Rising star Kaylee Rose writes and performs music that owes a little to a lot of styles. That’s partly due to her Florida background, as she was born in Miami and raised in St. Augustine. The Sunshine State has historically poured out a wide variety of sounds, from the Southern rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd to straight-up country acts like John Anderson and Jake Owen, and Miami-based hip-hop and rap. “I grew up around diverse styles,” says the 23-year-old singer/songwriter. “My music is country but I also have that urban hip-hop feel.”
Rose has drawn freely from that deep well of Florida music, but she’ll tell you that her biggest influence remains the state’s most famous musical product – Tom Petty. “He is definitely my favorite,” says Rose. “I remember that ‘Free Fallin’” was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on guitar. He was just in his own lane as an artist.”
Petty hailed from the college town of Gainesville, home to the University of Florida, where Rose happens to keeps a foothold – by long distance, anyway. She’s taking online classes at the school from her permanent residence in Nashville, another of modern technology’s marvels. “I’m your standard Business major,” Rose says. “It’s so great that I can do this from my home.”
Away from her studies, Rose focuses on what brought her to Music City in the first place, performing and songwriting. She plays regularly around Nashville at clubs and writers’ nights, and has done stints at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row. Rose has also released a powerful new single, simply titled “Stuff,” to radio and digital outlets. “Stuff” refers to the tangible objects one leaves behind after a breakup and the emotional attachment one feels for those things. Rose co-wrote the tune with Jess Soccorsi and Blane Mitchell, and it was, as is often stated, based on real-life events.
“My friend went through a breakup,” Rose begins. “She still had her boyfriend’s belongings and I was so amazed that she couldn’t let them go. It was his ‘stuff,’ you could say, but it was more than that. Letting go of those things might feel like you are letting go of that person. The song started with that idea.” The emotion of the message can be summed up in the key lines, “Not ready to say goodbye/When it’s love, it’s not just stuff.” And though the song has only been in release since March, it’s already having an impact with listeners.
“I was out somewhere,” Rose begins, “and this girl comes up to me and says, ‘Are you Kaylee Rose?’ Then she goes, ‘My roommate heard your song and it really touched her..’ She was going through the same thing, a breakup, but she saw an ever deeper meaning to the song. I couldn’t believe that something like that happened so soon. I love that people can relate to ‘Stuff’ and can have their own meaning to it.”
Rose is definitely living out her dream, as she had her sights on Nashville even at a young age. She basically taught herself to play guitar after she received one from her dad. At only 14, she started booking after-school and weekend gigs around St. Augustine. After high school, Rose continued her quest, playing gigs everywhere she could to save enough money to move to Nashville. She made the move a little more than three years ago and has easily immersed herself in all that the city and the industry have to offer.
One of her go-to spots is the popular Tin Roof, located right off Music Row. “I just love that place,” she says with a zeal that suggests she’s a regular. “It just has this great local feel to it, and they have really good live music there. And I love the food, too,” she adds, laughing.
At the moment, Rose is concentrating on writing singles. “I have different layers to my writing,” she says, “and I want to explore that a little more. I think that being a songwriter is like being the author of a fiction book. You have different characters and different scenarios. There is just a little bit of everything to my music.
You can hear Kaylee Rose’s single “Stuff” on Spotify and other services. For more on Kaylee, visit her website and follow her on social media.