by Steve Dollar | December 28, 2017

Young Gun: Singer-Songwriter Kim Paige

The Florida-grown musician makes her way in Nashville.

Photography by Carl Harkleroad

Although she’s a rising talent in Nashville, Kim Paige is never too far from the shores of her hometown, Ponte Vedra Beach. It was there that she fell in love with country superstar Faith Hill, with whom she once sang as a lucky teenage fan at a Jacksonville concert, and rode a jet ski she named FaithHillina. As a ninth-grader at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, she often skipped basketball practice to play piano. That paid off when she moved to Music City at age 18. Paige wrote a song for singer Kaylee Bell that became a No. 1 hit in Australia and collaborated with David Hodges of Evanescence. Most recently Paige recorded an all-girl version of the song, “Female,” made popular by Keith Urban, with a collective of songwriters called the Song Suffragettes, and a video of the cover performance aired on Today this winter. Now, she’s pushing her solo career as a performer, with a string of pending song releases and the track “We Need a Wife,” a sassy  take on domestic discontent. The singer-songwriter, 25, tells Flamingo how she got there.

When did you start writing your own songs?

KP: When I was in eighth grade, my grandma passed away from leukemia and a girl at my school committed suicide. Us girls were just wearing our hearts on our sleeves. There was a lot of emotion that I was going through, and I got a guitar and started writing this really sad song to make me happy. It was called “Life Will Be Beautiful Again.” My family and friends loved it, but, oh, it was terrible. Most of my songs after that were way worse!

What was it like moving straight to Nashville after graduation?

KP: It’s definitely been a roller-coaster. I quickly went from being a huge fish in a small pond to being a very small fish in a very large pond.

You were fortunate enough to land a four-year songwriting deal while you attended Belmont University. How did things change as you developed a creative voice?

KP: People I was writing for before, it was just trying to write the next radio hit. When I started writing this [new] batch of songs, these songs are so me. They’re fun. It’s stuff I cannot wait to play live for people. I love it and I want to put a smile on people’s faces. Sad songs for me were easy, writing how you feel. It’s switched over now. It’s pretty easy for me to write a fun song and tap into those emotions. Happy songs are challenging to write at times, but they started coming really natural to me. I’m always in my element here in Nashville. I’m writing my life, I feel, and I don’t really know how I got there.

In April, 6,000 fans came out to Roscolusa, the songwriters festival you produce in your hometown. And you brought along a lot of your pals from Nashville. How did the festival start?

KP: In 2012, we all came down there and wrote songs all week and then invited a bunch of family friends and their friends, and we ended up having 150 people. My parents and their friends brought over tons of outdoor furniture. My dad’s company built a tiny stage that was two feet off the ground. We put Christmas tree lights up there. It was so cool. We played music all night long. We paid all our expenses, and I think we all made $25. We were happy.

Where else can your Florida fans see you?

KP: I play a lot of music festivals. Key West. The Island Hopper Songwriter Festival in Captiva. I opened for Clint Black at the Florida Theatre [in Jacksonville] in March, and that was my biggest dream come true. It was always my dream to play the Florida Theatre. I had never even seen the stage before. So to be behind the scenes and getting ready … I had my band with me. Oh my gosh, it was frickin’ cool.

For more info visit: kimpaigemusic.com

Photography by Jason Myers

 


3 Top SINGLES by Kim Paige

“We Need a Wife!”
“Roll up Your Sleeves”
“Getting Along Famously”