Those lucky enough to get through life without that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs, or the incessant dark thoughts hiding around every corner of their brain are truly lucky. For the rest of us, those feelings and thoughts are reminders that sometimes – we’re not okay, but if we’re able to recognize that and try, we can hope for a better tomorrow. We talked a bit about these aspects of our reality with someone who knows them all too well. Kaylee Patterson has been there and now she’s doing all she can to push forward with her wonderful additions to the musical realm, which includes her debut single, “Other Side.” Relationships, reality, and songs one should never touch – all lay ahead, so get going!
Kendra: Those who are strong enough to come out on the other side of a bad relationship often channel all that pain into their next step. You’ve noted that music helped you get through a toxic relationship, but did you think at the time that it would be the path you ran towards after you moved on?
Kaylee Patterson: Music was always a hobby of mine, and I never really thought it could be more than that. My ex-boyfriend pushed me towards following a more traditional life path. My whole family is quite traditional, frankly. My brother and my dad both graduated from the same Liberal Arts College and I always thought that I was destined to be on that path too. A family legacy, of sorts.
I had a timeline all planned out in my head, but I fell into a deep depression a year into my degree. I dropped out of school, quit my part-time job, and spent a few months doing nothing at all. I think that’s when I realized that I wasn’t meant to follow tradition and what was expected of me.
I don’t think I really knew that I wanted to pursue music seriously until I impulsively enrolled in a Public Relations program at McGill and learned how to market myself as a musician. I realized that it was possible, and not just a pipe dream like I had previously thought.
Kendra: Speaking of the other side, that’s the name of your debut single! How cathartic was that to release?
Kaylee Patterson: “Other Side” was one of the first songs I’ve ever written, and I thought that it was only fitting to release it first. I didn’t have high expectations if I’m being completely honest. All I wanted is for my song to resonate with someone, and I got exactly that.
On the night of my release, I had a Zoom party with at least 10 friends. We’d listen to it once, and two or three times an hour, a different person would say “play it again!” At the end of the night, I think half the people were sick of it and the other half knew all the words by heart. To hear people belt out my words is an indescribable feeling. That night set the tone for my career as a musician, I think. It’s never been about the streams but always been about the impact my work has on people.
Kendra: Now that we have “Other Side,” when can we expect more new music from you? Is there an EP in the works?
Kaylee Patterson: I’m hoping to release another single by the end of this year! I’m in talks with a record label, so it’s a very exciting time for my career and I’m absolutely looking forward to releasing new music shortly. My next single “New Shoes” is a hybrid of Lana Del Rey and Faye Webster and it might be my favorite one so far.
Kendra: Aside from original music, you’re fond of 60-second covers on the likes of Instagram. Usually, I’m interested in songs artists feel no one should ever touch, but I’d rather get your thoughts on which songs you feel every musician should have their own rendition of…
Kaylee Patterson: That’s a great question! A few of my personal essentials that a musician should cover would be “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “Stand By Me” by Ben. E. King, “Let it Be” by the Beatles, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
Kendra: On top of covering music, you also got a beautiful new tattoo on your thigh to cover up some scarring. You’d mentioned it was a form of self-care during Suicide Prevention Month this past September. Do you have any plans to perhaps work with these types of organizations as your career continues to grow?
Kaylee Patterson: I would love to work with MusiCares as an ambassador one day. Sharing my story is just one step closer to combating the stigma around mental illness. The fact of the matter is that there’s still a huge stigma around depression.
There’s a 2019 study by Record Union that says that 73% of musicians have struggled with depression and anxiety. It needs to be talked about more and if I’m ever lucky to have a platform that big, I don’t think I’d stop talking about it.
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Kendra: Maybe some in Montreal where you’re based? Which, how has the Montreal music scene been this year with concerts being out of the question for many…have you had to say goodbye to any local venues?
Kaylee Patterson: Ami Québec and Bell Let’s Talk are great initiatives that I would absolutely want to be a part of. The pandemic has obviously slowed so many of these initiatives, which is a shame because they’re even more necessary now. I’ve just started my career during the pandemic, so I haven’t been personally affected by any venue closures.
Kendra: With all that has transpired this year, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
Kaylee Patterson: 2020 has been a weird year. The pandemic didn’t affect me in the same way it has other musicians. Instead of stifling my creativity and my drive, it had the opposite effect. Having fewer distractions allowed me to focus on my music full-time. There’s less background noise now if that makes sense. I’ve been writing new songs every week and I’m constantly improving.
I’m also significantly more aware of who I want to be, both as a musician and as a person.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Kaylee Patterson: Plans might be less concrete than they’ve ever been, but there’s something freeing about the world looking like this. If all goes to plan, I’ll be finalizing a record deal shortly, recording a few more songs by the end of 2020, and releasing “New Shoes” shortly, which I’m really excited about.
When the world around you feels like a mess (I fully expect to lose all my credibility here) “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly and AJ gets me through everything.