We caught up with California native Kylie Hughes to chat about her recent album release and how she likes to "blend, bend and blur" genres.
Last month California native Kylie Hughes released a 12 track self-titled album – her first full length record. “It feels like victory,” she told us. The album took her over two years to write and curate. “I wrote/rewrote and recorded/re-recorded in LA and Nashville with so many talented producers,” said Hughes. “I learned and absorbed so much from every session. That much creativity in one room is addictive.”
Hughes has been writing and recording music since she was 12 years old. “I always loved music but when I started writing songs, I found my favorite high and I always got great feedback,” she explained. “I found something that I could keep getting better at and I had the support and encouragement to allow me to pursue music.”
Hughes held her album release show at The Peppermint Club in LA where she performed all 12 songs off the record. “My friends and family were there and it was wild – it got good and rowdy,” she said. “I was so hungover the next day, but that’s okay. That’s how you know it was good.”
While Hughes calls LA home, she got a place in Nashville a few years ago that she shares with her mom. “I could move there,” she said. “It’s a home away from home and never fails to inspire me from the moment I step off the plane.”
Asking an artist to pick a favorite song can be like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. But if she had to pick one track from the new album, it would be Always On Your Side. “That song had a lot of ups and downs,” said Hughes. “I had the idea for that song a few years ago and it was going in a much lighter direction, but then Ben [her cowriter/producer] got a hold of it and it became this rock ballad with such a cool intro. I used to dance in school so I can appreciate some contemporary instrumentals that make you want to tear out your heart and swing it around.”
Hughes recently released a video for the album’s lead single, Heat. The video draws inspiration from one of her favorite Will Ferrell movies, Talladega Nights. “I knew that the music video had to be a little sexy because it is a sexy summer anthem kind of song but I didn’t want it to be stereotypical hot guy and hair flipping on the hood of a car,” Hughes explained. “I wanted to show my less serious side and the racing theme with the lyrics just fit all too nicely. Perfectly Racy.”
Prior to her latest album, Hughes released an EP in 2014 titled Calipopicana – Hughes’ creation for defining the mix of genres and influences that best describe her music. “It’s funny how then and now I’m still having trouble finding my genre,” she said. “I like to blend, bend and blur them all the time.” It was important for Hughes to put out a full length album this time around. “More room to show material that flirts with all my favorite genres: pop, country, Americana, rock, folk, etc.,” she explained.
Hughes has had to do a lot of work behind the scenes to get her music heard. “I feel like I got a fast track business degree with how steep the learning curve is in this industry,” she said. “Being an independent artist requires you wear a lot of hats and being your own cheerleader, coach, trainer, quarterback, defense… you get my metaphor? It’s fun because not every day is alike but it’s definitely work.”
Hughes would love for other independent artists, especially female artists, to remember to use their voice and not let other people make their decisions for them. “Do what you want to do, always,” she said.