Kaylee Patterson‘s “Time Machine,” is a song that arrives from a place of great emotional openness and frankness, resulting in a harmonious but desperately tender and almost overwhelmingly bittersweet song that breaks the replay button.
Kaylee’s indie-pop sound is very rich, there’s a lot going on with the instruments that make the song feel packed with a carnival of sounds. Guitar plucks, string hits, a groovy bassline… you get the point. Then there’s her beautiful vocal interpretation at the center of it all, and let me be clear that it isn’t just her voice being all soft and pretty that does it, it’s in the way she intones and phrases everything, the way she places her vowels within the melody that really ties the song together for me, especially the way she makes the chorus extra catchy with her pauses in a way that gives a brief *tension-release-tension-release* dynamic, something that she also utilizes elsewhere in the song. This tells me that Kaylee has great instinct with composition in spite of her young age.
I couldn’t go on with the interview without fawning out on Kaylee, I think she’s a promising young talent that absolutely cannot go overlooked, and all her dedication has to -at least- be repaid in appreciation of her beautiful work and energy.
Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about this new track and where it came from?
I have really bad insomnia, and sometimes I’ll stay up until the sun rises, just replaying all these memories inside my head. It’s truly exhausting. Instead of tossing and turning for hours, one night, I made the decision to grab my ukulele and write a song instead. I used to idealize the past so much that it would hurt me and leave me to miss these moments that were never actually good for me. Writing Time Machine was like realizing that I couldn’t keep doing this to myself, and that the past only holds power over you if you let it.
Your upcoming EP is called “Forever Would’ve Sucked” Kind of a funny name, but I’m guessing there’s a bittersweetness to it, am I correct?
Yes, it’s definitely bittersweet. My first and only relationship started when I was 15, and all I wanted was to spend forever with that one person. ‘Til death do us part. I had planned everything in my mind, from who would be at our wedding, to the names of our kids. It should’ve ended way sooner than it did, but when my parents got divorced, I was left with a very skewed view of love. I wanted to prove that I wouldn’t give up on love like they had, but in the process, I lost so many pieces of myself. Now, forever scares me. With enough distance, I can see that permanence is not always necessary or even ideal. Some forevers should simply not be forever, and that’s not nearly as bad as I once imagined.
How would you like your music described to someone who’s never heard it before? Where do you think it fits or vibes with the people?
My music is brutally honest and a little self-deprecating, but in a fun way. It’s catchy enough that you’ll be singing it in the shower, but there’s also a real depth to my lyrics that is sometimes missing in pop music. I’d like to think that I fit somewhere between Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift.
I’m curious about the Ukelele being your instrument of choice. Why is that? do you play any other instruments?
I tried playing the piano, the saxophone, and the acoustic guitar but I was terrible at all of them and lost interest almost immediately. But when I was 15, my grandfather died and his last birthday gift to me was a $100 bill. I had saved the bill for months, until one day I decided to go to Steve’s music store in Montreal and asked the store clerk what I could buy with it. He suggested a Fender ukulele, and I’ve had the same one for eight years now. Honestly, I’m still not very good at it and I’m pretty sure I gave my music producer Jay Century a heart attack when I told him I never followed a metronome while playing it, but I truly think I was led to the ukulele for a reason.
As a musician you probably do listen to a lot of very different stuff, but Who’s an artist that people would be surprised to find on your playlist?
I listen to just about everything, but I’m a huge Leonard Cohen fan. My dad used to play his music all the time when I was growing up, and we’d dance to “Dance Me To The End of Love” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” until my mom would tell us to lower the music, because she hated Leonard Cohen. He was the soundtrack to my childhood.
You’ve said before that music started out as a hobby for you and considering it a serious career pursuit is a relatively recent development. How has the reception of your new path been with the people in your life?
My family is the proudest I’ve ever seen them be. I thought my dad would be extremely opposed. He’s a huge fan of college and doing things the traditional way, and I’ve tried, but that’s never been me. We’ve never had the best relationship, so it was huge shock to me when I found out that he was sharing my music with everybody he knows. He even sent the Spotify link to his lawyer. He texts me every day asking how my streams are doing, if I’m on any editorial playlists, how my meetings are going. My mom, on the other hand, actually helped me write songs for the EP. She’s my best friend, and I think she would support anything I decided to do.
Starting in 2020-2021 is its own set of difficulties. what would you say’s been most challenging for you as a budding artist in this period?
My biggest challenge would probably have been building a relationship with my team over Google Meet. I feed off of other people’s energies when I meet them, but that’s so hard to do on the internet. I do think I got extremely lucky with the people that I’m surrounded with, but I don’t really know anything else. I’m learning as I go, but I still sometimes wish there was an instruction booklet or a helpline for new musicians who have no idea what they’re doing.
Any plans to take your music to the stages any time soon?
I’m not too sure what the future holds, but I sure hope so! Whenever I go to concerts, I have this extreme longing for being on stage, so I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity sooner rather than later.
CONNECT WITH KAYLEE PATTERSON
photos / courtesy of the artist
story / Samuel Aponte