Editor’s Note: The love of country music runs deep in the hearts of many in the Mossy Oak family. Selected as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, Kristen Kelly is a country music singer/songwriter. She travels the country on her own tours and with other country artists like Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. Kelly’s single “Ex-Old Man” hit the top 30 on the country music charts. She’s released a new single on May 27th “Kiss by Kiss.” Kelly says, “Just being able to sing well isn’t all that’s required to be a successful country music artist and business person.”
After being on tour with Brad Paisley throughout most of 2012, I toured with Alan Jackson where I played two shows with him. I played several shows with Gary Allen and Sheryl Crow. Then I went out on tour with Rascal Flatts. After I signed my record deal with Sony, I hired a booking agent, who helped me secure some of the tour dates that I just mentioned.
Right now, besides being excited about being a part of the Mossy Oak ProStaff, I’m writing new music. On May 27, I released a new single titled “Kiss By Kiss.” Later this fall, I plan to release a new album. I haven’t decided on a title for the album yet.
In April, 2014, I launched a new jewelry line called BELIEVE by Kristen Kelly. My utility player, Zach Runquist, who doubles as my tour manager, does leatherwork. On February 20th, my birthday, he made me a leather bracelet from his leather-working company - ZNR Designs. On the inside of my right wrist, I have a tattoo with the word Believe. I took the B in Believe and made it a treble cleft. I made the L in the word Believe a music note, and the dot on the I a star. I had been selling t-shirts with this logo on it at my shows. I already had made a small harmonica necklace like one I had seen years ago. I had several people say, “That’s a really cute necklace. Can you make me one?” I’d say, “Sure.” Because I liked the Believe leather bracelet that Zach made for me and my harmonica necklace, I took the leather Believe piece, attached it to a necklace and started a jewelry business, BELIEVE.
For many years, I’d wanted to support an organization that helps survivors of sexual and domestic violence, because I had a friend who worked with clients of sexual and domestic violence. I felt bringing awareness to these two horrible crimes was important, but I didn’t know how or when I’d be able to help. Zach made me 50 leather pieces with my BELIEVE logo on them, and I began to make necklaces, hair ties, bracelets and headbands too. That start-up jewelry business now has grown into ear rings, key chains, leather dog tag necklaces for men and wine glass charms. I’ve moved my BELIEVE t-shirts into this company also. I’m going to have some Mossy Oak t-shirts with the BELIEVE logo printed on them. We’re donating 15 percent of the profits made from my BELIEVE line of jewelry and t-shirts to an organization for sexual and domestic-violence victims.
As soon as I finish the new music I’m working on, I’ll start booking shows to promote the new music. Right now, I’m in the planning stage of completing the new music and preparing to book the shows, which involves a lot of scheduling, logistics, finance and planning. I’ve learned that to be in the “music business” I have to be a businesswoman as well. At any given time, I employ 5 to 20 people. I’m often asked, “How important do you think your college education in commercial-music management has been in helping you create your success in the country-music business?” My answer is, “Priceless.” I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about music artists who don’t know what’s going on with their businesses. Then they don’t have any money at the ends of their careers. I really believe that understanding the business side of the music industry that takes place before the show, during the show and after the show is over will help me out to be more successful. I don’t know how you put a price tag on education. But for me, I know it’s valuable.
Editor’s Note: When we asked Kristen Kelly, if there’s anything that her fans don’t know about her, she smiled, giggled and said, “My song ‘Ex-Old Man’ is a true story about my ex-husband and my ex-best girlfriend.”
To learn more about Mossy Oak’s Kristen Kelly, her music and her life go to www.kristenkellymusic.com, www.facebook.com/kristenkellymusic, https://twitter.com/KristenKelly or instagram.com/kristenkellymusic.