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ARTS AND CULTURE: Kayla Medlen

Genre Style: Blues/Soul/Singer-Songwriter

Location: Huntington, West Virginia

How did the project start? I have always been a singer. After several years of going to Marshall University and being in their vocal program, I decided to play out in bands. It was challenging and fun. From there, I continuously pushed to become more versatile in songwriting and performing solo. The rest is history in the making with a lot of vulnerability and sleepless nights of song writing.

What are three adjectives to describe your style? Spunky, energetic and soulicious

Walk us through your creative process. Does it vary, if so, how? It does vary. I think it really depends on what I am going through. Many of my life experiences can be seen through my songs. Sometimes it is pieced together through snippets of lyrics I keep on my phone when I become inspired. Sometimes a simple thought can turn into a song written in an hour. Regardless, I try to make my songs relatable to any and all listeners.

How has your art evolved since you started? Maybe ask the people who had to suffer through my early years? Ha ha. I think it is ever evolving. I definitely listen more. The little details and how I fit in the mix of the entire song. I find importance in evaluating my performances. I focus more on the heart of the song and telling a story with emotions backing it more than I used to. Once you stop evolving, your music becomes stagnant. I hope to continue to evolve and learn.

What is your favorite creative tool, and why? This is going to sound wild and very hippie of me, but most definitely nature. There is something about being outside, feeling the fresh air, listening to the birds and just relaxing my brain. Soaking in emotions and becoming inspired. This allows me to compartmentalize my feelings best into song form.

What about being an artist fills your cup? Why should others take interest in the arts? What about being artist doesn’t fill my cup? Music makes you feel possibly every single emotion that you could in life. Why would I not want to be a part of something as powerful as that. Being creative is a release of all the ugly in the world for me. It has been the one thing in life that has never failed me and the continuous thing that brings me happiness. Being that person on stage who holds your audiences’ emotions in the palm of your hands is breathtaking. It’s a powerful thing and I don’t think I could ever get enough of it. I am not sure if any of it doesn’t fill my cup. Maybe…it’s often times hard to be taken seriously and showcased fairly as a woman in the business. But even then, I enjoy the challenge of proving the boys wrong.

Any advice for new or struggling artists?  Don’t quit. You are going to write terrible songs. You are going to have terrible shows but then you are going to have that one where you surprise yourself and it will make you want to work even harder. Be open minded and listen to all the critique you can, then go do better. And don’t be too prideful to not support those musicians around you. Go to the show and take everything in that they are doing. Secondly, KNOW YOUR INSTRUMENT. Practice every day in some form. Live with your instrument. Find what inspires you and run with it until you look back and realize all the struggling was worth it. Success is a measure that you create for yourself. Create it, accomplish it and then set a new goal.

What upcoming project should we look for, and where can we look for it? I am working to get out an all-original EP with some very important people in my life. Follow me on my social media pages for all the deets. I plan for it to be out this summer! I also have a music podcast I have been pushing as another outlet for creativity. It’s called “Rockin with Bach.” I’d love for everyone to check it out. It’s cohosted with my guitarist, JB Stalnaker, and can be found on all major music platforms.

What question do you never get asked that you would like to be asked?  How would you answer? If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be? Thank you for continuously supporting a strong headed woman in the music business who is by “worldly definition” supposed to be outshone by men. I surely hope you see the passion and love I have performing. Every time I take the stage, I do it with the intention of putting on a passion filled, meaningful bad mama jama show for you. I am so grateful for all the love I am continuously shown!

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