Today we’d like to introduce you to KayBe.
Thanks for sharing your story with us KayBe. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Right now, I’m sitting here in my studio with a cup of tea crying my eyes out, lol, but seriously, full disclosure. I took my external hard drive (a.k.a.: the diary that held every lyric, song, piano melody and everything I’ve created over the last ten years) into a repair shop last week because it decided to stop working. Needless to say, as I’m sure one might deduct, the drive is irreparable and they cannot recover any data. Have you ever seen an inconsolable female crying her eyes out… that’s me. But it’s fine, I just need some time to wallow, and maybe some key lime pie to eat as well. But so as not to be a downer, because I am most certainly not, I think now would be the perfect time to take a look back on my journey and growth up to this point.
I have been singing since forever… always making noise. Although I was rather shy in my elementary days, but not when there was a stage 🙂 I’m from a big family, I’m the oldest of eight and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. I had my three younger brothers to make me tough, strong and scrappy and then came my four sisters who are like my live baby dolls to play with and dress up… still. As I grew up, I participated in any music event I could, I loved singing, performing, anything where I was entertaining.
It wasn’t until high school when I started writing songs. I remember flipping through the radio station for any song that could match my mood, and there was nothing, so I turned off the radio and as I drove home, I sang my own thoughts and melodies, and that was my first song.
Singing was and has always been my number one passion, however when I started high school I was one of the few kids in the state that came down with Pertussis, the actual, legitimate “Whooping Cough,” and it absolutely destroyed my voice. Of course, I continued to sing what and where I could, but it was heartbreaking because I had nowhere near the range or agility that I once had and I couldn’t sing my favorite songs the way I used to anymore… so I started writing songs that I COULD sing. Although I battled a lot of internal insecurity over my damaged voice I realized, I could still be powerful and move people with the words and songs I was writing… not just my voice alone. Songwriting became SO incredibly important to me. I went through high school and moved to Nashville for college at Belmont University as a Vocal Performance major. Without a doubt, college was the hardest most challenging time in my musical career dealing with insecurities and feelings of worth. At this point, I was over four years from having come down with the Whooping Cough and I honestly began to believe that my voice had gone from powerful and boisterous to, soft and nimble. I still pushed through and never gave up and tirelessly trained my voice, but I sincerely believed it would never be the same in power and fearlessness as I’d known it before. I was surrounded by talent and beautifully agile and boisterous voices and there were times of darkness I felt like I didn’t and would never belong.
But it was in college that I worked hard to craft songs that we powerful enough to keep people listening; I worked on catchy melodies, and honest, captivating lyrics. And I learned to love that my voice didn’t have to be perfect, it was about the story I was telling and people would look forward to listening to me because they wanted to hear my SONGS.
Nearing the end of my college journey, many of my friends and supporters were urging me to pursue my songwriting career in Los Angeles, so I went. 🙂
It’s been quite a journey out here. As far as my voice, nearly 10 years after the Whooping Cough… I had a breakthrough. Ten solid years after being first diagnosed with whooping cough my voice was finally able to do all the things it once was, not by accident, of course, I had nursed my fragile voice with intensive training, and necessary rest. Not only was I finally back to the where I had left off, but I started improving vocally too and I was prospering and finally performing these songs. I was working with producers and other talented people to help bring my humble songs to life… and about half a year later (two years ago), I came down with an auto-immune virus called Oral Erythema Multiforme. It was a virus that caused the skin on my lips, in my mouth and throat to burn away. It lasted for a long, painful 30 days. I prayed and prayed and was supported by a community of prayers for healing. My body started to get sicker and I stopped all medication… and then I healed. That month was most definitely the darkest place myself, my body and mind had ever been, but it was also the strength of my body and mind and the drive that I knew I had a purpose that needed to be fulfilled that I really believe I was able to finally heal. And while my throat and mouth took quite some time to fully heal, I wrote songs. And I taught myself to produce, and I excelled at my piano skills because I was determined to make music and sound even without a voice. I am very spiritual and I don’t believe these attacks on my voice were a coincidence, but something trying to stop me from doing what I was meant to do. However, I am so thankful for these trials because they have always provided me with opportunities to grow and push harder and really realize what my dreams and goals are. Had making music not been that important, I would have quit now over 10 years ago, but instead, I learned to write songs and I’ve been pushing through trials ever since. I’m thankful for the fruits that these hardships have led me to and now writing songs is the best thing I have to offer.
