Nashville artist Halle Kearns recently played to a live crowd again, but it wasn’t the fact that the performance was in her hometown of Missouri that made it special.
“I actually haven't got the chance to talk about this yet, but I had a mini meltdown after that show,” she laughs, quickly reassuring Headliner that it was “a good one, though”.
She remembers the reason why like it was yesterday: six years ago the aspiring singer songwriter wrote a bio about herself for a local music venue, envisioning a time when someone would sing her songs back to her.
“I wrote, ‘if Halle can one day look into a crowd and see a little girl singing the words back to her own songs, she will have achieved her wildest dreams’. I released my first single in July of 2020, and I haven't really got to play them out yet. At this charity event I played at the Rose Music Hall there was a little girl there who was about 12 years old, and she knew every single word to every song I've released.
"I couldn't even look at her when I was on stage because I was so emotional. After I finished playing I just sobbed because that is something that I've worked towards for six years, and just getting to feel that full circle moment was so beautiful and special. I'm sure she has no idea just how much it meant to me!”
There’s a reason it made Kearns so emotional; she moved from Missouri to Nashville (with a stepping stone stay in Kansas City along the way) in 2019 to make her music dream a reality, and her bold move paid off.
She burst onto the music scene in 2020 with her first three singles, culminating in the release of her debut EP, Finally at the end of the year. The EP reached over 4 million collective streams, reached number 7 in the US iTunes country charts and number 5 in the UK.
“I knew if I wanted to dip into the industry side of things and the business side, that I had to come to Nashville because this is where all of the labels, publishers, and anything to do with music business is located,” she explains.
“It's tough because every single day is different here, but that's my favorite part about it. I'm not a big routine person – I love the mystery of what each day is going to hold.”
Kearns shares that she’s not from a particularly musical family – “my mum would kill me for saying this, but she's 100% tone deaf and can’t sing a note to save her life,” – adding that her dad and three sisters are great singers but never pursued singing, however they all love music.
Kearns grew up listening to ‘90s country music from the likes of Martina McBride, The Chicks, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, George Strait, and then discovered Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Colbie Caillat, while Jason Mraz awakened her inner singer-songwriter.
“You can hear a lot of that influence in my songs now – a lot of country, for sure! I was definitely more shy with my love for music at first,” she admits. “I started playing guitar when I was about 13 years old; my parents got divorced when I was 12. I felt this therapeutic thing happening whenever I played guitar, so I really fell hard into it and it became my escape.
"When I was about 16 years old we started having these conversations about what's next and about going to college and I just said, ‘the thing I love more than anything in this world is playing and singing, and I know I haven't done anything with it yet as far as shows or anything, but I think this is what I want to do’. And from that point on, I just had my heart set on it. Right after high school I moved to Kansas City and just started playing full time.”