With a sound and a style that can only be described as a summer blend of The Beach Boys and The Bangles with some classic pop and americana soul thrown in for good measure, Kylie Hughes is emerging as a real talent to watch.
Hailing from Southern California, since arriving on the scene in 2012, she's earned herself an army of fans on both sides of the Atlantic and with an album in the works and a series of shows lined up for the summer, she's set to win over even more music lovers in the coming months.
A woman with big dreams, she kindly agreed to this interview to chat social media, dream shows and the impact of having growing support.
PW: How would you sum up yourself and your music up in a couple of sentences?
Kylie Hughes: Recently, it's a road to discovery haha. It's being refined, it has heart, it's autobiographical, the color red.. Maybe the color blue. It's darker and moody. It's the middle of the night, introspective, it's guitar riffs and has been stuck in my head for months.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
KH: Of course my influences have changed because I discover new music almost every day. I've been really into artists that have old school melodies but are presenting them in such a modern new way. Alabama Shakes, Shakey Graves, Kacey Musgraves and Beyoncé have obviously proven that that you can aspire to be and do anything.
PW: When did you first realise you wanted to be a performer? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
KH: I think I realized I was a performer when I kept finding myself in situations where I'd be telling a story or making a joke and I would look up and see I had everyone's attention. I've never been terribly shy, in fact I'm more of the entertainer in my family so it came naturally. In middle school though, Michelle Branch came out with the Spirit Room album and I picked up a guitar and learned one of her songs. I just knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.
PW: Tell me about your latest track "Never Ever." Is there a story behind it?
KH: Yeah. The basic story is, it's about being let down by the person you made a promise to love, who you planned a future with and picking up he pieces when they walked away. Personally for me, this was about a breakup where I was the one leaving and this guy was planning forever with me. He was just ready to literally make a life long commitment and I realized that he was hanging his whole world on me and I didn't feel the same way so I had to walk. I felt bad because we were just in such different places so I wanted to write from his perspective. To feel what it would be like to have the person you thought in your head you were gonna marry just change their mind.
In terms of the video and being creative that way, I love writing music video treatments. These days, visuals lend themselves to my songs because 90% of the time I'm writing, I see the story playing out. So when I get to have a hand in the production and creative direction, I feel like I've given my audience a completely fleshed out mini movie with a soundtrack that can make you feel sad or strong, or make you laugh or make you cry..
PW: Would you ever consider directing your own music video or one for someone else?
KH: For sure! Public announcement: if you like my music videos and you need help or a start with one of your own, call me. I'm cheap/will work for food.
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
KH: It's different everyday. I've been doing a lot of co-writing with people lately and it's a good match when the song comes easy and you’re having fun.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
KH: Can't answer it. I can't. There's lots of perfectly conducted pop songs that are so by the book and there's plenty of songs that when I hear it.. I'm like damn, I wish I wrote that... Actually that happens a lot.
PW: Is there an album in the works and in terms of your live shows, what's been your favourite live performance to date?
KH: Yes, there is. I love the thrill of a big show but smaller venues I always feel are more intimate. As a "show-goer" I like when there is some storytelling in between songs I can connect with the artist. Depends on the mood I guess.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
KH: I have been a part time Nashville resident lately and every time I go and see the a show at The Ryman I am blown away. Performing there would be hashtag #goals.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
KH: Ah! Okay... I'd want a fun girl party.. Kacey Musgraves because I love her songs and her cowgirl style, Elle King because I saw her recently at a show and she parties. Down. And Michelle Branch because she's everything to me... pun intended.
PW: What are your touring/performance plans for the rest of the year? Will you be playing any festivals or just focusing more on your own shows?
KH: I will be focusing on my own shows and getting these songs on the album finished. I'm playing a couple festivals near the end of summer that will be up on my site.
PW: Are there any plans for you to head overseas and play in Europe?
KH: If they call, I will go.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and do you agree that it's a necessary and useful tool for bands and artists today?
KH: I totally think that social media is important and Instagram especially is my favorite outlet but it can also feel like a job. So I try and be organic about it and a little picky. Posting with purpose, or if my hair looks super on point!
PW: You've been championed by several music outlets, but how much does that sort of praise and support matter to you?
KH: Support is supportive. I'm pretty confident in what I'm doing but to have pats on the back from people and praise for what I'm doing is definitely a confidence booster. I won't lie, it's nice to be acknowledged in a positive way.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
KH: Write. Travel. Record. Repeat.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as an artist, whose career would you most like to emulate and at what point would you be happy to call it a day?
KH: I'm not sure yet. As I grow and keep on this artist road I'm finding I can handle more than I thought I could a year ago. More plates to keep up in the air spinning and feeling more pressure to succeed... So far I'm holding up. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going but I'll let you know one when I feel like I've arrived.