Kyleah Mae Ross, a 17-year-old senior at Coal Ridge High School, got her first guitar when she was 8 years old and just recently took her first trip to Nashville to record a demo on Music Row. She also opened for the Band of Heathens at the New Ute Events Center, and she’s got high hopes of making a career out of music.
Ross shared with the Post Independent how she became interested in music, why she loves writing songs and what she sees for herself after high school.
Post Independent: When did you first become interested in music?
Kyleah Mae Ross: When I was 4, my parents got divorced. That meant that every year, my sisters and I would have to pack up and go to Dad’s for the summer. When I was 8 (turning 9 that summer), we went to Dad’s all the way in Montana. I remember after the 11-hour drive being so tired. We walked in, and my grandpa was strumming his guitar and singing “Sweet Home Alabama.” I wasn’t tired anymore! I stayed up for hours asking him so many questions, like when he first stared playing. It turns out he and my grandma were in a band together and ended up getting pretty popular in their hometown. That was when I first became interested in music.
The very next day, Dad woke me up and said I had to get dressed because he was taking me on a surprise. That surprise was the music store. I got my first guitar that day, at almost 9 years old. I tried piano lessons for a few months and played the clarinet in the school band, but nothing compared to my amazing guitar. Therefore, that is what I’ve stuck with playing for 8 years.
PI: When did you start writing your own songs, and why?
KMR: I wrote my first song when I was 6. All I really remember of it was, “I’m really cold, super duper cold. Can someone get me a jacket?” (I was a little rusty back then!) Ever since then, there’ve been hundreds. I don’t really know why I first started because I was so young. I just remember getting so much joy out of it. Everything that I would feel, do, say, experience — it all went into a new song. Right when I turned 14 it became more of an expression. I’ve never really been good at expressing things until I put it into a song and express it that way. Whenever something happens — whether it be happy, sad, fun, adventurous, scary — it was all composed into something new.
PI: Tell me about the time you recently spent in Nashville.
KMR: I’ve always had this crazy obsession for Nashville, where you can walk out your front door and be overwhelmed with music. I love that idea! I’ve been dreaming of Nashville since I was 13. I went down to Nashville to experience it all. I went to The Sound Office, a recording studio right on the historic Music Row. Recording in Nashville was one of the most memorable experiences I have. I recorded a demo with three songs: “Country Song,” “Fighter” and “My Heart Wouldn’t Wanna Know.”
PI: Are you involved in music at all at school?
KMR: I was involved in band throughout middle school. I did honors and women’s choir in middle school as well. In high school I do varsity and woman’s choir. I don’t do band anymore, but I am a guitarist/vocalist in the Kyleah Mae Band, which includes two other people, Chad (bass) and Barron (drums).
PI: In general, what do you love about music?
KMR: It’s hard to sum up why I love music. Music brings people together; it’s the one thing that truly can. I love the way it warms up your heart, as well as other hearts around you. The best feeling is when lyrics you write bring tears to people’s eyes. Music has the power to do a lot.
PI: Do you see a future in music?
KMR: When I graduate, I want to move to Nashville. I see myself doing music as a career. I want to major in music production. Whether it be producing someone else’s music or performing my own, I’ll enjoy doing both. I also want to eventually sell my songs, and Nashville is the perfect place to fulfill those dreams.
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