America loved her on the 12th season of American Idol and who could blame them?
Five years after making her appearance on Idol, Kree Harrison is beginning an exciting new phase in her career. Recently signing an exclusive recording and publishing agreement with One Vision Music Group, Kree has been hard at work writing music and recording new material. Her latest single ‘I Love the Lie’ was released this month and is the first off her upcoming 2019 record.
Aside from being a multi-talented singer/songwriter and American Idol star, Kree is just a downright cool and uniquely sweet human being. After buying me a cup of coffee and insisting on sharing her fruit, Celeb Secrets Country learned all about her new single, upcoming record, American Idol experience, and the inspiring tight-knit friendships of Nashville’s music industry.
Celeb Secrets Country: Your new single ‘I Love the Lie’ was just released this month. Though it was penned by Chris Stapleton, can you tell us how you personally relate to it and why the song means so much to you?
Kree Harrison: “It was written by Stapleton and his wife who I’ve been a fan of for a long time. Honestly it kind of came out of nowhere last minute. A good friend, Alison, pitched it to us and it was kind of a no brainier to me. I just love the song. This record is still soulful and bluesy like my last one but it’s got more of a 90’s country influence to it and I think the song, that one especially, is perfect for a single. I love it and I’m very proud of it. We shot the video soon after, which is set to premiere on CMT March 28th, and the making of the video was great. We went out to Capital Theatre in Lebanon, TN and it was so awesome. We did a 3 day shoot and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. And there’s a plot twist!”
CS: You’ve collaborated with many big name artists such as Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, and Eli Young Band. Who’s the next artist you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
KH: “I don’t know, there’s so many! I listen to so many different things, like genuinely from old country to Otis Redding to Cardi B. Obviously I’m a huge fan of what’s happening right now in the industry. I’m very proud of Maren Morris, she’s my good friend and she’s killing it. I love her new record! It’s always fun to collaborate in your inner circle as well, but on my bucket list would be Bonnie Raitt. But there’s so many, I can’t just choose one.”
CS: How about collaborating with Maren in the future?
KH: “Yes, we’ve written a bunch together! We used to live together. We literally both got out of relationships at the same time and got together. It was like rebirth! Fun times.”
CS: Can you tell fans a little bit about what they can expect from your new album releasing later this year?
KH: “Hopefully they’ll like it. I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into it and it’s a different side to me that people haven’t seen or haven’t heard. Like I’ve said before, my love for 90’s country is very strong and I paid a tribute to that in some of those songs. I’ve done some covers on the record too which I’m really excited about and have kind of had them in my back pocket to finally do justice to. Bringing them to life was awesome. Skylar Wilson produced the record and everyone was incredible to work with. We went to this studio in Ashville, NC and it’s so beautiful. It’s this old church and such a dreamy place. We tracked the rest of it there and literally checked it out for like 6 days. It was awesome.”
CS: You’ve said being on American Idol has played a major part in making you the artist you are today. How did the show impact you so much?
KH: “I made lifelong friends. Not that that was the biggest but it was one of the additions. I’ve never worked so hard in my life and I realized how strong my work ethic was. All of it was a learning experience for me. A live show is a whole different animal. It’s crazy how it works. You’re kind of in a bubble and it happens so quick. There’s pressure at first because there’s cues and finding your light and whatever else. But I really got close to the crew and it become more of a show we prepared for together, rather than like “Oh shit. They just pressed record and I’m on national television.” It was more of an intimate thing and it was incredible. Like I said, I met a lot of incredible people and made a lot of great fiends. Also, it made me grow because I realized I could do both (singing and songwriting). I could be a singer in that light and also a songwriter. Because before it was almost like I was kind of diluting myself and holding back because I wanted to be taken seriously as a songwriter. I had something to say and not just as a singer. It made me grow in that way and realize it’s okay to do both. I don’t have to choose.”
CS: Being both a singer and a songwriter, which song that you’ve written has meant the most to you and why?
KH: “I don’t think I have a favorite because they’re just part of you. It’s in a different place in me and a different part comes out. I’ve written some really sentimental songs and sassy songs. I wrote one last week that I’m over the moon about and it’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever written. Fingers crossed that it actually comes out because I’m so proud of it. But I’m proud of every song I write.”
CS: Who are your biggest musical inspirations and what about these artists inspires you so much?
KH: “My favorite of all time is Otis Redding. There’s just some people that are your medicine and for me it Otis for so many reasons. For one, I think because it’s nostalgic. I grew up listening to it and it was one of those things that my mom would turn on very loudly and clean the house or cook so it has that bit of nostalgia with it when I hear it. Also I just think that he’s an old soul.”
CS: Along with your new album, what else can fans expect from you this year? Any exciting new regarding touring?
KH: “Well I will sing anywhere that they will have me, even here in this coffee shop for example! Just kidding…kind of. But there’s a couple things coming up that I’m excited about. Obviously we’re going to do radio tour, and once the record is done I’ll start playing shows and promoting it. I can’t wait to do that. For me there’s no part of the process that I like more than the other, but to be able to connect with people is a different animal. I’ve been dreaming it up and all the hard work has paid off. Now I can connect with them so I’m excited to do that.”
CS: What is something that you’d like fans to know about you or something you believe makes you unique as an artist?
KH: “I think mine is my group of friends. I’ve been in Nashville a really long time, since I was 10. So before American Idol I had a career here and was doing all the things. The head of my label would write me ‘Get Out of Class’ passes to go into the studio. I grew up literally on the road and I think it was a blessing for me because I learned so much. It prepared me for things like Idol, or to go make records, and really appreciate the highs and lows and the people around me who really inspired me. I met Don Osborne and TJ when I was 14 years old and we were in the same publishing company. They’re like brothers. We have this very tight group of friends and that sets us apart. Marren and Kacey. Lucie. We’re all this thread of friends and all over the damn place. It’s inspiring. We get to work together, we get to celebrate, and on top of that we get to champion each other without motives. It’s special to have that. That’s one of the things I’m really proud of. It’s not just a self thing. I’ve created a tribe around me, not a click. A tribe of goodness.”
CS: Since we’re Celeb Secrets can you tell us a behind the scenes secret or fun fact about the making of your new single or you as an artist?
KH: “I have so many embarrassing stories. I always mix my words up very badly. This has been an ongoing joke between my friends and I for years. For example, I would say on the mic “touché” thinking it meant “ditto”, which is not a good thing. So someone would say “I love your shoes” and I’d be like “Oh, touché!”. It got to a point where TJ was like “We’ve got to tell her… she’s saying it wrong on the mic now at these writer’s rounds.” Years and years ago, I think I was like 16, Jeffrey Sills at the time was like “Kree, you’re saying it wrong on the mic now to whole town.” That might be the best case example I have.”