Through these periods of recovery, I spent all of 2017 writing, learning to produce and producing all nine of the tracks I released in 2018. I had never been more proud and still am. I don’t mean to dwell on the hard things in the past because I am so incredibly grateful for the fortunate life full of blessings I have been given. However, I think these trials are incredibly important to reflect on and be grateful for as well… for without them I wouldn’t have developed and experimented and learned who I truly was as an artist and songwriter, but also as fighting, passionate, determined human being.
That being said… and as I begin to look on the bright side of things… all that is in the past is not lost because the results are in me in my voice and where it’s been, my songs, and inside the girl in me. I just released a cover of LP’s “Lost On You,” now streaming on all platforms and am set to release 3 more original songs starting July! These new tracks absolutely and completely represent an entirely new direction, a new sound and a grown me. I’ve really been in the classic pop realm for 6 years now and I think it’s time I really stepped outside of that… with this new sound that I feel was me all along and how I’ve been playing my acoustic shows from the start. Get ready for some new Americana, classic love song vibes, because they’re coming your way.
And while I’m finishing my cup of tea still a little melancholy over my ten years of lost music… I am realizing that those songs and moments aren’t lost because they were there and they were real and they made me into the artist I am and that you will hear through all of my music yet to come.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been an absolutely rough road (as you can recall from my story), but also it’s been incredibly smooth and fun, and rocky and enjoyable as well. Other than the struggles I previously shared, I think we can all relate to those moments of self-doubt and feeling like you’re not good enough. And to that I say… “BE YOURSELF!!! ALWAYS, ALWAYS BE YOURSELF.”
I have worked with soooo many musicians, producers, songwriters, people who say they’re this, people who say they’re that… and so many times they want to change me, who I am and what my music sounds like to fit some other mold… and it NEVER works!!! It’s like the cheap knock-off brand and I feel slimy and sick afterwards and I clam back up and vow never to work with anyone again… until I try again. Haha… know your goals… know what you want… and know who you are… then stick to it. People that love you and support you are only going to try to enhance YOU and bring out the BEST you there can be!! They don’t try to change you! Be smart… know the difference between subjective and objective… sometimes people really do have good advice and they really see your best self and want that to emerge… know the difference. I have SO many stories, but why dwell on the weasels in the past. I will say though… my ENTIRE songwriting career I have been told that my songs aren’t marketable… unless I put them through a certainly produced formula… and while those words make me sick now… there was a time where I was so clueless and yes… I wanted people to like my music, so yes, I listened… for a while, but it NEVER made me feel good, EVER, because sticking to formula was never my intention as an artist. And now all the music I am creating and getting played and feedback from is the music that I did MY way 🙂 Staying true to myself and who I am. You can decorate a puzzle piece and brighten it and make it beautiful and it will still fit, but when you try to change the shape… it NEVER works. Let people love you and help make you your best, but never let them change you.
That being said… there are so many people, producers, songwriters, etc. that have been on the good side of my growth and development and I am forever grateful and I cherish those creations forever.
Please tell us about your work.
I’m a singer and a songwriter. I specialize in singing and songwriting. I am extremely romantic and traditional and you hear that in my classic and timeless songs of love. I canNOT wait to share the new music soon to release this summer, but that being said I’ve always been a hopeless romantic and I think that transcends into more than just romantic love… love is in EVERYTHING we do and with everyone we come into contact with. I really truly strive to spread that message of optimism and TRUE love in everything I write and sing. Happiness is real. Paradise is real and it’s everywhere and we need to be aware of what’s going on in our world, but we cannot be hopeless. Bliss does not mean ignorance, knowledge doesn’t need to mean we should be cryptic and hopeless… with EVERYTHING we do, we should be doing it with love. Cliche? Maybe. True. Absolutely.
I do think I’m different than others… but also a reminder that we’re all the same and we all want the same thing. I’m not a rebel, I’m not racy or scandalous, or much of a rule-breaker (except with music or having dessert for breakfast), but I have my own story, my own struggles, my own triumphs, my own loves, and my dreams.
Musically, what sets me apart from others? Listen and find out. 🙂
Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
Yes! Of course… not all women are well positioned for every opportunity though obviously because we are all different and we like different things and we excel at different things. 🙂 So, there are endless opportunities, it just depends on what you like and what you’re good at! Go get ’em!
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- Website: thekaybe.com
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