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Authority Magazine: Kimberly Dawn On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry

An Interview With Edward Sylvan

Trust your gut. There will be a lot of people who will say things to you and give you advice, but at the end of the day, you need to trust your gut. Your gut is God. It took me a minute to understand that, but it’s true. There will always be someone who wants to change your image, change your sound, and if you feel good about that, great, but if it’s not feeling good, trust that. You have to be your own advocate.

Asa part of our series about rising music stars, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Dawn.

Kimberly Dawn is a country music singer-songwriter. Using her natural talent, Kimberly expresses an authentic message of perseverance, humility, courage, and resilience. Integrity, Honesty, and Strength are core themes in Kimberly’s songwriting. Songs such as The Bottle (101K views) and ’93 (65K views) are a great representation of her empowering songwriting. With 764K combined streams on Spotify, Kimberly’s song “Slow Dancing’ in the Dark” was nominated for Best Country Song at the 2019 Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

As a mother, Kimberly boldly took control of her musical passions after having her four children, when she began learning the guitar and piano. She feels particularly empowered to share her experiences balancing life as a mother and wife with her music career. As a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) ambassador, Kimberly strives to openly share the story of her own personal mental health journey to inspire and uplift others. Her song “The Bottle” highlights the real pain of those struggling with mental health and addiction issues.

The Canadian-born singer-songwriter has been influenced by the likes of Dolly Parton, Stevie Nicks, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, and Whitney Houston. Now Kimberly’s glammed-up bohemian style is revamping country music. Kimberly’s musical background diverse, having worked with the likes of Jeff Cohen (The Band Perry, Sugarland, Josh Groban), David Berg (Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood), Gregory Friia (Consuelo Costin, Eric Paslay, Bonnie Tyler), and Anthony Mazza (Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Ja Rule). She has performed many times at the historic L.A. House of Blues and opened for Wilson Phillips in 2015. In 2014, Kimberly opened for Brooke White (American Idol Season: 7 5th place) at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. As of 2022, Kimberly has been recording her new music with Kent Wells and Don Miggs. Kent Wells is known for his work with Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Kenny Rogers. Miggs is known for his work with Tower of Power, Mick Fleetwood, Kyle Cook of Matchbox Twenty and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins.

LA Fashion, Nashville Country Music Magazine, Nashville Music Guide, The Tennessee Star, and New Music Weekly have featured Kimberly’s authentic and unique approach to country music. She has also been featured on popular podcasts such as “Everything with Ali Levine”. In May 2022, she partnered with MAGIC Tradeshow to perform on the opening day of their first ever Nashville MAGIC show. Kimberly currently has an ongoing brand partnership with Nashville, TN-based vintage woman-owned boot company Planet Cowboy. Recently, Kimberly released a duet “Do I Love You” with Grammy Award-winning songwriter and artist Paul Anka. Paul has worked with notable acts such as Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra.

“Even if it’s one person who hears a song and they are having a hard day and they hear a song and that song lifts them up and it helps them through the day, then I am so grateful for that. That is the reason I wrote the song.” -Kimberly Dawn ( Music Tennessee Star)

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up? Igrew up in a small, humble town on a farm. My father was a farmer (he recently sold our family farm) and my mom was a school teacher. I am one of eight children. Our home was a thousand square feet and had one bathroom for the ten of us. I think about that now and I’m like, wow, how did we have one bathroom for ten of us and there are six girls in the family, but we did it. I also helped on the farm. My dad had us working in the fields, pulling weeds out of our sugar beet fields. I would move the irrigation pipe and drive the tractor too. My parents taught me how to work hard and I am grateful for that.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path? I have always loved music. I grew up listening to every genre you can think of. I sang in church and for my family. It has always been my passion since the time I was a little girl. I always said, from the time I was like four years old, I wanted to be a singer, and here I am.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career? Like I mentioned, I grew up listening to every genre of music there was. As kids, you will listen to music your parents liked or that their parents liked. So I grew up listening to Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. Fast forward a few years later, I had moved out to Los Angeles. I ended up meeting Paul Anka, who is now a friend. Paul asked me if I’d like to sing on one of his songs. I was so honored that this person, who is a legend in the music world, asked me to be on this duet with him. It’s crazy how things happen. Paul’s latest album just dropped on July 1, 2022 (ironically Canada’s birthday). We are both Canadian. I am featured on track 10, Do I Love You (You Should Know By Now). What’s even crazier is that I just found out that Dolly Parton did this song with Paul Anka in 2013. I’m actually happy I didn’t know before I went into the studio to record because I would’ve been all in my head.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? Yes, so I used to have dreams about performing in front of a crowd of people, and then, all of a sudden, I would forget the lyrics and just be standing there like a deer in headlights. I would always wake up in a panic. Well, fast forward a few years later, I was at The House Of Blues. I am up there performing. Everything was going great with my set and then my band started playing a cover song that I knew like the back of my hand and I forgot how the song started. My worst nightmare came true. I turned around to look at my background singer, and she could see I couldn’t remember the words and started singing. It all clicked and the words came back. The moral of the story is that I was OK and no one knew I had forgotten the words because we just kept going. It was a good lesson and funny at the same time. That day, I realized that we can literally manifest things to happen if we focus on the negative. Focus on all positivity to manifest the good.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? I just finished doing a duet with Paul Anka and that song is on his most recent album that came out on July 1, 2022. It’s called “Do I Love You” (You Should Know By Now). single dropping on July 29, 2022. It’s called “Deere John.” I wrote it with a very talented producer and artist, Don Miggs. I am back in the studio, recording new music with Kent Wells, an amazing producer and musician who has worked with so many of the greats, including Dolly Parton. He’s Dolly’s producer. I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to get to work with someone of Kent’s caliber.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music, film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

This is a great question and such an important topic.

