CMA Music Fest 2018: Interview with Kayla Calabrese

People here just inspire me in every way. I want to be a better writer, a better singer, and a better performer.

Thanks for talking with us! How has CMA been so far? How many years have you been a part of CMA Music Fest?

It has been so much fun and has been so busy. But I love doing this every year. I look forward to it. I have been doing CMA fest 4 years I think.

Do you plan on catching any shows while here at CMA fest?

I am working a lot, but I am hoping to catch some shows on Sunday.

You have a brand new single “Good Vibes,” that just released last week. Tell us about it!

It just came out on June 1. I wrote it with two very good friends of mine Emma and James. It is about finding the little things in life that make you happy and that make life worth living. So we called it, “Good Vibes.” It sounds like a summer song so we decided to release it!

What’s your advice for young artists trying establish a name for themselves? Especially young females that may see you as a role model.

Just stay true to yourself. There are a lot of people in this industry that try to change you and tell you need to be a certain size, you need to wear a certain thing, you need to act a certain way, or say certain things. I do not think that is right because I feel like everyone is unique and different and that is what makes country music great. That everyone is so different. I feel like once you start putting people into these boxes, then everyone is going to sound the same and look the same, so what is the point. Just stay true to yourself is the biggest thing I can say. And have fun. As long as you are having fun, it is never going to seem like work.

So where do you like to shop in Nashville?

I really just love to shop everywhere. Altar’d State is really cute, it is a little shop in Hillsboro Village. But I also really like Two Old Hippies. I just like all the little local Nashville stores. But I am also a fan of H&M. You can find some cute stuff there if you are on a budget.

How has Nashville influenced your music?

Just being here, I feel like it has inspired me so much. Just because there are so many talented people here. People come here everyday to do the same thing I am trying to do. People here just inspire me in every way. I want to be a better writer, a better singer, and a better performer.

What are some of your favorite Nashville restaurants?

5th and Taylor in Germantown is my top place. Bar Taco is really good. And if you want really good Pizza, like straight from Italy pizza, the closest I have ever found is the restaurant called Bella Napoli Pizzeria.

Since you have Italian roots, what do you like on your pizza?

I literally just like cheese. It is how pizza is supposed to be. People just started throwing all this weird stuff on it. Hahaha so just cheese for me. With crust on the thin side.

If someone is coming to Nashville for the first time, where do you take them?

Of course all of my favorite food places. Brunch at Biscuit Love and The Southern, their chicken and waffles are really good. Then I will take them to all of the touristy areas like the Opry, cause if they are in Nashville they need to experience that.

What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?

Brandi Carlile or Sara Bareilles. If it was both of them at the same time I would probably just cry.

What is your favorite Southern expression?

I really like, “Bless Your Heart.” Because it could be sweet, but most of the time it is really condescending, which is great because I am from Jersey and tell it like it is anyway So that expression is kind of a nice way to be mean.

What is one of your favorite restaurants back home in Jersey?

Schiano’s is a little tiny pizza restaurant, in a shopping plaza, thats how small it is, and the owner is this little Italian guy. It is the best pizza hand down.

Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?

I am really into the grapefruit LaCroix. 

With her Jersey-girl attitude and romantic Italian soul, this sonorous-voiced beauty brings her own edgy flair to the country music scene. This songstress recently conquered a new life goal of having her debut song, Kiss Me, played at an official Chicago Bulls NBA home game. This down-to-earth artist has a sassy edge that shines through her lyrics, stage presence, and fresh demeanor. Her bold vocals and effortlessly long-held notes exude confidence and were born for stardom. Naturally drawn to be a musician, Calabrese shyly started out by singing into her hairbrush as a child. Now living in Nashville, Calabrese juggles being a music artist while simultaneously being a full-time ER nurse and a newly-licensed realtor. She recorded her first project which produced her debut single with Grammy-nominated music producer Kent Wells, best known for producing Dolly Parton. Since then, she has had numerous chart-topping singles on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart, has done a full-fledge radio tour, endless performances, and garnered great reviews from industry critics, including calling her the next Sara Evans.
Twitter: @kaylacalabrese
Instagram: @kaylacmusic
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Mary Ann Kaylor Griffiths

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