Kimberly performed The Star Spangled Banner at the opening ceremonies for Metro Nashville’s biggest stars this year. No, I’m not talking about the CMA Awards. I’m not talking about the CMT Music Awards either.
These thirteen stars are better known as All-Stars. They speak softly (without microphones) and they carry a big stick (a baseball bat to be exact). Kimberly was at Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville, news cameras pointed, to stir up an already emotional crowd – there to celebrate the 2012 Little League World Series National Champions.
And she was flawless.
I’ve had the pleasure to accompany Kimberly on piano for performances and an audition at The Bluebird Café. I can testify that no matter the intensity of the situation, she is always flawless.
I asked Kimberly to talk about life as a singer/songwriter pursuing Jazz music in Nashville.
Tell us about any projects you are working on.
I am currently concentrating on writing the best songs that I can, in an effort to be able to focus on a quality project in the near future. Right now I am focused on songwriting and co-writing with other professional songwriters to be able to present a finished project that will be represent my vocal style with quality lyrics. I am also networking with producers and knowledgeable industry contacts to try and secure a good foundation in coordinating the direction of my music.
Tell us about your co-writing experiences.
It just depends who you co-write with. You either “click” with someone in a co-write, or you don’t. You attempt to make every co-write productive, and focus your efforts on channeling ideas cohesively.
How did you get into songwriting?
I started songwriting at about 17 years old. Growing up, I had always loved to write and share poetry. I guess it just came natural to me. I wrote my first song on the back porch of my childhood home in Va. I remember that I was so proud of it; I just had to get it recorded. My mom still treasures that recording today.
What is it like to pursue a career in jazz in the Nashville area?
I really thought pursuing Jazz music in Nashville was going to be challenging. As you live in Nashville you realize that there are all kinds of people pursuing various different kinds of music. It’s not just a country music world! The Nashville Jazz Workshop has really helped. It is a nonprofit organization that has helped me learn vocal techniques with their wonderfully trained teachers. It’s a great place to get some direction or just to learn more about Jazz music in general.
What is the best thing about living in Nashville as a singer/songwriter?
The best thing about living in Nashville as an Artist is actually being able to live a dream that you always thought was out of reach – to look around and see so many new and successful people striving to be the best at their craft. There are so many opportunities to be able to perform, compared to the small town where I grew up, and the more opportunities that are presented, the better chance we have of getting necessary exposure toward becoming the successful artists we wish to be.
What are the challenges of living in Nashville?
Challenges make us who we are. We do what we do, and we hope for the best. I believe we do this because we love it; therefore, challenges are just the next step in getting us where we need and want to be. I don’t believe the challenges of Nashville are greater than any other music city. This business is tough, but it makes us stronger.
What does your dream career look like?
I would love to tour the country; meeting people who appreciate my songs as I share my gift and the love I have for my art/career. The ultimate goal is that I can live my life doing what I love to do and touching people’s hearts through my music.
What advice would you give a struggling singer/songwriter?
Look around. There are all kinds of people who can help you, other singer/songwriters you can network with that can give you advice. The music industry is full of rejection, but there are willing people who see talent and do what they can to help. Organizations like BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, have beneficial contacts and information to help you further your career as well.
Who is your favorite piano accompanist?
Anita, of course! 🙂
That’s me! Anita, Noted in Nashville
For more information on Kimberly, including ways to purchase her music, please visit her website at http://www.kimberlyshifflett.com/.
Kimberly is also on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.