Portland, Maine might not be a town you would expect to give the world the next big country artist; but it at the Listening Room in Nashville sitting in the middle of 5 girls on stage with a guitar in hand and belting out her first hit song “Fight Like A Girl” there was Portland native, Kalie Shorr. It was the Monday after CMA Fest and everyone was running on the backup to their backup battery. I was attending the 2nd Anniversary of Song Suffragettes at the Listening Room and meeting up with Kalie afterwards. You could say this was a full circle moment for Kalie. She played the first ever Song Suffragettes, wrote her single “Fight Like A Girl” with two other performers from the round, and had her song discovered by a Sirius XM intern while playing at Song Suffragettes. After becoming a Highway Find with the single and playing their stage at CMA Fest Kalie finished the week right where it all started.
After the show I waited off to the side with Kalie’s manager as her fans lined up to take pictures and meet with the young lady. I was amazed to see the level of comfort and sincerity Kalie has with her fans. She treats each of them like a friend and I could hear her saying “Let’s take a picture together!” after meeting them. It is reminiscent of another strong female artist who recently finished up a sold out world tour, Taylor Swift, who is by no coincidence also very vocal about supporting other women. Once she had made sure each picture was taken and autographed signed we headed outside to the patio (Kalie’s favorite part of any venue I soon found out) to chat about life, her experience with Song Suffragettes and every 90’s girl’s love for TLC music.
Do you get to go home to Portland, ME to visit during the summers?
Kalie: Definitely. It’s nice too because there’s plenty of places to tour up there. So I can still do work while I’m back home. Also it’s just great to reinspire you. It’s nice that going back home isn’t the middle of fly over states, it’s a place that’s really creatively inspiring. I’m very luck that vacationing and going home to see my family gets to be the same thing.
Take me through your relationship with Song Suffragettes:
Kalie: Me and one of the other girls who cowrote “Fight Light A Girl”, Lena Stone, we were part of the first group to play Song Suffragettes. Fun fact, we didn’t like each other at first. [laughs] Then we were around each other every week and figured we should suck it up and write songs together to play at the shows together. Then we started writing together and realized it was magic and that we actually liked each other. Now we’re best friends and completely joined at the hip. What a Song Suffragettes story about women supporting other women!
I don’t think I’d be as good of a woman if I hadn’t been part of it when I moved to town. I learned that at the end of the day, no matter how you look at it, women always have things just a little bit harder. We do just fine for ourselves and we’re really big at pulling each other up by the bootstraps. But I think this was such an important lesson for me to learn in my late teens early twenties. I’m so thankful because I think it’s shaped the woman that I am in as in looking at other women and not dealing with jealousy as much. Learning to be supportive and an “all ships rise” situation. I’m so endlessly thankful for it. Also it’s been a huge part of the story of my career so I’m so thankful that I got to be a part of it, that the cards aligned and it all worked out.
How has becoming a Highway Find has changed things for you?
Kalie: They started playing “Fight Like A Girl” around Valentine’s Day so it really hasn’t been that long but it’s been such an insane ride. I have this little to-do list and I’m always adding to it. I’ve had it since I was a kid. As I discovered new opportunities that I might have down the road I would put them on there. About 3 or 4 years ago I put being a Highway Find, play the Highway Finds stage at CMA Fest. So to be able to go through this week and just go ‘check, check, check’ was so cool and such a dream come true. Also, all my horrible ex-boyfriends from high school have text me to tell me they heard me on the radio. That’s all I’ve ever wanted [laughs] Like the Reba song [sings] ‘you can hear me on the radio!’ The team over there are just music lovers. The intern for Sirius XM that heard the song was here tonight and now is a full-time employee. She actually told me tonight that had something to do with “Fight Like A Girl”. They realized she had a good ear and promoted her and I got to be a Highway Find. That’s what happen when girls band together! It feels like a Cinderella story and I just don’t know how deserving of it I am but I’m so happy it’s happening. The Highway has always been so supportive of women.
What’s next for you? Shows, more new music?
Kalie: I think we’ll definitely have a couple festivals coming up. I’m so excited because having the single out has completely changed the booking game for me. I love every part of touring. I’m also really lucky because two of my favorite co-writers are in my band so we get to write on the road so it’s this perfect situation. My producer on the project is in my band too so there’s just so much love. The vibe on the road is so different than times I’ve played with other people because they just love it and it’s their music too. I would say I’ll have new music out beginning of next year. I’m going in the studio whenever I write a song I feel deserves the studio.
What’s some of the best advice you’ve been given since moving to town?
Kalie: I was talking to Cam, I opened for her for SXSW, after the show she sat me and Lena down. She was so fantastic and just giving us all this advice. She’s in her 30s and I just want to get as much information as I can from her as a big sister kind of thing. She said ‘the only thing you need more than a record deal is to not sign the wrong record deal.’ I realized that was the best advice I could get. Not every record deal is the same. You want to find a team of people who are really supportive of you, will bring what they bring to the table, maybe reign you in a little bit, but also let you run free. Just that balance of being on a team but understanding everybody’s strengths. There’s some great people in Nashville and I hope it works out!
Every artist is influenced by so many other artists throughout the span of their career from all different genres, if you were to pick your musical “mother” and “father” who would they be and why?
Kalie: I always tell people I’m like a supergroup of TLC, the Dixie Chicks and Michelle Branch. My musical father is Matt Scannell from Vertical Horizon which is my all time favorite band. Everything You Want is the only CD I listen to in my car. Wait, can I have two? Can it be a weird petri dish baby with multiple? [laughs] Let’s say Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez and Michelle Branch are my mothers. Matt Scannell from Vertical Horizon and Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty are my fathers. I don’t know what this would look like, probably a horrifying alien baby [laughs] but it’s me. It comes out like a ginger, so that’s how that happens [laughs]!
I’m the youngest of six so I feel like my musical taste is just a little bit older. My first concert ever I was nine years old and I went to see the Dixie Chicks and Michelle Branch at Madison Square Garden. It’s still the best concert I’ve ever been too. I fell in love with the Crazy, Sexy, Cool CD when I was five or six. I had gotten it from my sister and would listen to it in my little headphones and learned the whole rap to Waterfalls and my mom had no idea. I fell in love with them. They’re so sassy, the hooks are amazing and all three of the girls were just such incredible strong women. All of them at the end of the day were strong, empowered females who were honest and said whatever they wanted to say. That’s what I’m about. I’m 110% country but I’m happy to bring a little bit of TLC to the table if I can [laughs].
Kalie is such an absolute sweetheart. She has such a positive outlook and is so grateful for all the success that has come her way thus far. She gives much credit to her amazing mother who raised her, along with Kalie’s five siblings, primarily as a single mother. This modern day Brady Bunch provided Kalie with the supportive environment to develop a strong sense of self as well as the goal to be a strong woman like her mother. Good things come to those that put in the work and effort. The success of “Fight Like A Girl” is just the beginning of good things coming Kalie’s way! Listen to her personal playlist for y’all below and Happy Hump Day!