How Kylie Frey Is Bringing Her ‘Rodeo Queen’ Past Into Her Music Career
Kylie Frey earned the title of "rodeo queen" in her youth, and although she has turned her focus to music in adulthood, she’s bringing her love for rodeo into her music career. The Louisiana-born singer released her Rodeo Queen EP in 2020, and with songs including “Spur of the Moment,” “Two Dollar Billionaire” and “Horses in Heaven,” its clear her upbringing surrounded by cowboy country music and rodeo seeps into who she is as an artist.
"I grew up rodeoing, and there was a lot of ‘90s country and a lot of cowboy country that I grew up on," Frey told Taste of Country in a May interview at the 26th Annual Key West Songwriters Festival. "My heart just kind of gravitated towards ‘70s and ‘80s country as I got older and dug back. That’s just what makes my heart light up, so I just purely follow that."
Once Frey found her calling to pursue music, she had to put her other passion of rodeo aside, which she says broke "a little part" of her heart. However, Frey has found a new community through her music career, and she’s met some people, including former bull rider Cody Johnson, who share her love for the rodeo life. Frey opened for Johnson on tour this past spring, and she had a revelation about how to bring both of her passions together.
"He sort of had a similar thing with bull riding," she says. "It was just really encouraging. I was roping the dummy with his guitar player last week, and we were just talking, and he was like, 'Yeah, Cody got into roping two years ago,' and all this stuff. So, it’s just really encouraging to know that things go in full circles and I can always come back around and let my success lend into how I want to spend my spare time."
In addition to being able to briefly revisit her rodeo past, Frey says the tour gave her a "front row seat" to Johnson’s fast-rising career, and she has gained lessons that she will bring into her own journey.
"I’m just kind of learning how I want to do this through following people’s footsteps like Cody Johnson," she says.
Johnson and his team enlisted Frey to sing background vocals on two songs that appear on his latest project, Human: The Double Album. Frey’s voice appears on “Made a Home” as well as the title track and Johnson’s new single, “Human.”
"I heard that song, and it just moved me to tears," Frey says of "Human."
"At the end of the day, we are all human and we gotta just love each other through the good and the bad and the ugly."
Frey is also bringing the rodeo-inspired country sound she loves into her version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” which transforms the tune with fiddle, Frey’s country voice and plenty of twang. Originally released a solo track on her Rodeo Queen project, Frey teamed up with fellow singer Bri Bagwell for a duet of the song released in February. The tune is now making its way up the Texas Country charts.
"Bri is one of those females, especially in the Texas music scene, that has just conquered it," says Frey. "We’ve gotten to know each other from being in a similar circle down there in Texas, and I’ve just always wanted to do something with her, and this kind of felt like the perfect fit."
Frey is also featured on another recent collaboration called "Your Bar Now" with Tyler Halverson, and she will be playing solo shows and festivals for the duration of the summer.