Kylie Rae Harris, a native of Wylie, has chosen a deliberate path to this week's release for her new EP, the country-folk-pop gem Taking it Back.
For those who frequent shows at Love and War in Texas, The Capital Bar, Hat Tricks, and venues like them, the supremely gifted Harris has likely been on your radar for some time. Been to a Zane Williams show in the past couple of years? You've heard her sweet harmonies from the stage. Watched and episode or two of the syndicated television series Troubadour, TX? Then you've not only seen her perform, but you may have seen her tearfully let her manager know that she was pregnant and would be single mother, putting her career on hold and perhaps halting the momentum she had worked so hard to build.
Now the proud mother of a bouncing baby girl, Harris' career is going just fine. She's too tough to keep down. Her artful way around a tune will continue to be heard and seen as she hits the road in support of the stellar EP. It's been a while since the 2010 release of her debut All the Right Reasons, but the gap was for good reason.
"I feel like great things take time," Harris says. "I met my producer, Wayne Kirkpatrick, almost two years ago and we really hit it off. We began writing songs and taking our time on this project. When you put that much emotion, time, money, thought, and hard work into a project, you want to do it right. I wanted to make sure I had great songs that represent what I believe, what I feel."
The release of the EP is in some ways a prelude. Harris is already working on material for a new full-length album and playing shows all over the state. Many of the shows she's playing are with fellow Troubadour, TX star Zane Williams, who is enjoying his first top-five hit on the Texas charts with his single, "Overnight Success."
A chance encounter at a Williams gig has led to an artistic partnership. It's hard to miss the chemistry they share on stage, and singing with Williams has meant a great deal to Harris, a self-professed "Zaniac."
"Since we started performing together, I've recorded harmonies on all the albums he's put out," says Harris. "People say we're better together than apart. He's a phenomenal talent and I still get just as excited to sing with him as I did the first time.
"If I'm in a painful, dark place -- and there have been those -- I know that for the 90 minutes we're singing together the hurt will disappear and I can see my life from a clear, clean perspective."
The respect is mutual. He sounds as though he's writing his next elegant ballad when discussing his musical partner's contributions.
"Kylie Rae sings like an angel covered in the dust and dirt of the real world," he says. "Soulful, passionate and wise beyond her years, her songs tend toward melancholy. But her smile is as bright as they come."
There's little reason to doubt the future success of Harris, given her skilled writing, gorgeous voice and the support she receives from the likes of Williams. Perhaps more than anything, though, Harris' emotional vision and sense of timing is what makes her new offering special and her future promising.
"I wanted something that sounded big, something that makes people feel the way they do when they leave a live show. A connection, an emotion, a real feeling, you know? I've been wanting something great to bring to the people that have been rooting me on for years, and those that haven't yet heard my music, and now I do.
"Timing is everything. Now, the time is right."