Erin Kinsey’s Bet on Her Personal Story Is Paying Off [Exclusive Interview]
Erin Kinsey admits she wanted people to like her. The "Bet My Heart" and "Vegas" singer smiles as she reflects on the growing pains and the times she felt she needed to follow some kind of country music formula.
That's not the case any longer, and she'll thank her fans for setting her straight.
"I knew — let’s just call it what it is — probably we should put a truck in there, probably we should keep it upbeat, keep it positive, keep it light," Kinsey says, checking off the commercial songwriting boxes.
This was during her transition from Texas teen to promising Nashville newcomer — a time when so many people feel lost.
"The more I wrote — and especially after I started releasing music and performing more, and kind of turning this one-way communication into a two-way — I learned that the stuff I wrote that was most personal to me was the stuff people related to the most."
Creatives can copy and paste that quote somewhere — she won't mind. The Dallas native is still young and still learning, but she's now able to articulate who she is in conversation and song. Bet My Heart is her new, seven-song EP, and it's filled with emotional expressions ("Always Never"), whimsies ("Vegas") and raw country truth ("Handful").
The latter is one she most looks forward to singing every night. Kinsey will scan the crowd, looking for couples.
“To watch the boyfriends look at their girl like, ‘Yep, you’re a handful’ … and the girl go, ‘Yep, I know I’m a handful but I’m worth it,’ It’s hilarious," she says.
The concept of songwriting as a two-way communication is often stated without explanation, making it a kind of curious cliché interpreted as yet another way for artist to gush on fans. Kinsey's understanding is a bit deeper. Songs like "Boys in Boots" and "Bet My Heart" don't make this EP without a live performance. She liked both, but it wasn't until she saw her audience react that she fell in love.
The roles reverse for "Always Never," a teenage breakup ballad. There's a million of these in country and pop music, but Kinsey's vocals still cut deep.
"You were always saying the right thing / Just never saying what you really mean / Always had a leaving tendency / Just never though that you'd be leaving me / Six years, two months, day three / It was always never meant to be / Knew you well enough to know what you need / It was always never gonna be me."
“In the best possible way, I’m learning I’m not special at all," Kinsey says, recognizing the power of a universal message.
One year ago, Kinsey told Taste of Country of her decision to only write her experiences and the new music stays true to the mission. This isn't to say she's quit thinking about the response. New music from a country newcomer is equal parts introduction and expression, hence all the teenage anxiety. She uses a very relatable metaphor to make her point.
"I feel like we had our first date and people said, 'I’ll see you again, let’s give this a shot,'" the 22-year-old shares, starting a smile that becomes laughter.
"I feel like this EP is like, 'You know how I said I had an ex-boyfriend? Well here are the dirty details!’"
Erin Kinsey's Bet My Heart EP drops May 19 on Records Nashville.