Q & A: Music City’s Rising Country Artist Kyle Elliott on his Path to Pursuing Country Music, his Latest Single, “Empty” & his Goals for This Year

With several singles to his name and performing upwards of 100 shows per year, including opening for critically acclaimed, award-winning artists, Music City native Kyle Elliott is quickly becoming a household name for country fans across the US.

Kyle’s rise in the industry can be accredited to his hardworking ethic and drive to achieve his goals, which can be traced back to childhood. Growing up in a traditional family, he learnt the homegrown values and a profound appreciation for music from his parents. Citing his early influences as 80s rock, 70s hits and 90s mainstream radio hits (Elliott), he later “found his Nashville roots showing his love of country music, including artists like Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, Josh Turner, & more.” (Elliott).  

This past January, the artist released his latest radio-ready single, “Empty”. A song that, through a gruff and gritty vocal performance by Elliott, speaks to the harrowing experience of going through a breakup and turning to the bottle to numb the pain. The song also marks a new direction for the artist. As he states, “Empty is a true turning point for me. This song sets a whole new standard for my releases moving forward.” (Elliott). So far, it seems to be paying off for him, with the single surpassing 26K Spotify streams alone.

Earlier this year, I spoke with Kyle about his path to pursuing country music, his latest single and his goals for this year.

Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to become an artist?

Kyle Elliott: I was always singing as a kid and grew up singing in school music groups. I was in an alt-rock band for 4 years until 2015. After graduating from College/University I got a marketing job that I absolutely despised. After working that job for some time I realized something was missing from my life. That something was music. In 2016 I decided that it was now or never to chase this crazy dream of becoming a country music artist. At the end of the day, I would say it’s my overall love for music that ultimately made me choose to become an artist.

Official cover art for Kyle Elliott's latest single, "Empty".
Official cover art for Kyle Elliott’s latest single, “Empty”.

Kyla Pearson: Your latest single, “Empty” speaks to someone who is drinking their nights away in order to numb the emptiness/sadness they feel after a recent breakup. The song also takes inspiration from the main was inspired by Christ Stapleton’s “Whiskey and You”. Is the story within the song inspired by a true story?

Kyle Elliott: So the main point of the song “Empty” does come from the first line of Chris Stapelton’s Whiskey & You. The line is “There’s a bottle on the dresser by your bed, and it’s empty”. There is a bit of my own personal truths in the song. However, it is not a true story. I’m quite glad honestly!

 

Kyla Pearson: In line with the song’s theme, why do you think people turn to their vices to numb the pain of heartbreak when it’s only a temporary fix? 

Kyle Elliott: A great question. As someone who doesn’t turn to substances for a temporary release, I have a hard time answering this question. But if I had to guess I believe it’s because it is so immediate. It only takes a few drinks to help your mind temporarily forget. It takes months to actually work through your issues.

 

Kyla Pearson: The song draws stylistic inspiration from Chris Young and tunes like “Tomorrow” & “Hangin On”. What made you want to go in this radio-ready, gritty country sound for this single? 

Kyle Elliott: A lot of work goes into preparing and releasing songs. I’ve actually been preparing to release “Empty” since January of 2019. So knowing that it would take some time, you have to think about what the future will look like when preparing. I had this goal to release a bundle of songs to show the newer country side of what I can bring to the table. Therefore, my producer and I landed on this sound for “Empty” as we believe it complements the rest of the songs on the project!

 

Featured: Country Artist Kyle Elliott performing on stage.
Featured: Country Artist Kyle Elliott performing on stage.

 

Kyla Pearson: Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song? How did you come up with the hook for the song?

Kyle Elliott: I’ve been writing songs for what feels like forever now. Typically for me, a song starts with either a title or a guitar riff. That usually sets the tone for the song. Either up-beat mostly happy or slow and likely sad. The majority of songs I write solo however, there are a few that I co-write with. The majority of hooks come from trial and error. If I hum a melody and it sticks in my head then it says “This is clearly a memorable hook”. From that point, I send a work tape over to my producer. This is typically a phone recording of me singing and playing the song. The producer and I will then talk about what direction we want to take. He will then bring in musicians to record the instruments. Then I will go into the studio to record the vocals. After a few attempts of trying different things, we land on a final version.

 

Kyla Pearson: What do you hope to achieve with this single? What do you hope fans will get out of the song? How is this single setting the stage for your future releases, both melodically and lyrically?

Kyle Elliott: My goal was to show people my range of style and the depth of my songwriting. I hope that fans are able to relate to this song in some way in order to feel some sort of personal connection. It is setting the stage for the next two singles to follow which will wrap up this project. It is a continuation project meaning each song is a continuation of the previous.

 

Kyla Pearson: You’re also a part of the Nashville country music scene. How has being in music city been beneficial for your career? What is your most memorable gig/performance in the city?

Kyle Elliott: I was born and raised here in Music City. So this has been life for me since birth! It’s been great not having to move across the country to chase a dream. It also helps having my family/friends nearby to be a wonderful support system. It has also opened up many opportunities for meeting people and opening doors for more gigs. My most memorable gig would either be playing at the Bluebird or playing for the Opry Radio Station!


Kyla Pearson: Moving forward in 2021, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music other than “Empty” ?

Kyle Elliott: Yes! I have 2 new songs set to release by the end of the summer! I also have a goal to travel more, find new venues to play, and maximize my fan reach. The people that listen to my music love it. I want to share that experience with more and more people!

 

Listen to “Empty” now:

Stay up to Date With Kyle Elliott:

Spotify: Kyle Elliott

Website: https://www.thekyleelliott.com

YouTube: Kyle Elliott

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thekyleelliott/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheKyleElliott/

iTunes/Apple Music:  Kyle Elliott

 

Works Cited:

Elliott, Kyle. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, May 13 2021.

Unknown.“Featured: Country Artist Kyle Elliott.”. Photo courtesy of Rachel Selleck. Accessed May 13 2021.

Unknown.“Featured: Country Artist Kyle Elliott performing on stage.”. Photo courtesy of Rachel Selleck. Accessed May 13 2021.

Unknown.“Official cover art for Kyle Elliott’s latest single, ‘Empty'”. Photo courtesy of Rachel Selleck. Accessed May 13 2021.

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