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The first thing that hits you about singer-songwriter Elaina Kay is her confidence and spunk as a performer and a writer. At 23 years old, her wisdom doesn’t yet come from decades of being on the road, but an old soul vibe has infused itself into her music anyway. Her sound confidently bridges the Red Dirt Oklahoma songwriter tradition with the Texas troubadour history of her home state. Much like her hometown of Wichita Falls (or Texoma as some call the area), her music walks the borderline between both influences and creates an exciting new sound.
It’s that aforementioned confidence and enthusiasm that led her to Boohatch Studios in Ada, Oklahoma, Mike McClure’s studio home. Elaina Kay states, “I choose to record there because that’s what I grew up around, especially in my teen years, and I really wanted to go back to my roots. What better place than where true Red Dirt music originated, and to record with who basically created it.” The legendary Red Dirt songwriter has signed on to produce her latest project, and it’s her most personal yet. “I like to write about what most people don’t like to touch, and that’s what the new album is going to be about. Not being afraid to sing about what’s not exactly pretty, but real life situations.”
Elaina Kay grew up where Red Dirt music originated on a ranch where her family ranched, farmed, and trained horses for a living. Her passion for the outdoors and the cowgirl lifestyle came at an early age, but her true calling came in her family’s garage. Her older brother played in bands as a teenager, covering everything from The Rolling Stones and The Beatles to Pearl Jam and George Strait. Elaina was the blonde-headed little girl singing along word for word. In high school she joined the choir, and soon started writing songs and picking the guitar with some of her ag class buddies. “I think I've always written in some form or fashion, it was my escape from an unstable home life,” she recalls.
While in college at Tarleton State in Stephenville, Texas, she realized music was where she belonged. Songs started pouring out between her classes and weekends competing on the Tarleton Rodeo Team. She found a new well of inspiration in “The Cowboy Capital of the World,” realizing that drinking beer with cowboys could get you in some bad situations (even jail time) and leave you with a lot of heartache.
Elaina graduated from playing tailgates to playing bars in her area and opening for some of the most popular bands in Texas music. It wasn’t long after she started performing that she got asked to work with Josh Serrato from 6 Market Blvd. in a local recording studio. She later joined up with Chris Gage, award-winning producer and musician for Jerry Jeff Walker, as well as Grammy winner Lloyd Maines. She hit the road playing and selling her freshman album all over the U.S. and performs every year in Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo. She has also made several appearances on hunting shows on The Sportsman’s Channel, taking veterans and war heroes out on hunts and playing music.
Mike McClure asserts, “Elaina Kay writes unflinching tunes from the heart. Susan Gibson sings on one with her about her mother drinking beer in the bathtub. Great stuff.” Based on praises given by mentors like McClure and CMA Award-winning songwriter Gibson, Elaina Kay is a singer-songwriter ready make some noise among the Texas/Red Dirt scene. Her latest project is set for release in late 2014 with plans for a tour to follow.