Rachel Kays – Natural to the core

Image: Rita Quinn

I spoke to country-pop starlet Rachel Kays before the release of her debut album, Natural

Rachel Kays is starting to attract attention. With the release of her debut album Natural just around the corner and a glowing reputation on the Internet, you could forgive the 16-year-old singer for getting a little carried away. This seems not to be the case, however.

Gearing up for our interview (on Skype, no less), Kays confesses to her nerves and admits she turned to her idols for inspiration: “ I’ve been watching interviews with Eminem and Reba McEntire, just to get an idea of what to expect.”

To her credit, any nerves never surface during our chat. Instead, Kays talks with more experience than her fledgling status would normally allow, particularly when conversation turns to the writing process.

“I love Taylor Swift’s writing – it’s pretty, almost poetic,” she says, “At the moment I’m not writing in a particular style. It all depends on what mood I’m in. I’ll just sit in my room with a guitar, and play around with melodies.

“Country is my favourite genre. I think it’s a wholesome style of music. Most songs I write have a country feel – sometimes it’s just because of my voice. I just try not to force it.”

With that sentiment, we move seamlessly into a discussion about Natural, Kays’ debut offering, which is already making waves in music circles. This was always to be expected- Kays has bolstered her web presence with a series of YouTube videos and is keenly embracing her fans on social networking sites. Despite this, She says her popularity has taken her by surprise.

“It’s surreal, knowing how many times my songs have been played, and hearing how much people are liking it and relating to it. I write mostly for myself, to get my emotions out. But I’m glad others are enjoying it.

“My songs are very upbeat now because that’s the outlook I have on life. As I grow, my music will grow and change with me – hopefully my writing skills will grow, too.”

Kays certainly has a promising starting point. It’s hard not to like her songs – upbeat country and pop melodies delivered by her powerful and charming voice. It seems likely, though, that those wanting to see her in the flesh may have a while to wait. Kays admits she is still a few necessities shy of being a complete, tour-ready singer…

“I don’t have a band right now, which would make touring difficult unless I used a backing track,” she says, “I’ve also still got a lot to do – there are so many songs I still want to record. It’s just of case of keeping calm, and trying not to rush into things. I am hopeful of going on a radio tour of Texas, though…”

One thing is for sure – Kays will be worth the wait. Her youthful exuberance is yet to be reigned in by the rituals of making music, leaving plenty of time for indulgences of the outdoor kind.

“I recently got a horse, who I love spending time with, and I’ve always loved lots of different sports. I just love spending time outdoors.”

So, there you have it. Rachel Kays – ‘natural’ through and through. As our conversation draws to a close, it does so begrudgingly. Kays is as enchanting as her music, and we can all be certain of a long and interesting career for this Texan gem.

www.rachelkays.com

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