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Country Singer Erin Kirby on 'Pick My Own Flowers' and Bringing New Listeners to the Genre

Music & Podcasts

Tue, May 14

From Atlanta, to LA, to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville - 20 year old country singer Erin Kirby has already been on a diverse musical journey.

Starting out in pop and R&B, she arrived at the destination of country music only a few years ago - and has since enjoyed success with singles such as ‘I Can Lie (The Truth Is)’ (with Kameron Marlowe), ‘Boys These Days’, and the recently released ‘Pick My Own Flowers’.

Last month, she spoke with The Teen Magazine about her career so far, teased the release of some new music, and explained why she wants to be the artist that brings new listeners to the genre…

Sam: Let’s start right from the beginning – from getting started to where you are now, what's your musical journey been like?

Erin: It's been pretty crazy. I started very young - I decided at the age of eight that I wanted to do a pageant. And I am definitely a tomboy, [I was] very much was a tomboy as a child.

So my mom was a little caught off guard. But they influenced me to do the talent portion because I was always singing and, immediately, I was like absolutely yes: let's make the stage more than just my bedroom.

So I did the talent competition within the pageant and I loved it. I loved singing more than anything but I continued with pageants, just because I was so young. There's not really anywhere else for an 8 year old to be performing, so pageant was where it was going to be.

I did that until I was about 12, and started writing at that same age. I jumped into just playing shows in Atlanta, Georgia - I'm from Georgia, so that's the biggest major city near where I'm from.

I would just play open mic shows - whatever I could find - and eventually I started writing and releasing music.

Then when COVID happened, I'd spent a lot of time in LA - so I was sent back to Georgia, fell in love with country music, and realized that, you know, I'm from a really small town, so what am I doing like being in the very R&B scene in Atlanta and LA? I started coming to Nashville and then jumped into country music.

Courtesy of Erin Kirby

Sam: So country music hasn’t always been part of your life?

Erin: It really wasn’t. I never listened to country music growing up. My mom is from Chicago, so we listened to a lot of R&B, Motown… when I first started singing, it was Etta James and James Brown - no country music at all.

And [then] I went to what I like to call ‘Jesus camp’. I was a worship leader at a middle school camp for a week and one of the other worship leaders actually is a country artist.

The whole week he made me listen to country music. At first I was like, what is this? I don't listen to country.

And then I fell in love with that. I found myself listening to it all the time. My accent was coming out as is and it wasn't something I could hide. So I just had this realization of: I'm kind of putting on an act. Like, I'm a country girl from a country town and I love this music, so where have you been all my life? I'm gonna do it now.

Sam: And it's quite an exciting time for kind of country music as a genre as well, isn't it? It's finding new, younger audiences from all around the world. So what is it like to be part of the genre at this time?

Erin: It is amazing. Honestly, my goal in country music as someone that didn't grow up in it is to be that artist that pulls someone into country music. And so I want somebody that listens to mainly pop or mainly rap, [to] hear my song and they're like: “Wait, this is kind of cool… I like this song. Let me jump into this a little bit more."

And you know, if you put a playlist on shuffle, maybe it's Cody Johnson that comes up next and they're like: “Well, it's taking a turn.” But I love it, so I just wanna be that artist. And I think that right now is definitely an opportunity to do that.

Sam: ‘Pick My Own Flowers’ is doing very well on streaming platforms and it sounds fantastic! What does that song mean to you?

Erin: It's actually one of the first songs that I wrote coming into Nashville. I think I had been here for two months when we wrote that song. One of the co-writers, Phil Barton, started singing it and I loved it, immediately connected with it.

Because being a tomboy and growing up as maybe not so much a girly girl, but also a little bit of a girly girl, I am very independent. And so this song definitely speaks to my character and who I am, and I wanted to put it out with the message [of] you know you are worth more than a broken relationship.

I am a Christian and so I believe that I've been called to secular music to spread the Lord's light in a different angle, without just singing about Jesus, and I think this is His way of me saying to girls and even guys that are listening that you're worth more than a broken relationship. The Lord made you so perfectly, so just understand that if you're going through something bad, you're not alone, but you've got this.

Sam: And that's obviously something that a lot of your followers and fans felt as well - I know that it was a while in the making and people really wanted the full release version released. So what was it then, that led you to not put it out sooner?

Erin: I was going to release it about a year after we wrote it, but something in me was just is telling me it's not the time. We had written so many other songs that one did not really match that vibe.

I just felt that those songs were not matching up with what ‘Pick My Own Flowers’ was. And so I said let's put a hold on it. Either we'll never release it or we will release it one day when the timing is right. And it came on its own up on TikTok, people started using it, I started getting more messages, and I decided maybe this is the time to release it.

So I let that ride out a little bit and decided let's go ahead and jump off 2024 with Pick My Own Flowers – it’s feeling like the right year.

Sam: And with regards to that social media traction – that was an instrumental part of your collaboration on I Can Lie (The Truth Is). So can you share a bit about how working with Kameron Marlowe came about?

