Kayla Woodson is an up and coming singer/songwriter who released a self-titled EP earlier this year. Louisiana born, Woodson is no stranger to the music business. In 2004 she trained at Bocelli School of Music in Italy and represented USA in Romania later that year. Since then, she moved to Nashville and attended Belmont University. She wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on her self-titled EP.
Earlier this month we got to chat with Woodson about the path she took to Nashville and what’s next for her!
Variety Beat: What was it like traveling to Romania and representing USA at a young age? Did that experience help you later on in your career?
Kayla Woodson: Traveling to Romania was such a great experience, especially getting to experience it with my family! At that time, I knew it was important to be representing the USA, but I don’t really think it sank in a lot as a 10-year-old. It was awesome to get to meet so many people from all over the world and to have the experience of singing an original song on stage and then people reacting to it like they did. I also remember being so excited to have people do my hair and makeup and to have my own background dancers on stage while I was singing! I guess I did something right because I ended up placing 2nd in the world, which is an accomplishment that I’m very proud of.
I think that Romania did help me later in my career, because it showed me that music really is a universal language. You always hear that, but that experience really showed me how true it is. The love of music is one thing that can bring everyone across the world together, and I think that is very important. It was also eye opening for me at a young age to be on a huge stage in front of television cameras and having to talk with paparazzi and such! All and all, it was an awesome experience!
VB: You released a EP in April, can you tell us a little bit about that project and the inspiration behind the songs?
KW: Ahh yes!! I was really itching to get some music out there that I feel represents me as the artist I have become. I’m super excited about the EP being released for everyone to hear!
I started the planning process in September/October and by Thanksgiving we were in the studio recording. I wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the EP, so it was an awesome feeling to know where they came from and how they ended up on the EP. I couldn’t be more proud! Each song was inspired by something I had experienced or seen or heard about that triggered something not only in me but also in my co-writers. It’s a great feeling when you start writing a song and that spark just hits everyone. These songs portray emotions that I feel like everyone has felt sometime in their life and can relate to, and I’m so proud to be able to share them!
VB: Who are some of your biggest influences and Inspirations?
KW: Oh man, I have quite a bit! Obviously, country powerhouses such as Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert. One of my biggest inspirations is Dolly Parton because she is not only one of the best performers and singers, but she is also in my opinion one of the best songwriters out there.
On the other hand though, my dad also raised me on some 80’s rock like Guns N Roses, Journey, and so forth, so I grab some of my vibe from artists like that. Also, I’m originally from Waggaman, Louisiana (right outside of New Orleans) and being from there gives me some more R&B influences like Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. I’m thankful I grew up hearing and then singing all these different genres of music, because I think that mix of influences helps to set my music apart.
VB: You just released a music video for “Fan The Flame” what was shooting that like? Can you tell us more about the meaning behind the song?
KW: Shooting the video was such a fun process! I really wanted something visual with that song since we put it out as the debut single on the EP. Some friends helped me brainstorm ideas, I rented a camera, and we shot the video and edited it all ourselves. It was definitely a lot of work, but I think it turned out very well for doing it ourselves haha.
When I explain “Fan for the Flame” to people, I always tell them its about that sense of strength and independence that we all have. It’s basically claiming that you won’t tolerate being walked on and mistreated. I feel like the first line of the chorus explains the song perfectly when it says “Fool me once shame on me, next time I’ll be ready.” Basically saying if you wrong me once, don’t expect to get away with it again, because I’ll be ready and I’ll be stronger.
VB: 2016 has been a big year for you, you graduated from Belmont, Released your EP, played numerous places in Nashville including CMAfest. What’s next for you?
KW: Man, it has been a crazy year so far and it’s only August!! Right now I’m really working to just get this new music to new audiences. Country music fans are amazing, and it’s been super cool to see that there are people from all over the country (and even some overseas!) listening to the EP and supporting me. We’re also getting things ready to hopefully be playing more shows in different parts of the country soon, which is so exciting because performing my own music live on stage is really what I love to do most! Other than that, I’m just always working on new music, working to be a better songwriter and artist.
Her EP which is self titled is available at all major digital retailers and more information can be found at kaylawoodson.com Listen to her EP below!