Saturday, December 28, 2013

Country music fans are my favorite...

The last few weeks have been whirlwind. Honestly, as I try to account for the moments everything comes back as a crazy blur.

I released my first music video for a song that I wrote with, Mike Ulvila and Ryder Jones called, "Nowhere Now", played shows throughout Michigan to Illinois, wrote songs in Nashville and got to open for Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard. It doesn't seem like all that could have possibly taken place over the span of just a few weeks, but it did and it was awesome.

Our show on, December 7th opening for Thomas Rhett was insane! Talk about an awesome crowd. The Intersection in Grand Rapids was packed wall to wall with country fans ready to party...and party we did. I had such a good time playing and meeting so many new folks.

I have to say, Thomas Rhett is one of the most humble, genuine and amazing performers I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a stage with. He was fantastic. Before the show, he and his crew came back to our dressing room just to say hello and to ask if we needed anything. That kind of attitude and kindness speaks volumes to me. It was really cool that they took the time to do that. Adam Sanders was there opening for, Thomas Rhett that evening as well and the same can be said for his crew. It was great to be surrounded by so many awesome musicians and wonderful people. That is what I love SO MUCH about country music - The People.

Britta and Bobby Bare from B93 Country Radio...I love these two! 

Backstage Shenanigans. 

Ready to ROCK 

A little last minute set list change.

Rockin' OUT! 
Lots of folks were asking so I thought I'd answer here...I got my dress from Hot Topic. :) 


Unbelievably awesome, SOLD OUT crowd! (Photo Cred: On The Run Photography)

Bobbie and Mike Gahan from "The Pink Rack Project"

Sara Catherine at Cheeky Strut - Always making my hair look pretty. :) 

Such a good night! I loved meeting all of you and seeing so many familiar faces in that sold out crowd. Thank you guys for giving me nights like that one. Thank you all for coming over to the merch table to say hello after the show as well! <3


The following Saturday (Dec 14) I got to join my fellow Michigan native, country music rocker, Frankie Ballard at the State Theater in Kalamazoo. Holy smokes did we have a good time! Got to hang out with the B93 Country Radio crew again, and all of you awesome fans who braved the winter roads to come rock with us! I love Frankie's band and crew. They are some of the nicest folks and they are always so good to me and my band. It was fun getting to catch up with them backstage and even more fun to rock that stage. 

That crowd was awesome! Y'all sure know how to make an opener feel very welcomed. Everyone was singing along and dancing with us. It meant SO MUCH to have folks in the crowd singing along to my original songs. I don't think you guys will ever know what that does to me. I had a really good time hanging out with everyone out at the merch table after the show as well. I will never get over how awesome country music fans are. At one point during Frankie's show, I looked out into the crowd from backstage and just got this overwhelming feeling of love. YOU GUYS make it possible for us to do what we do. YOU GUYS go above and beyond to show your support and continue to encourage us. That is what keeps me going when this business gets crazy and I feel discouraged. It's you guys and I can never say thank you enough. We were only on that show because YOU GUYS asked, Frankie over and over again to have us. I love you all very much. 

Backstage - Kalamazoo State Theater (Photo Cred: Tim Niceswander - Photo Famous)

 Backstage...Excited to rock! 

 Bobby Bare! 

Hanging out with B93's Conrad backstage (Photo Cred: Tim Niceswander - Photo Famous)

 The State Theater is such a beautiful venue. 

Had an absolutely fantastic time rockin' with all of YOU! 

Awesome Crowd! You all were so much fun! 

 Joey from "The Pink Rack Project" helping with my merch table. :) 

This little lady was a sweetie. :) 

Loved meeting all of you! 

Signin' Signin' Signin'... :D 

My momma was able to come to this show! <3 

I have the best fan family. xo

Sisters. So awesome that my family got to be at this show. xo 

Outfit of the night. 
Dress - Thrifted in Atlanta, GA 
Earrings - Forever 21

I little birthday love set list signing. :) 

These last few weeks have been the best ending to an awesome, awesome year. 2013 has been incredible and I can not wait to see what's in store for 2014. Let's Do This! 

Nothin' but love.

xo - Kari 

Monday, November 11, 2013

When all that mattered was a crazy dream...

