Artist: Reckless Kelly
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Latest album: American Girls & American Jackpot
Answers provided by Willy Braun
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?
I get a lot of ideas from books, lines here and there, but a lot of time they’re just ideas. A theme or a mood. I get some ideas from movies as well but that’s a little more rare. I’d say most of my ideas for songs come from things people say or do in everyday life. I’m always writing things down.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I’ve always known I was going to be a musician. It’s the family business. My dad, uncles, grandpa, brothers, cousins, etc., are all musicians. I grew up singing on stage with my dad’s band and eventually my brothers and I all joined so there was never really any question about what path we were going to go down.
However, to answer the question more directly, I remember when I was about 5 I got up and sang a song with my dad at a chili cook-off. After the show the girl at the concession stand gave me my Coke for free, and I remember thinking that was the coolest thing ever. It may have been what hooked me for good.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I have a place in Idaho where I do the majority of my writing these days. It’s in the high desert with mountains all around so it’s really inspiring. It takes me a few days to get in a groove but once I find my rhythm I usually get a lot done. It also helps that it’s off the beaten path so distractions are at a minimum.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
If I could meet one person it would probably be Sir Paul McCartney. I’m pretty sure he’s a vegetarian so I’d eat whatever he wanted to have as long as we could chat about writing and of course, the Beatles. I’m sure we’d have a couple bottles of wine to wash it all down as well.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
I use a lot of metaphors in my songs so that’s a place to hide out, ha ha. I almost always write with a caricature in mind, so even when I say “me” I’m not usually talking about myself. A lot of my stuff is fictional so I don’t worry about hiding much. The new albums are the first time I’ve really explained a lot of meaning behind the songs. Normally I let people make up their own version of what they think it’s all about. This time I felt like it was important to let people behind the curtain a bit because of the concept. I wanted them to get it.
Photo credit: Cynthia Dawn Photography