Arts & Entertainment
Musician Spotlight: Kylie Spence
Post international tour, Spence focuses on songwriting career ahead
By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – At 12-years-old Kylie Spence was determined to play music. With a few years of piano and musical theater behind her, and some money she had saved herself, Spence set out and bought a guitar at the local music store, took it home, and started teaching herself Taylor Swift covers. She then moved onto writing her own songs on top of the chords she learned on her own. She released her first single “Lying Eyes,” in 2017 and is working on a second EP she hopes to release by the end of this year.
Today, the 20-year-old is studying music at Montana State University part time and spending the rest of her energy on building her already strong music career. Originally from Illinois, Spence moved around a lot with her parents until they settled in Big Sky in 2017.
“To be honest I associate Montana with my home,” Spence said, who, prior to moving here with her parents, had been visiting since she was six. “It’s really the only place I’ve ever felt I’ve connected with on a spiritual level.”
Spence performs locally, but her big break was opening for Dennis Loyd on his tour through Europe and Israel.
“Touring internationally was something I was never expecting to do,” Spence said. “But it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in my life and probably will ever have.”
Spence plays guitar, ukulele and bass, paired with her strong vocals, and writes most of her own songs. Although a lot of her songs are about love and heartbreaks, she revels in the evolution songwriting brings and embraces new muses as they come. She has been inspired by Swift’s last two albums, “evermore” and “folklore,” particularly by the storytelling and poetic aspects of her work.
“Honestly it’s changing,” Spence says of her writing voice. “It used to be inspired by love and the sad part of love—it’s very easy for me to write sad love songs. But [I’ve been] trying to write from different angles and perspectives. I write the best songs when I don’t even expect to write a song that day … I know its going to come when it’s meant to come.”
On top of school, Spence manages her musical career—the marketing and social media aspects of it—on her own and names her parents as her biggest supporters. She records all her songs with her Los Angeles-based producer in her home studio in Big Sky. When she’s not immersed in her music, she enjoys camping and rock climbing and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle Montana offers.
She’ll be playing at Lone Mountain Ranch most Thursdays this summer, with Desperate Electric in the Cannery District in Bozeman on June 19 and she is working on a new single called “River” to be released in July.