SCENE ONE, TAKE ONE - First music video ever!

About 5 months ago, Sheila Johnson-Detzler, a long-time fan of my music and a permanent fixture in my fan family mentioned that she would love to see me and the guys make a music video. Naturally, I agreed that a music video would be an awesome experience, but that we just hadn't come across the right feel with a crew for a video yet. She then mentioned a company based out of Lansing, MI called Such Video and said I should definitely check them out. I reached out to them, not really sure what to expect and before I knew it I was on my way to Lansing for a meeting with the incredibly talented group of people that makeup Such Video. I have to say, if it wasn't for, Sheila this meeting would have never happened. HUGE THANK YOU to her. :) 

Over this past summer I discussed ideas for my first music video with the Such Video crew. What song did we what to do? What kind of feel did we want for this first video? How did I want to record the song? Where would we shoot the video?...etc. :) After my whirlwind of a summer was over, we reconvened and started to hash out the fine details. We decided to record the song for the music video with, Joel Ferguson of Planet Sunday Studios in Rockford, MI. We did a special version of this original song just for this video. I can not wait for everyone to hear it. We also settled on a date. October 30, 2013. Coolest. Day. Ever. 

I woke up that morning a 6am and headed to one of my very favorite places, Cheeky Strut Salon, in Grand Rapids to get music video ready! There is not another group of people that I trust more with my hair/makeup than my wonderful stylists at Cheeky Strut. I can't even explain how much it means that they take such special care of me. After hair and makeup, it was straight to the shoot! (Though, I did have to turn around and go back to my apartment since my early morning brain decided to forget a few things...typical)

Double team. Cheeky Strut gals gettin' me all pretty for the day.
Love them. 

Sara Moser on site. Multi-Tasking. :)

The location for the music video was another one of those AWESOME things that was brought to us by a fan. Earlier in October I had posted on Facebook that we were looking for a barn in the Grand Rapids area where we could shoot our first music video. I could not believe the response I got! So many folks just offering up their space to us for the day, or giving me contact information of friends and family who owned the type of barn we needed. I will forever be blown away by the generosity of people around me. Thank you to everyone who responded! There was one suggestion that seemed to really fit the bill though. After a few e-mails, I was off to check out the barn that would become the official location for the video. That barn belonged to the, Bieker family in Ada, Michigan. Another BIG thank you to, Katie Marble for contacting me about it. No lie, the first time I walked through the door of this barn my jaw hit the floor. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, it was truly a replica of what I had envisioned in my head for the video. I remember thinking, "How is it possible that the barn in my head actually exists in real life?" The, Bieker family was so welcoming and kind to us. I can not imagine better hosts or a better space for us to have shot this video.

Our wonderful hosts. <3

 These ladies are awesome. 

Can someone say, absolutely stunning? 

We started shooting around 11am after, Sara Moser polished off the guy's hair and everyone had their fill of bagels and coffee. The video shoot lasted all day and I loved every minute of it. We shot inside, outside, lots of different scenes and feels. The Such Video crew is amazing. Their talent, work ethic, patience, drive, creativity, humor and knowledge were so appreciated. I am thrilled that I was able to experience my first music video with this fantastic crew....seriously still reeling and trying to figure out how I got so lucky to work with these amazing people. 

Video Shooting. 

 This space could not have been any more perfect.

These guys were troopers. Such a long day! 

Don't know what I would do without these two. Love you girls. Thank you!

 Rocked my brand new Corral Boots with my first outfit for the shoot. I love Corrals! 

 Talking things over with, Dustin. 

 Outfit number 1 for the shoot.
Pre to Post Modern necklace. 

 Bandmates. I love them. <3

 My dudes. <3 

 Outfit number 2 for the shoot. Thrifted dress and boots. Forever 21 belt. 

Scene 1

Excitement level = Off the charts. 

Throughout the day different folks stopped by. Kari Norton (who has a pretty awesome name if I do say so myself ;)) from the Grand Valley Lanthorn came out to do an interview with me and, Dustin Foster (from the Such Video Crew) about the entire experience. Both, Dustin and I are graduates of Grand Valley State University and it was awesome that we were able to connect on that. You can check out the article if you'd like ---> GV Alumni Collaborate on Music Video Shoot.  

