Interview with Kellie Coffey
by Janelle Landauer
In what ways do you feel you have changed (if any) since your debut CD?
So many ways, actually. First of all, I’m a new mom so I think having a child has made everything deeper for me… and fuller. I think of all of our feelings like that of a well – feelings that have gone even deeper in that well. And, I think too – even just with getting older and wiser – I’m singing better and writing better and performing better… so all of those things.
How did you initially get in touch with your producer for this project – Wayne Kirkpatrick?
Wayne and I have been friends for a long time. Actually, we wrote a lot of songs together in the very beginning. He’s a writer for Warner-Chappell which is the same company I write for. Judy Stakee is both of our publishers and she set us up – golly, it’s probably been 7 or 8 years ago. And, we wrote a song off my first record called “Why Wyoming.” I just have always loved him and we’ve been really good friends. I love the way he works – he’s real laid back which is kind of my personality. We spent like two years making the record and I loved every second of making the record with him. It was really, probably one of the most creative experiences I’ve ever had.
What is a typical day in the studio like for you?
Well, it depends on what we’re doing that day. If we’re doing like track stuff, then I’ll get there probably about 11 or so and we’ll cut tracks and have musicians come over. With vocals, we’ll maybe start in the afternoon around 2 and go until 5 or 6. But, it just depends on what we’re doing.
Your song “I Would Die For That” has touched so many people… Can you talk more about that song and your co-writing experience with James and Trina?
Absolutely. I put off having a baby to pursue my career and I woke up one day and I knew that I wanted to start my family. I guess you just kind of think it’ll be easy. And, it wasn’t for us. After trying for about a year and not being able to get pregnant, I started kind of getting scared and thinking that it wouldn’t happen for me or something. And, that maybe I waited too long. That’s how the song just kind of poured out one day in a writing session with Trina and James. I was just telling them about what I was going through. The amazing thing is, though, is that I found out I was pregnant within a couple days of writing the song. But, then I actually miscarried that baby… so I really even lived the song even deeper. That’s been kind of what I went through…. It’s nothing compared to what so many women and couples have gone through. And the stories that people have written in to me are completely heart-wrenching and I’ve cried over a lot of the comments up on YouTube. (Women and couples can go up there and write their comments after watching the video) It’s really humbling to read that people have taken inspiration from my song. But, I just feel like when you’re in that situation, it can feel kind of isolating and maybe that you’re the only one that is going through this. I know that it’s not true. After writing the song, I was pretty overwhelmed at how many women are going through this. I really can take heart in the fact that I feel like it’s giving a voice to women in that way. It’s something that people don’t talk about that often so it’s given a place for women to go and talk about it. That’s huge to me.
Since that song was very personal to you and you dealt with some of the same struggles mentioned – is there anything you would say to those who are at that point now where they want a baby but are struggling to have one?
Oh my gosh – yes. Just keep trying. It happened for us. We have a beautiful baby boy – Jackson. It’s the most amazing gift that we’ve ever been blessed with – ever. My heart goes out to those women and couples because I know where they are and I know how it feels. It’s really, really, really hard but just keep trying. Also, there are other ways to have a family like to adopt children. I know sometimes that’s really expensive and really difficult to do as well. But, I think that it’s basically just keeping at it. The dream doesn’t have to die if you can’t conceive yourself.
When you recorded the song, did you think it would have as much impact with the fans as it did?
No, because after we recorded it, I was actually kind of thinking ‘Well, I may not even put this on the record because I can’t even get through it without bawling.’ I thought, maybe we won’t put this on the album because I don’t think I could sing it ever - live. When we were doing the demo and I was singing it in the booth and the engineer that day… I came in from the booth and he was just crying. He said that he and his wife were going through this and that they’ve been trying to have a baby for a long time and they were going through all of the infertility treatments. When he started telling me this, I just thought ‘Well, I have to record this because – just for couples and women going through this out there that feel alone.’ So, that’s why I did it.
Do you have a favorite song on your new CD? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite song?
You know, my favorites change. Your favorite song is usually the last song that you have written. I think it changes with the mood I’m in. Like, if I want to be inspired, maybe ‘Walk On” would be the one that I turn on. I also like the song on my record a lot – called “I Had A Dream.” I just love how that one turned out. “I Thought I knew You Well’ is probably one of my favorites too. And, then, one that I didn’t write called “Everywhere” that actually Wayne wrote with JD Martin. That’s always been one of my favorite songs because it was on Wayne’s record. So, I covered it.
Where do you find the ideas and inspirations when writing songs?
Mainly, from my life and my diary – my journals. Everything - pretty much on this record is super personal and stuff that I’ve gone through. I always feel like if it touches me or strikes a chord in me, it’ll speak to someone else.
What goals have you accomplished and what do you still hope to accomplish with your music career?
Goodness! I think… well, I won the ACM Top New Female Vocalist award in 2003 and that was huge. I got to sing on the Grand Ole Opry which was a dream since I was a little girl. I’ve gotten to sing on big, major tours with Kenny Chesney and George Strait in front of huge amphitheaters and sold out crowds. I still think back, and think that that was so incredible that I got to do that. And things that I want to achieve – I’m really excited about where I am right now in my life because I’m doing everything that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a mom; I’m making records and I’m still singing and making music. I kind of like where I am in my life right now.
If you could collaborate with anyone musically, who would it be and why?
So many people! That’s a toughy… I love Vince Gill. I think he’s a beautiful, just soulful singer. Also, well, Wynonna just cut one of my songs which I’m really, really excited about. It’s going to be on her next record. And, I think she’s going to just sing it so beautifully but I’ve always been a huge fan of hers as well.
What do you like about touring? What do you dislike?
Touring: I dislike the travel as far as like not being home as much. That’s tough. But, when I do that, I’ll just take my family with me (laughs!) And then, also, maybe just like having to wear shower shoes, you know. (Because you never know where you’re going to shower! Laughs!) But, what I love about touring… is I love meeting the fans. And, I love talking to the fans and having that interaction. That’s what’s cool to me – is to get to meet people who say ‘Oh my gosh your song – it means this to me..” or “this is what I went through and your song helped me with that.” That’s exactly what it’s all about for me.
You’ve had the opportunity to tour with several great artists like Kenny Chesney and George Strait… What is one thing that you’ve learned the most from being on the road with other artists?
Well, Kenny Chesney is very, very smart. The way – his work ethic, I think, is the biggest thing that I learned from him. He watched his shows. He would videotape his shows like in the beginning (I think he still does it) and he would watch his shows and kind of hone his show by watching the video of it. And, also just the way he works out. He’s just got a really strong work ethic. I think that’s the main thing that I learned.
How do you balance your career with your family and friends when you are on the road?
I have lived away from my family awhile… unfortunately my family lives in Oklahoma. But, I’ve always been extremely close with my family. I think when I’m on the road - it’s just kind of the same. I talk to them on the phone, like constantly and all the time. And, they would come out and see my shows and stuff. So, actually I saw my family a lot when I was on the road because they would come out. They love it, are you kidding me? So, they would come out and hang out. It was really cool to have them out there.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
Probably, my mom. The way that she is a mother – she’s always been such a beautiful, wonderful mom. I guess that’s just the way I want to be a mom. She’s just an extremely giving person… yeah… (It’s going to make me cry!)
What advice would you give to those who plan to get into the music business?
I would say work really hard and write your own songs. And, try and start out and keep a journal and find out who you are and exactly what you want to say. And, how you want to say it and make a statement. And, work really hard.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all your fans and all our readers?
Thank you so much for being a fan and supporting my music and coming out to see me. And, I can’t wait to see everybody out on the road!