  1. First, we are all so unique and come from different walks of life. Diversity provides a perspective that many, if not all, can relate to. It provides the thoughts and ability of ‘I can’ when diversity is represented in the media.

2. I believe diversity can create unity. We all want unity, and what better way to achieve this than to make everyone feel equal. 3. Diversity is powerful because it provides a sense of education and understanding, creating a sense of familiarity across cultures.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Speak Up… A lot of times in this business, especially when you are first starting out, you’re afraid to speak up if something doesn’t feel right. At least I was like that. I didn’t want to come across as difficult. A lot of that also comes with feeling confident and knowing who you are. When you’re in the room writing, don’t be afraid to say that what you’re writing may not resonate with you. It’s okay to just do it in a respectful manner.

  2. Trust your gut. There will be a lot of people who will say things to you and give you advice, but at the end of the day, you need to trust your gut. Your gut is God. It took me a minute to understand that, but it’s true. There will always be someone who wants to change your image, change your sound, and if you feel good about that, great, but if it’s not feeling good, trust that. You have to be your own advocate.

  3. Keep your friends close. There is a saying by Oprah Winfrey, “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you really want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” That is something I have thought about a lot because there have been plenty of people in my life who haven’t believed in me. They don’t show up at my shows, they don’t buy my music, but when all of a sudden they see you getting a little more recognition or that you’re starting to get momentum, things change. I know who my people are. I know who shows up for me even when it’s the smallest venue. They are still there cheering me on because they believe in me. I keep those ones close because they are the ones that love me for me and not for what I can do for them.

  4. Be Patient. So this is a good one for everyone to remember. We see all these successful musicians, but we didn’t see them before. I get hard on myself, wanting things to happen faster, but most people do not have overnight success. It’s years of blood, sweat and tears. I have a much greater appreciation for all artists cause we are all grinding away for the same thing.

  5. Take Breaks. This is so vital to surviving in this business. I used to have the mentality of all work, no play. I need to eat, breathe and sleep to music. Yes, to an extent, that is true, but you get burned out. It is emotionally and mentally draining. If you don’t take breaks to recharge, you will burn out. When I take family vacations, I am present and enjoy quality time. The music isn’t going anywhere, and when I’m having fun and being in the moment, those are the moments when my creativity spikes. I come up with song ideas and melodies. It’s magical. So take breaks!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? When you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, which is inevitable in this business, take time. Do something outside of music that fills your soul. We are just like batteries, and we need to recharge. It can be something as simple as taking a walk, taking a bath, or doing some gardening. I will turn on Netflix or Hulu and binge-watch some nonsense show that doesn’t make my brain think. I zone out, and I’m not thinking about anything except what I’m watching. I don’t watch much TV, so it’s fun to get to check out once in a while.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-) If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the most people, I would inspire a movement that focuses on people becoming the best versions of themselves. Setting goals and not quitting until they achieve their version of great success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that? I genuinely feel like it takes a village of people to help anyone achieve success, but the first person that comes to mind is my grandmother, Mary. She always believed in me when I didn’t necessarily believe in myself. She was always my biggest fan. For whatever reason, she saw something in me and would always remind me that I could do and be anything I wanted. She would often tell me not to listen to all the people who get in my ears and make me question why I am doing this or make me second guess myself and want to quit. She would remind me that I was doing what I was meant to do. That has stayed with me, so when I feel discouraged or like quitting, I think of her and what she would say to me at that moment. I keep going. Sadly, she has not been able to be front row at one of my shows, but I know she’s there, and she’s proud of me. I also have to say that my husband has been my rock through all of this. He truly supports me 100% and is my voice of reason; he is my biggest fan, and I know that anytime I feel scared, worried, or nervous, I have to look out in the crowd or to the side of the stage to see his face, and it brings me so much peace and comfort.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? I feel like my life lesson quotes change with different stages in my life. Currently, my favorite Life Lesson Quote is “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” -C.S. Lewis

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-) Yes, Dolly Parton. Dolly has paved the way for all of us females. She has done so much for females in the music business and every female out there.I love how philanthropic she is. Dolly is always helping to make the world a better place, whether she is raising money for the Red Cross or HIV/AIDS charities or where she created the Imagination Library, which has given more than 100 million books to children from birth until they enter kindergarten. I love how Dolly has used her platform to try to make this world a better place. I admire her so much. Imagine the possibilities if we could all have a little Dolly in us.

How can our readers follow you online? Website, Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!


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