Giving off a celestial light of her own, Kaitlin Butts glimmered on the main stage at Mile 0 Fest, Key West. We caught the Floridian sunset together & talked new music, life, & advice.
Butts described her feelings after the performance as "sweaty, hot, fun, & HAPPY!" All emotions the audience surely felt beneath the blistering setting sun after Butts' high energy & unexpectedly funny set. You can catch a little more about that specific performance [HERE!]
While her pink sparkly fringe was shaking about Key West, a new Butts collaboration was released with Disko Cowboy & French Horn Rebellion.
"We did a reimagining of Shania Twain's 'That Don't Impress Me Much' club/dance version," said Butts. "Two versions, actually! Like a straight up club remix, & then they did a dance mix to it, too."
In recent years, Butts has been spearheading the country to club scene. She's become a safe space for the queer community to explore country & western, while remaining an open & honest bridge between two very different worlds. With more club remixes & electronic versions she's been releasing, we asked Butts what this means for her personal brand & if she's doing that dreaded shift from country to pop like her idols Taylor Swift & Miley Cyrus.
"I mostly listen to pop music," said Butts. "I listen to Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus. Those are my top three on Spotify wrapped. Growing up, I listened to all kinds of music, but mostly pop (what was on the radio) & 90s country."
Her influences have definitely made their mark from Cyrus' socially outspoken nature to Swift's spot on branding.
"As a country artist, you kinda want to be like 'I want to be the countriest motherfucker there is out there, my grandpa taught me Merle Haggard on the back of his boat while we were fishing' ya know," said Butts. "But that's not the truth for me. I listen to pop music & love to dance. I want to make my own. Why not try something new? That's the only thing that I wanted, something that I can play on the back of the boat with my gay friends. What's something they'd want to hear that I can show them & not be like 'this is a downer about generational trauma'? I wanted to make a bop that people can dance, too."
We don't think Butts will take the dive to full pop any time soon, so we'll continue to enjoy all the new & industry bending releases she's been churning out.
Another new release coming soon is single "You Ain't Gotta Die to be Dead to Me." This tune has hints of Johnny Cash's "Boy Named Sue" silliness meets Loretta Lynn's I'll punch you in the face attitude.
"It's about saying bye to people right when they prove that they suck," said Butts. "Say bye & don't give them the opportunity to hurt you anymore. You ain't gotta die to be dead to me, BYE!"
Different from Butts' other songs, this single has a lot of breaking the fourth wall speaking to the crowd. Various break downs backed by slow & steady drums make it clear to hear Butts' message.
"I feel like that's best way to get the lyrics across, to slow down & really give people the tea," said Butts. "Then you give them the hook & kick it up. It gets the barn burning going for the chorus. I want the crowd to be able to hear every single word so that they knew why that person deserved to be kicked to the curb."
*Urban Dictionary "Tea:" the custom in the South of women who gather in the afternoon to drink tea and gossip. Tea is slang for gossiping about a situation, story, news, or some juicy information.
One thing is for certain, Kaitlin Butts is unapologetically herself & a true show woman. Her fans come to hear heart-wrenching lyricism & see weird things on stage like guitarist Adam Duran in a space shield.
"The more authentic you are to yourself, the more people will like you," said Butts. "Even if you think what you're going through or what you're writing about it niche or a unique situation, the more true you are to yourself you're going to reach out to people that might be feeling alone in that situation."
In her performances, Butts is known for allowing fans into her personal life. She talks about familial trauma, her husband & love life, & her friends. Rarely does she gatekeep her feelings or hide her true self.
"I think people can see through inauthenticity really really well, & it makes people not really like you," said Butts. "I think that people want to really know artists, who they are & their stories. Just be yourself. That's the best advice ever for me."
Sage advice from the queen of the cosmic cowgirls. We hope a little bit of Butts' extraterrestrial exuberance rubbed off on you as it does every show listeners attend.
Stay tuned for our final Mile 0 Fest interview with Dalton Domino! As always, feel free to leave comments if you've caught a Kaitlin Butts show or have an experience you'd like to share.