Rapid Growth GR also stopped out to take some pictures for their cover as well. Look for that soon! 

This day was one I will never, ever forget. I love that we kept it local did it all right here in West Michigan. The talent in this state and especially in this area is incredible and it continuously amazes and inspires me that we can do so many awesome things right here with hard-working people in this wonderful state that I love. I can not wait for you all to see the video! It's going to be awesome. 

And THAT'S a wrap, folks! 

Double thumbs up for an awesome day of shooting!

Special thanks to everyone who made this video and awesome day possible:

Such Video - Lansing, MI

Kate from PR with Such Video (You are incredible) 
The Bieker Family (So, so many thanks!)
Joel Ferguson (Recording Engineer/Mixing)
Al Mcavoy (Mastering of the track)
Brian Stefl (Photography)
Jaimie Powell
Sara Moser
Robinettes Orchard in Grand Rapids (Thank you for the doughnuts and cider!)
Sheila Johnson-Detzler
Grand Valley State University (Interview) 
Rapid Growth GR (Coverage)

My bandmates and partners in crime. I love you guys so much. 


Nothin' but love. 

xo - Kari 

Look for more photos from the shoot on my Facebook Page and Website soon! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

6-string guitar and a jug of wine...

"I've been sitting here asking him every night
For a brand new song and a piece of mind
The road is all I think about these days
All I need is out there, I will be just fine
6 string guitar and a jug of wine
When the lights go down around that stage..."

The Highway (lyrics) - Holly Williams

Let's talk about music for a moment, shall we? Every once in awhile, I want to introduce anyone who reads this blog to a favorite artist of mine. My favorite singers and songwriters tend to be those you don't often here on the radio or see on TV. So, many times I'll mention an artist and folks will be like, who? I think that's why I want to talk about some of them from time to time. We hear the same songs over and over on the radio and it's nice every once in awhile to look outside our musical box and give a band or singer a try. Today, the amazingly talented, Holly Williams

For those of you who don't already know, I love me some, Holly Williams. She is a fantastic singer/songwriter currently touring her new album, "The Highway". I got to see her play (finally) for the first time a couple weeks ago in Goshen, Indiana at the raddest record store venue called, Ignition Music. It. Was. Stellar. 

My best friends, Lyndsey and Hannaniah went to the show with me. Such a good day.

Holly Williams just being amazing.

Oh, Hey. :) 

A band called, Elenowen opened up for her. They were wonderful. I'd heard about them a bit and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that they were opening the show. I picked up their current EP and you should too! Their music is an awesome blend of folky/country goodness. If you need a comparison, think, Civil Wars. Anywho, they were great and fantastic songwriters as well. 

Elenowen sounding spectacular.

I get asked a lot who my favorite singers are, who inspires me and what kind of music is my favorite. I'm inspired for different reasons by different people and genres of music. I love country music obviously. I sing country music and the majority of music I write is country music. Country was the first music I fell in love with. I was six and my grandmother introduced me to, Patsy Cline. Soon after, my dad introduced me to, Garth Books and, Vince Gill...the rest is history. :) The genre of country music is so wide-spread now that it covers an array of musical stylings. My favorite style of country leans more toward the traditional style with some folk and bluesy flair - Americana if you will. I like a bit of rock infused in there every once in awhile too. 

Holly singing, "I Saw The Light" to end the night. 

The truth is, I don't listen to much country radio. I'm not dogging radio or current country music at all. It's just not what really inspires me and gets my brain moving. When I listen to music--really listen to music-- I want to be moved. I want to feel something. Isn't that why we listen to music? To realize an emotion. To have an experience. That's why I started writing music when I was a kid. It helped me deal with things that were going on in my life. Ultimately, that's why I still write music today. It helps me figure out life. It's the only way I know how to figure out life. This is not to say that every song I ever write or listen to has to be "deep". I think different people relate to different styles of music and that is OK. It's ok to just want to listen to music that makes you feel good on a summer day with the windows down. I like that too. :) I just think that there is more out there than what we hear on the radio or at the club downtown and it should be experienced.  

