Today’s Featured Artist is Kaitlyn Baker!
Kaitlyn is a Southwest Virginia singer and songwriter.
Kaitlyn’s song “Coal Train” was included in the 2015 ACM Awards ZinePak, a 2-CD album that debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.
Her new song “Heart of Appalachia” has been designated the official theme song of the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority, which promotes tourism in that region of Virginia. Bluegrass and country legend Larry Cordle co-produced the record and sings background vocals on it.
Kaitlyn performed at Country Jam Colorado, right after Brad Paisley. She also sang the national anthem before Brad Paisley’s concert, in front of about 50,000 people.
You can find out more about Kaitlyn on her website at KaitlynBaker.com
At what age did you begin singing or playing an instrument?
I started signing at the age of seven in church. I began playing guitar when my late grandmother taught me a couple of chords on guitar which lead me wanting to take a few lessons. I also play a little mandolin.
What inspired you to become a singer/musician?
I grew up around music. My dad and my Papaw were musicians. They weren’t professional, but they played a lot for fun. Of course I was influenced by the music my dad played on the radio.
What genre would you call your music?
I grew up listening to a little bit of everything. I think when you combine them all it becomes a country, blues, bluegrass sound.
What have you learned from being a singer/musician?
You have to work hard and put in time. Practice is very important. It takes dedication and also, I think you have to have a good attitude. The music business is very hard. It can knock you down but you have to just get right back up and continue fighting for your dreams. One of the hardest experiences I have gone through was the recent death of my business partner and friend, Fred Brooks. He was like a second father to me. For a while, I wondered if I could continue performing, but I realized he would have wanted me to go on. In a way, I feel like everything I do now is a tribute to him. I would not have come as far as I have, if it had not been for his guidance and support.
Can you say a little about what being a singer/musician means to you?
Playing music makes me feel at home. It was a normal thing at my Mamaw’s house to have several people playing music on a casual week day. We would all come together and have so much fun. I spent many years singing in that old living room. My love for music has only grown since then. I also appreciate how my music affects other people in different ways. I want to have a positive impact on people.
What part about being a singer/musician do you like most?
I learn so much from the people I have worked with over the years and feel really blessed that I get the opportunity to share my music that a lot of people have helped with. It’s not a one-person job. There are many people I work with, whom I admire very much. It is definitely a team effort.
Have you made any friends because of being a singer/musician?
I have met and worked with many amazing people. I recently worked on the documentary “Born in Bristol,” which is about the 1927 Bristol Sessions, which was a series of recordings that launched the country music industry. I have a small part in a dramatic reenactment scene. Carl Jackson, a Grammy-winning songwriter and producer, was the musical director on that project. I eventually ended up meeting Larry Cordle through Carl. Larry has written many hit songs in Nashville, including “Highway 40 Blues” and “Murder on Music Row.” He has been very helpful to me. He recently co-produced and sang background on my single “Heart of Appalachia,” which is the new theme song for the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority in Southwest Virginia. I have also made many other new friends, who are not necessarily in the business.
Have you traveled because of being a singer/musician?
I just finished a tour that took me to Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Denver and Grand Junction, where I performed at Country Jam Colorado. One of my favorite trips was to Hollywood two years ago, where I performed at the Young Artist Awards in 2014, and walked a red carpet for the very first time. I also had meetings and got to perform for executives at two of the big studios in Hollywood.
Have you done something exciting because of being a singer/songwriter?
I would be here talking all day if I named them all but one of the most exciting things was to perform at Country Jam Colorado, where I did my own show and also performed the national anthem as part of a salute to the troops, before Brad Paisley’s concert. I was also blessed to perform in 2015 on the Hard Rock stage at the CMA Festival. I also rode in the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day parade, in front of about a hundred thousand people or more. It was also exciting to work on my new music video “Heart of Appalachia,” because one day I rode a horse and the next day I rode an ATV and ended up getting covered with mud. It was worth, though. People seem to like the video.