Erin: Yeah, so he posted a voice memo recording of I Can Lie (The Truth Is) looking for a female to duet the song. And I had decided, I've covered so many of the songs, I'm such a big fan,I'm just going to duet it. Maybe he'll see it and comment.

And that would be so cool. And that was all that I thought was going to come from it.

And it became so much more. People were tagging him in in my comments for a very long time, tagging me in his comments, and it got to the point where I would be going live and every comment was just like, so where's the song? Where is it? And I'm like, I can't do anything - like I appreciate y'all so much, but I've heard nothing.

It's been probably almost six months and I don't know. So it was funny because he ended up duetting the video and saying, “Hey, this is me wanting you to be on the song” and then I got so excited. But nothing came from it.

My manager had been chatting with his manager behind the scenes and told me that we were going to lunch. I was going to lunch with my manager so I was very in casual fit. And we actually pulled up to the studio, and Kameron surprised me, saying: “You're not going to lunch today, so hope you didn't come in hungry, but I'd love for you to record the song today if you're open to it. And if you don't, that's OK.”

I was like: “You didn't even need to say that last sentence! Of course I do. Let's get the ball rolling. Let's do it.” And we just released the song right after that.

Sam: You just went in straight away and did it?

Erin: Yeah. I mean, really obviously, I listened to the song. But it wasn't that I'd listened to it so much that I knew every word and really knew the second verse.

In a way, [it] kind of worked out because Kameron wanted me to have my own spin on it. So I could sing that whole verse in the first verse and get it note for note, but the second verse I was able to make it my own, which was really cool.

Sam: And then you debuted it at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, what was that experience like? A lot of big names have performed there - it’s an iconic venue, isn’t it?

Erin: Oh yes, legendary. The shows are amazing. Kameron loves to catch me off guard.

He called me the day before and was like, “Hey, I'm playing tomorrow. Do you want to play the song with me?” And I'm like: “Absolutely. Yes. What am I gonna wear and how do I get my Mom here?! But yes, yes, I'll be there.” And it was amazing. It's so funny because the first time I ever attended the Opry, Kameron was actually playing. So it was a full circle moment. It was really awesome.

I was super nervous to play. But as soon as I stepped on that stage it was just like, I'm meant to be here. This is awesome. All the nerves went away.

Sam: Is he somebody that you've kind of looked up to for a while. How did you feel to actually now be working with him and kind of get getting to know him?

Erin: It's really wild. Every single song of his I have downloaded. I love all of his music.

Now I get to have a song with Kameron Marlowe. It's just wild.

Courtesy of Erin Kirby

Sam: Is there anybody else then that you kind of might have your eye on to work with in the future?

Erin: Oh goodness, I've always said that Post Malone would be like one of my main collaborations I would want to do. And now that he's coming into country, maybe there's a possibility for that.

Sam: He is doing quite a few collaborations at the moment…

Erin: Maybe he needs me to come up in there and do a collaboration with him! (laughs). I would love that. That's definitely a dream.

I think Hardy would be another one like he, you know, he comes out with Hixtapes and I would love to be on a Hixtape with Hardy. I think he's awesome. His songwriting is awesome and his voice is just so recognizable. I just love the tone of his voice.

Sam: And with regards to other things that might be in the future, what are your plans for this year? I imagine you've probably got some unreleased music that you're hoping to put out. What can you tell us about that?

Erin: Yes - I actually just cut a final vocal yesterday for a song I'm really excited about, and I feel might be the next release. We are just currently getting in the studio cutting vocals and finishing up those songs so that they will be really soon. There's going to be a lot of releases this year.

I'm hoping to play more shows, so stay tuned on the social media because I usually post about them there, but that's kind of my goal for this year is a lot more shows than releasing a lot more songs, maybe even in EP.

Sam: I was going to say is an EP on the horizon because you’ve only released country singles to date, haven't you? So is an EP the end goal for this era of your career?

Erin: I think so. I think it'll be coming really soon. So we'll see…

Sam: You think it'll be coming really soon? Because that sounds like you might know it's coming really soon, but you perhaps don’t want to let on to it…

Erin: (laughs) We shall see what works out, you know? Just like ‘Pick My Own Flowers’, we had the release date figured out and decided to hold. So you never know what might come when we get closer to that date. So I'm just going to say I think so.

Sam: We were talking earlier about people who usually listen to other genres and that you want to be the artist that bridges them into the genre. So for any potential new listeners reading this, how would you describe your music to them and the message that you want to convey?

Erin: I would say my music is country. The stuff I have released previously leans more on the commercial country side. We are leaning into the soulful countryside.

I think that my voice has a soulful tone that you can find in all my songs, so I think that it's made for every listener. It's got hits of all different genres, especially because I worked in R&B and pop like it's got that in there just a little bit. So this is music for everyone - it's not just for one listener - I make the songs for everyone to listen to and love. So I hope you give it a shot.

Listen to ‘Pick My Own Flowers’ on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

Stay up-to-date with all the latest by following Erin Kirby on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Sam Burton
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Sam Burton is the Managing Editor of Interviews at The Teen Magazine.