The first time I heard, "The Highway" I experienced a range of emotions. I actually listened to it completely through on my way from Michigan to Nashville. I remember it was raining almost the entire drive. It was a perfect setting to listen to every song. The album is wonderfully crafted both lyrically and musically. I appreciate the honestly in this album and in Holly William's music in general. I believe every word she says. I think that's important. I hear the same messages in music time after time. It's nice to sit back and actually listen to raw emotion pouring out of my speakers. It's hard to be honest in writing. It's much easier to just think thoughts and keep them in your head. Once you write them down and speak them out loud they are real, out in the world, right in front of you and you can't undo them. I'm truly in awe of this record and the way the lyrics are so fearlessly put out there. 

There is a song called, "The Highway" that really stopped me. I connect with this song so much. Listening to it for the first time actually brought me to tears. Music should do that. At least sometimes. It should affect you in a way that makes you personalize it. I know I'm listening to something special when my emotions change because of it. I hope all the time that the music I write will do that to people. That it makes them feel something and they can relate to it and use it in their life. It is amazing when people tell me that something I wrote really spoke to them and affected them a certain way. Knowing you moved someone, even for a moment, is a pretty incredible feeling. 

If you like honest to goodness music and you have a minute, look up Holly Williams. Find her on YouTube or iTunes or wherever. Just give her a listen and really listen. I think her music has something to offer everyone. 

Thanks for reading my rambles guys. Try out a new artist today. Give some new music a listen. You might just find that lyric or melody you've been needing to hear.

Check out my cover video of "The Highway" by clicking on the link below. You'll have to let me know what you think if you feel like watching it. :) 

Nothin' but love. 

xo - Kari 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

And then it was October...

I can't believe summer is over. We were so busy and traveling so much this summer that it really feels like a blur. Don't get me wrong; it was AMAZING. I could not have asked for a better, more exciting, more productive summer. I got to play some amazing shows, meet a lot of new folks, write songs that I'm really proud of and make memories with my bandmates that I will never forget, but September and October came outta nowhere!

Fall is an energizing season for me, especially September and October. There is something about September, as everything starts to change, that makes me feel like I have a fresh start. And then October comes and there is a chill in the air that puts so much inspiration in my soul. Fall has done this to me as long as I can remember. That's probably why it has been my very favorite time of year since I was a child. 

I'm excited to take on new projects and I'm looking forward to the future and where my music will take me. I go for a lot of walks in the Fall to clear my head, making it a point to walk down a street I've never been down or visit a shop or cafe I've never been in. I don't mind the chill that takes over the air as the days get shorter...I look a little less weird walking down the street with a hot coffee in my hand in the fall than I do in the summer, so that works for me as well. :) 

Fall IS strange though. At the same time that I feel a sense of newness and adventure, I also get very nostalgic. I get homesick. I miss old places, people and relationships that used to be in my life. I find myself often sitting with a sadness in my gut that I can't explain. I just miss something. Because of these crazy, fall induced--mixed emotions, I write a lot in this season. I sorta don't mind the sense of nostalgia, even if it makes me really sad some days. The sadness has a way of making my writing more brave. I'm less fearful of saying something I'm scared to say out loud. I'm more willing to be honest with myself in this season and I love that.

Right now I am more inspired than I have been in awhile. It is in large part due to this season I am sure. I feel like there are a million songs in my heart and pages of lyrics in my head. I've never been a very good liar when it comes to writing. Writing is my place to be the most honest with myself and others. So, it's incredibly difficult for me to fake my way through a song and make up feelings I'm not actually feeling. I have to feel the happiness or the heartbreak so much that it hurts. If I don't feel those things when I'm writing, I can't really expect anyone listening to my music to feel them either. I'm excited to hash it out and finish songs I began awhile back but haven't been in the right mind-set to finish. I'm excited to reconnect with some feelings and I am eager to move forward as the chapters of this ever changing, crazy, wonderful life unfold...even if it sometimes scares the heck out of me.  

* If you read this entire blog post, thanks! It's really random. I appreciate you giving a whirl though. I have to have these kind of posts once in awhile, but I promise to have my thoughts a bit more in order next time. :)

Nothin' but love 

xo - Kari