From Natalie to KYŁO

When I was in high school, I started really getting into music and wanted to start performing and getting into the live scene. My whole life, I had performed in musicals, dance recitals, things like that; but performing real music that I created was something I always wanted to do. I would jam with my friends at bonfires, in people’s basements and things like that but never in a real venue. 

One of my friends and I would always play together. He would play guitar and I would sing. We would always jam out to covers ranging from Sublime to Janis Joplin to Lana Del Ray. I wanted to play live so badly, but you had to be 19 to get into all the bars and spots in Windsor (my hometown) that held the open mics and slots. So I got a fake ID. Not to party and get drunk like the average teenager but to play live music. I got a friend of a friend’s older sister to get a fake ID made by some guy she knew and was terrified my parents would find out; but nonetheless went through with it. 

I still remember my fake ID name, Natalie, which I used to get into the bars. There was one main spot I played every Wednesday night called Hogeys and the host loved me. But since I was using a fake ID by the name of Natalie, I had to tell him that was my name; hence he would introduce me with, “And everyone give a big round of applause for Natalie!” As soon as I sang the first song, I knew this is what I wanted to do. The thrill of singing in front of real people and having them react so positively made me feel amazing. If I remember correctly, the first song I sang was “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. This was all good and fun until the day I actually turned 19.

I went in and said to the host of the night, “Ok I have something to tell you…my name isn’t Natalie.” I could’ve easily just kept using the fake ID, and going by Natalie, but for some reason, I just didn’t want to. I wanted people to know who I was, I wanted to be myself. He looked utterly confused and was like “Natalie, what are you talking about?” I then explained that I had to use a fake ID in order to play, and my real name was Kayla (before the Kylo days) and that I was “so so sorry but I had no choice and to please not hate me!” To my surprise, he burst out into laughter and announced to everyone the story. I had the craziest butterflies when he tapped the mic and was like “Ok everyone, listen up! You all may think you know who this girl is, but apparently we don’t! She has just told me that this whole time she was going by a fake name because she was underage and was using a fake ID to get in here, and now today is her birthday and she can finally be herself. So now, announcing for the first time, ‘Kayla!’” 

Everyone roared with laughter and cheered. I was so grateful. I was finally able to be introduced by my real name and continued to play there for a while. Not having to feel like I was doing something wrong or like I was hiding felt good. There were so many times where my guitarist almost slipped up when he would call me for something like “Kay….uhhhh okayyy Natalie can you grab that?”, so not having to be on edge all the time was nice. Also, being able to have a beer wasn’t too bad either! Moral of the story is, there should be more spaces available for youth trying to perform. Also, don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want. I could’ve waited 2 years to start playing in the bars, but I really just couldn’t wait even if that meant breaking the law. I don’t regret it at all. I gained so much experience in that time, met some amazing people, and found a piece of myself that is essential to who I am today

Watch the music video for “Solace”, which is the first single off of her upcoming “EXIT” EP.

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