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Kaylee Rose’s music career is a product of “trial by fire.” On the first day of Rose’s freshman year, her father picked her up from high school and drove her to a local dive bar. Her guitar was in the backseat. Rose took the stage at Ann O’Malley’s in St. Augustine, FL, and performed three cover songs. She was offered a paid gig on the spot.
Originally hailing from Miami, Rose grew up submersed in a menagerie of musical styles and cultures which undoubtedly influenced her unique brand of country music. A childhood hip-hop dancer with aspirations of performing professionally, Rose’s father was the one who first saw music in her.
“My dad bought me my first guitar when I was 11 and we moved from Miami to St. Augustine,” says Rose. “St. Augustine is a small town and I had a hard time making friends at first so I started pouring my thoughts into lyrics and, after taking a few lessons, I began teaching myself to play guitar.”
From that first dive bar gig, a star was born. At only 14, Rose began marketing herself and booking gigs all over St. Augustine after school and on weekends. She never said “no” to an opportunity while still managing to juggle her schoolwork and her positions as Dance Team Captain and Class President.
After high school, Rose played four to eight-hour gigs every day to save enough money to move to Nashville. One year later, in 2015, she hit the road for Music City where she had two shows booked for the day she arrived. Rose made ends meet playing weekly at Rock Bottom Brewery and The Row while also working in the gift shop at the Johnny Cash Museum. Rose counts both museum owner Bill Miller and also Bart Herbison, the Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), as pivotal mentors in her budding career.
“Bart is my mentor and he’s like family to me. He took me under his wing and helped me forge relationships in the songwriting community,” says Rose. “I took advantage of every workshop NSAI had to offer and soaked up every bit of knowledge and opportunity available. I really feel I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without NSAI – I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard.”
Rose’s debut single, “Good Intentions,” is at once soul-filled and groove-inducing, contrasted by a rootsy acoustic guitar performance and a mid-song rap that makes the young artist’s inaugural effort feel as significant to Country as Blondie’s genre-bending “Rapture” was to 80s mainstream Pop. While it took Rose and co-writer Chris Stevens two years to finish writing the song “Good Intentions,” it took Rose only two months to write the rap, which she penned solely. “The song should be ‘Kaylee Rose featuring Kaylee Rose,’” she jokes.
The plain-spoken narrative of “Good Intentions,” showcases Rose’s unique wordplay abilities, telling the true story of an argument between herself and her best friend whose boyfriend was no good. That same best friend stars in the official music video, which mirrors the song’s storyline.
“I try to do the right thing and sometimes – a lot of times – I mess it up. ‘Good Intentions’ is a trail of disaster,” laughs Rose. “I say what most people think but don’t want to say out loud. My music is me as a person. What you hear is what you get.”
And what listeners get is a rising young star who’s not afraid to work hard for her dream – Rose has played over 1,000 live shows since that first bar gig at 14 years old. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind. Her brand of music is a celebration of life, love and transparency: It’s honest with no boundaries - not unlike the music of her heroes which includes Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Shania Twain and Beyonce.
“I want to know that my music is reaching people,” says Rose. “I want to say something that makes an impact in people’s lives. Having my songs sung back to me by a crowd of people who are moved by it is probably the most fulfilling thing I can ever hope for.”