends have been to every show and helped spread the word, too. It’s nice to have people believe in what you’re doing.

I know I’ve said the word a lot, but I truly feel blessed. I am completely grateful, and I hope that one day I will be able to re-pay everyone for their support, love, and guidance!

PEV: What is life on the road like for you? Best and worst parts? Was it a hard adjustment?

KA: When I get there I will let you know! Haha. Honestly, it is the thing I look most forward to. It will mean that I get to spread the word about my music, gain more fans, be with my band and write more, travel, etc…I couldn’t be more excited. Really.

PEV: Which city do you think offers the best appreciation for music? Why?

KA: I’m not sure yet. I think every city will offer something cool! So far it’s been l.a. for me and the boys. I am looking forward to seeing new places and how they respond to our music! L.A. is great – seriously, but I almost feel like there are so many artists out here, it’s hard to appreciate everyone, and it is difficult to get a ton of people out to your shows. I am excited to explore other cities, and then come back to L.A. and see how we get embraced! After all, it is my home.

PEV: Is there an “up and coming” artist or band right now that you think we should all be listening to?

KA: Besides me? Haha. I think that people should always explore the indie world. Not everyone gets the opportunity to play music for thousand’s of people and that is a shame. Some of the best artists I’ve seen have been in coffee shops, bars, etc.

But, if you want a few names that I am currently into, check out: Amy Kuney (acoustic, folk, pop), 2nd Day Crush (rock, pop), Kelley James (rock, pop) and Lakes (rock, pop).

PEV: Is there someone you have not had the chance to work with or collaborate with, that you would like to?

KA: Right now, collaborating with anyone would be fun. Any of my influences would be great: Foo Fighters, Paramore, Kelly Clarkson, Avril [Lavine], p!nk, Carrie Underwood, etc. Or any one of their producers! So many amazing artists and creative industry people out there.

PEV: When you are not traveling or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

KA: I love to shop! I have a serious addiction…and I’ve gotten my mom hooked too! I also like to plan and decorate. Love, love, love sports, especially baseball and football. When I want to relax, I stay in with my boyfriend (also the band’s drummer) and watch movies; he has Netflix so we always have something good, or not so good (haha) to watch! I also like to run, or relax with a magazine, good book, my iPod or good company in the sun (beach or poolside).

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the Kaitlyn Anderson?

KA: Hmm…I think you’d be surprised to hear that: My first job was a Britney Spears impersonator (I was in high school). I would dance and sing, and teach the songs to girls at birthday parties, etc.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio what would we most likely find?

KA: You’d probably just find the basics for now: my boys and me jammin’ and having a good time – there are always a lot of laughs… however, you’d definitely find a lot of water bottles, or Starbucks cups. We’re addicted.

I think once we’re more established and have a private studio, I will decorate with rugs and pillows and curtains. I am also an aromatic candle girl, and will have photos of when we started and the people who helped us get there so we can always stay grateful. There will be a fully stocked fridge so that we can stay in there for as long as we want. Probably a plasma tv so that we can take breaks and since I am surrounded by guys, we’ll obviously have to have an X-box and Madden.

PEV: What is a live Kaitlyn Anderson performance like?

KA: So fun! I like to keep the crowd engaged! I ask questions, tell stories, and when it comes time to play, I dedicate all I have to each song. It’s amazing. Performing is a great feeling, and I hope everyone enjoys watching and experiencing, as much as we love doing it!

PEV: So, what is next for you?

KA: Grabbin’ hold of the stars and not ever letting go… I may be a small girl, but I have big dreams. I want to tour, gain fans, gain interest from labels, and sign a deal. After all of that is said and done…I would like to sustain a career in the industry, which seems like it is becoming more and more difficult to do. As long as things keep going the way they are, and we continue to have the feedback and support we have, I don’t see why it can’t happen!

For more information on Kaitlyn Anderson, check out www.myspace.com/kaitlynandersonmusic

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