As one Taste Of Country reviewer said, “’Fight Like A Girl’ is a song that needs to be heard now, tomorrow and in the months and years to come. Shorr owns it like Martina McBride owns ‘Independence Day’”.
For Kalie Shorr, hard work and music have always gone hand-in-hand. Even when envisioning her own success, she never even bothered to dream it would happen overnight. “I remember I was having lunch with my future manager when I first got to Nashville,” says Kalie. “And he was like, ‘How do you see the path of your career?’ So I kind of nodded and said, ‘So, here’s my ten year plan.’ His eyebrows kind of raised, and he was like, ‘Okay.’”
In the days of get-famous-quick and figure it out later, Kalie’s steady rise has elements that harken back to another era: growing up in Maine the youngest of six children raised by a single parent; falling in love with music watching her mother sing church hymns and national anthems; winning over rowdy Portland crowds as a country inspired teenager opening up for pop punk music bands. Yet, there are also moments that could only have happened in the digital age of the here and now.
“I knew I had to do something to get beyond Portland,” remembers Kalie. “So I posted a video on YouTube of me covering Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday.’ And it quickly got a few thousand views. Well then one day I got this email that said ‘Hey, I work with Perez Hilton. Are you over 18?’ And I was like what a sketchy email! So I showed it to Mom and said someone’s pretending to be Perez Hilton. They’re going to kidnap me. She was like, ‘I don’t know Kalie. I feel like that might be Perez Hilton.’”
It was Perez Hilton, and he was a fan.
“Over the years Perez has given me a lot of encouragement,” says Kalie. “It can be midnight, and he’ll listen to new songs and let me know what he thinks right away. He even invited me to open up for the Backstreet Boys at his birthday party. I met Kim Kardashian. And then I went back to high school the next day. I was only in LA for 18 hours. It was surreal.”
After a glimpse of the opportunities beyond Portland, Kalie knew it was time to make a move. And once her heart was set on Nashville, she did what she does best: made a plan and put in the work. Kalie took extra classes to graduate from high school early, juggled two jobs to save up money for the move and even moved into a small in-law apartment down the street from her mother just so she could get used to paying her own bills.
“I had friends going to football games and parties,” remembers Kalie. “And I’m writing and working and playing shows. So my life was structured so differently. I think that was the moment where I got the drive to make music my life.”
That drive would need to find another gear in Nashville. To get her first gigs, she walked that fine line between persistence and harassment. To pay the bills and leave her mornings free to write songs, she landed a job in one of Nashville’s famed Lower Broadway honky tonks selling hot dogs and cigarettes. To make connections, she had to go out on a limb. Kalie admits, “I didn’t know where to start. I had no idea. I would just walk up to people and give them my business card and be like, ‘do you want to write with me?’ And they were like, ‘No.’ Nashville is friendly but it’s hard.”
The new girl in town would eventually find a home at a new Nashville tradition. In 2014 she was part of the first show of the Song Suffragettes, a weekly live show featuring a rotating group of all female singer-songwriters. The second show even featured Kelsea Ballerini before her first #1 single was released.. “It is such a great community,” says Kalie. “When you’re on stage, you might feel a little more equal than you might actually be. I don’t know where I would have been without it.”
It was during a Song Suffragettes set that an intern for SiriusXM first heard a performance of “Fight Like A Girl,” a song written with fellow performers Hailey Steele and Lena Stone. One pitch meeting later, Kalie’s first radio single was added to The Highway’s weekend show “On The Horizon” as the “YouTube Country Spotlight.” A few weeks after that, it was chosen as a “Highway Find,” starting Kalie down the same breakout path of signed artists like Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell, Clare Dunn and Florida Georgia Line.
“When they told me about becoming a ‘Highway Find’, I just started crying,” says Kalie. “We call it the little song that could. For a song that will introduce me, I don’t think there could be a better choice.”