Like many industries, the music business is fueled by statistics, metaphorical ladders, lucrative financial endeavors, and droves of executives who hold a figurative key to so-called success.
Amid conversation about standout artist Kalie Shorr is her unconventional career path. For years, her work ethic has enabled her to hone her songwriting craft, independently cut a record, and build an impressive social media following. Her songs are authentic recaps of heartbreak, connections, and navigating life. And Kalie herself? Well, minutes into talking to her, a conversation laced with the occasional f-bomb and chatter about her beloved cat, she already feels like your best friend.
To celebrate signing with tmwrk records, her debut album is being re-released with a deluxe version. Open Book: Unabridged is an accessible invitation to Kalie’s true-to-herself world.
“People may like a song that’s an up-tempo party positive pop song that I wrote for radio. That’s really great that they like the song, but when they like Open Book, I feel so understood, and I feel that they like me,” Kalie tells Nashline Country.
Her likeability factor is not a product of test marketing or research. While other artists craft branding strategies, Kalie Shorr is a real person, not a product. She invokes every aspect of her life into her music, even if that means sharing details that are not glimmering. It’s the truth that makes her personable, and fans have gravitated towards it.
“Lying To Myself,” a new offering off her re-issued album, is the project’s latest single.
“That was such a fun song to write; I wrote it out in LA. During the making and release of Open Book, I started spending a lot more time out in California. It was so nice to get out of Nashville because I had just gone through a breakup – it’s such a small town,” the singer notes. “I love being near the ocean, and I felt so creative out in Los Angeles. I felt no pressure to try to box myself in. I figured out that was a necessary part of opening my creativity up to make something like Open Book.”
Kalie explains that “Lying to Myself” was the result of a therapeutic talk with friends during the middle of a breakup.
“It was super late, we were in the pool house of the place that I stay at out there, and I remember it being such a moody vibe. The lights were low, and there’s a big full moon. We were drinking wine and had this whole studio to ourselves,” she remembers. “I was running around playing different guitar parts. It was so creative, but also the story and lyrics were falling out of me. There was no pressure to make it country. It was freeing and was a total vibe.”
As she describes the song selection process for Open Book: Unabridged, it’s apparent that Kalie has surrounded herself with trustworthy people who share a similar vision that doesn’t dilute her work or career trajectory.
“I just picked all my favorite songs, put them on Dropbox, and then my managers, my publicist, and my record label all listened to them over and over. The highest-ranking one was ‘Eighteen’ – I was excited about that,” Kalie says.
She mentions, “I wrote that one during quarantine. It felt like, for the first time, I tapped into something writing-wise that I hadn’t done since writing Open Book.”
Kalie credits the head of her label, Andrew McInnes, for championing the hard-hitting unapologetic message loudly proclaimed in “My Voice.”
“I didn’t think that anyone was going to let me release that. I almost didn’t even upload it to Dropbox. This song was so out there. There was no way that this was going to happen. They loved it, and he [Andrew] pushed for it,” she recalls.
“We thought ‘Lying to Myself’ was going to be the first single,” Kalie says. “He was like, ‘No, we need to come in hot with ‘My Voice.’”
“I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go. Buckle up,’” she admits.
The sound of my voice, So get used to the sound of my voice, Cause I’m sticking around, Even if I ever had the choice, I wouldn’t change the sound of my voice.
“I did it as a cathartic thing to hype myself up to take that big step with recording that and laying it all out there,” she says of the song. “I needed to write this personal confidence song, and that’s all I thought it was going to be.”
This fall, Kalie teamed up with Premiere Networks and Bobby Bones to launch “Too Much To Say With Kalie Shorr,” a podcast that allows her to speak on a wide range of topics freely.
“I think the coolest thing about my podcast is that I have the chance to elaborate on things that you can’t in an interview or song. I did a whole episode on best friend breakups. I can do a podcast about that and share stories of something that impacted me. I’m able to share those stories in a safe space,” she says.
The platform has become a source of comfort and entertainment for her fanbase.
“I get so many comments every week from people telling me how they relate to something because it was something they’d gone through or how my perspective on being on the other side had helped them,” Kalie allows. “I have these candid personal conversations with people on Instagram all the time now. It’s pretty awesome.”
In a year where the music industry has significantly halted, Kalie is emerging victoriously. How many records are still talked about a year after their initial release in national headline-grabbing pieces? Open Book continues to defy expectations, as does the singer herself. She shares the results of her respite from the traveling lifestyle and demanding schedule that she’s accustomed to.
“I’m such an extroverted person. I get uncomfortable when things get too quiet and too slow. For the past seven years that I’ve been in Nashville, I’ve been able to keep myself surrounded by noise and people and not have to be alone with myself so often,” Kalie says. “It was learning how to be alone with myself and sit in the quiet and be okay with it.”
Aspiring musicians, take note. Kalie Shorr is putting in the work. A lot of work. Fielding questions from high-profile publications. Dreaming up conceptual album artwork with photographer Catherine Powell to visually complement the record. Continuously pouring her in-the-moment life experiences into songs. Every download, every stream, she’s earning it. It’s an endless output of creativity that Kalie’s authentically presenting.
“I think that it’s every artist’s goal to stay true to themselves and still find success because those things don’t always go hand in hand. You have to make sacrifices on both sides of things, and that’s super understandable and kind of the path of an artist,” Kalie says. “I don’t think anything’s been more rewarding than the fact my most successful project to date is Open Book, which is literally just completely me, completely unfiltered.”
Open Book: Unabridged is available now on streaming platforms. Visit KalieShorr.com for updates, music, and more.