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Erin Kinsey joins Up N Country to talk about performing at C2C in London, touring with Dylan Scott, and her involvement with fundraising for Breast Cancer with her song called “Pink.”

UpNCountry
Featured Artist

Biography

Whether it’s Music City or Vegas, you’ve gotta go big or go home, and one thing is clear about RECORDS Nashville country artist Erin Kinsey. She’s not afraid to go all in. Never has been. Still just 22 years old, she’s one of those people who goes after what she wants, and doesn’t look back. It was plain to see in 2022, when her 40 East EP debut told the true story of a girl following her dreams down the highway, only to land in Nashville with promise and poise.

But a lot can happen in a year, and with her new EP, Bet My Heart, Kinsey once again lays it all down … on life, and on love. “For better or worse, I’m not afraid of putting it all on the line,” she explains. “My first EP was full of firsts for me, but I’m even more excited to reintroduce myself. ‘Cause I grew up a lot in the last year.”

With an effortless, bright vocal, the skills of a master musician and songs capturing all the hope and angst of a young woman coming into her own, that growth came in many forms. Her next chapter will build on a still-young career that already counts more than 60 million career streams to its credit, plus a freewheeling breakout hit with “Just Drive,” a Grand Ole Opry debut and a TikTok following of over 250,000 totally-engaged users.

But that’s just the professional side. Matching youthful effervescence to beyond-her-years wisdom and a heartening, blue-sky country sound, Bet My Heart also finds Kinsey taking the next steps of her personal journey – and doing so right alongside her fans. Good thing she’s no stranger to a fearless leap.

Growing up in Texas with a loving, quintessentially American family, it was a Sunday morning church pew where she first fell in love with music. She jokes now that bedtime often included a (secret) binge of music videos, and by preschool, Kinsey had started playing piano. But at 10-years-old, she was already over Schumann and Mozart … she wanted to play like Swift and Miranda instead.

Beginning a borderline-obsessive pursuit, Kinsey got a guitar for Christmas and dove in headfirst, soon finding a mentor to teach the songs she heard on country radio. Fully devoted, she practiced two or sometimes four hours a day after school, then began writing and singing her own songs at 11, just like her heroes. Local performances soon followed, and when Kinsey learned to transfer what she knew about piano and guitar to other instruments, it was all over. She now plays seven instruments in total, and plays them well.

“After I figured out what I could do, it was like nothing else mattered,” she describes. Clearly talented, Kinsey could have taken her skills in any direction. Like most kids she loved all kinds of music – from her contemporary country icons to the emotionally-connected rock of John Mayer and Paramore – but since the beginning, her songs were about deeply personal storytelling … and a down- to-earth approach.

“Especially through middle and high school, there were a lot of feelings I didn’t know what to do with, and country songs gave me a place to go where nobody was telling me what I should or shouldn’t be feeling,” she explains. “Plus, I would love to say I’m a girl who looks like a superstar every day – but I’m not. If there’s a way for me to wear leggings and a sweatshirt, with no makeup, I’m gonna do that!”

With her mind made up, Kinsey didn’t hesitate to take her first truly big risk. Just like Dolly Parton, she left home for Nashville the day after her high-school graduation, rolling down I-40 East at just 17 years old like her debut EP implies. That project followed a series of charming digital hits, and its self- written songs were built on what she knew.

But with its release in the rearview, things have changed. Getting more vulnerable with time, she’s spent the last year writing out her life in real time, exploring ups and downs and coming away with an empowering truth. Life rarely turns out the way we expect, Kinsey explains, but with a shoulder to lean on, it can be a beautiful ride.

“The last EP was honest, they were all my stories, but I definitely left out a lot,” she says. “I’m not leaving out anything on this one.” Each one infused with her “all in” nature, six fresh songs tackle the realities of life as a 20-something dreamer, with Kinsey writing alongside hit makers like Sarah Buxton, Sara Davis, Parker Welling and Josh Kerr – who also produced four of the new tracks.

Calling the set a “time capsule” for where she’s ended up, its themes include everything from dressed- for-comfort romance to the tough truth that some things are just not meant to be, and the true joy of becoming your own person. Digging into the heart of young talent reaching for next-level artistry, it’s a more complete look at who this emerging star is, with a crisp, pop-country sound that reflects her personality to a “T.” Grounded as a gravel road. Sunny and hopeful as a Texas sunrise. And living on the rootsy rush of energy that comes from exploring the world like it’s brand new – with all the passion and heartbreak that entails.

Looking at the EP now, Kinsey says that’s on purpose. She’s always nurtured a two-way connection with fans – on stage, and especially on social media – but Bet My Heart puts the instinct in song. She feels compelled to be there with her fans, many of whom are young women just like herself. They’re all going through the same wins and losses of growing up, and hoping to hit the jackpot with the very next hand.

“I feel a responsibility to be completely honest with them, because they’re not just fans,” she explains. “They’re more like friends.” She’s no longer a wide-eyed Nashville newcomer, that much is true. And with some miles on her boots – and scars on her soul – she’s grown a lot through a crowded hour of life. But she’ll never be afraid to go all in, and with Bet My Heart, Kinsey wagers again that it all turns out for the best. She just hopes her fans will find that courage as well.

“The truth is we’re not alone,” she says. “We’re all going through this stuff. Life sucks sometimes – and sometimes it’s the best – but we’re all just trying to figure it out.”

Interview

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