Erin Kirby is a country music singer/song from the small town of Jasper, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. She got her start in music by being in pageants, the kinds that have talent as part of the criterion. She did community service-based, natural pageants that don’t allow makeup for ages nine and under. Erin completed in pageants singing pop tunes until she was about 12 years old. Pageants gave her a place to sing and showcase her talent.
Her mother liked the Motown sound and that is what they mainly listened to. They listened to James Brown, Nina Simone, and especially Etta James. Her dad liked classic rock and would often drop them off at their Christian school blasting Guns ‘N Roses.
Around that same age, she began songwriting. She learned the art of co-writing and she and her parents traveled to Nashville to hone her craft. By age thirteen, she regularly visited Atlanta and Nashville where she practiced her singing and songwriting.
By the age of 14, she got invited to sing at the iconic Apollo Theater in New York City.
Erin explained how she came across the enviable opportunity. “It’s one of my favorite stages and something I always wanted to do. I had a casting agent reach out to me on Instagram and they told me they were doing a season of “Showtime at the Apollo” with Steve Harvey, and they thought I would be a great fit. To me, it was a no-brainer.”
She auditioned and made it and flew out to New York to do the show. “I was so excited to sing on the stage where so many legends have performed,” she gushed.
The song they picked for her was Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold.” Even though she was a bit nervous, the audience gave her a standing ovation and she made it to the top three in her episode.
By the time she was 16, the pandemic was in full swing, and this gave the singer/songwriter a chance to explore who she was and what she wanted out of her music. This was when she began to embrace country music.
Erin attended a camp for Christian worship leaders and one of the leaders exposed her to some newer country music like Hardy and Morgan Wallen. “I just loved it,” she recalled.
Her brother dove into country music around the same time and they discovered Hank Jr. and Keith Whitley together.
Even though she is still so young, she has always had a big voice with a vast range. Initially, she started singing pop but realized that because she was from rural Georgia, her voice was naturally inclined to sing country. She confessed, “It got to the point where I felt like I was putting on an act or being another person who I wasn’t. You could hear my southern accent in all the songs that I was recording.”
Erin Kirby was on the strangest season of American Idol in 2020 during COVID-19. And while she made it to Hollywood, the rest of the season would be played out with no audience.
She concurred, “People were doing it from their house. It was hilarious to watch.”
And even if you don’t win the competition, just being on national television can be a boost to your career.
Besides Kirby, artists like Dillian James and Grace Leer are now making headway in Nashville. In the pop world, Lauren Spencer-Smith, Geena Fontanella, and Matt Hanson were all contestants from American Idol Season 18 who did not win but are doing quite well on TikTok and in their careers.
The biggest boost to Erin’s career came when country crooner Kameron Marlow discovered her on TikTok. He was looking for a duet partner for his new single, “I Can Lie (The Truth Is).” When her version of the duet went viral, he paid attention and wisely arranged for her to be on the final recording.
“I have always been a huge fan of Kameron. When he posted the song “I Can Lie (The Truth Is), I decided to make a TikTok duet of the song just for fun. I did not think it would do as well as it did,” she advised.
The song is an absolute masterpiece and when Erin added her booming vocals to the tune, it pushed it right over the edge. Billboard featured the song as a Must Hear New Song and the song currently has well over one million streams on Spotify alone. They would go on to debut the song at the Opry this year.
Now that Erin has dived headfirst into the country music world, she has released other endearing tunes like “Boys These Days” and “Raised In A Barn.” But her countriest song to date was released in August and is called, “Redneck Rich.” With lyrics like I got a creek out back with a honey hole/ A labrador, an ol zebco/ A shotgun, rifle, and a 45/ In a truck that’s stuck in four wheel drive/ It ain’t much but that’s all the stuff I need/ Sling a little mud way out in the sticks/ Raise one up if you’re redneck rich, the song is fun and relatable and reminds me why I love country music so much.
She explained, “When I first began writing country music, there was still a little pop, but it was country. But as I continued writing I really fell in love with the deep traditional sound.”
And when you mix the elements of classic rock with a little bit of Motown that Kirby was raised with, and marry it with the traditional county sound, you get vocals and music that are next level, something you can sink your teeth in.
She has cut five new songs that have a rock edge but lean into the traditional country sound. I, for one, can’t wait to hear what else she has for us.
Whether or not you’ve heard of Erin Kirby before, rest assured that you will hear more about her in the days to come. The “it factor” to which many strive comes effortlessly for Erin. She has the confidence and conviction to take her career to the next level. But most importantly, Erin Kirby can sing!
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