kaylee cole
Gig Seeker Pro

kaylee cole

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Making Noise about Spokane's Kaylee Cole"

"Please note that the Sunset is silent." These words are written on a Post-It that bartender/Saturday Knights bassist Holly Deye has just stuck on the bar in front of me. Indeed, I had been thinking the same thing. Singer-songwriters quite often complain (understandably) about chatter during their sets, but that affliction never seems to strike Spokane's Kaylee Cole. The 22-year-old is sitting alone on the Sunset stage with only a Nord stage piano and a microphone in front of her, and a reverent and speechless audience eating out of her hand. It's an exceptional feat for confessional songwriting to sound so naturally split between the planes of vulnerability and confidence. Perhaps this is part of her power.

Is Kaylee Cole the new Cat Power?Thanks to her tone and phrasing, it's impossible not to think of Cat Power's Chan Marshall while listening to Cole, but her inquisitive, imaginative edge brings Joanna Newsom to mind, while her direct delivery and striking, economical lyricism ("All I've got are these holes where my skin used to grow/Oh my silly scars, they remind me/Etched in my bones, they do define me") make the overall sound entirely her own.

Cole came to Seattle's attention through the joint efforts of local publicist (and former Spokane resident) Ashley Graham, who works with a growing roster of on-the-verge local talents including TacocaT, Team Gina, and See Me River. See Me River frontman and Aviation Records founder Kerry Zettel was bowled over the first time he saw her. "Ashley had contacted me about setting up a show at the Cha Cha Lounge, and I was easily persuaded after hearing Kaylee's music," he recalls. Those magical crowd-silencing powers of hers were in effect that night as well. "The entire room was silent, including [notoriously rambunctious gang] Hate City kids sitting in the front row," Zettel continues. "At the end of the night, one of the bartenders remarked that it was so quiet during Kaylee's set that no one was even ordering drinks. She became part of the Aviation family the next day. It's rare to find someone with so much talent with the obvious potential to do a ton more."

Astonishingly, Cole is about as green as they come, having been writing and playing out for less than two years. "I took piano lessons as a kid, but stopped in 5th or 6th grade," she explains via phone from her day job at a coffee roaster in Spokane a few days later. "I did middle-school choir, and then gave up on that as well. I re-taught myself how to play the piano a little over a year and a half ago. My roommate had a piano, so I just sat down and started playing again. I was just kind of lost [personally], and I had no idea what would happen next."

What would happen next was a whirlwind recording session at Red Room Recordings (arranged by Zettel) in Fremont with These Arms Are Snakes drummer Chris Common. The resulting debut, We're Still Here Missing You, will be released on Aviation this coming November. As for the source of all this precocious output, Cole seems to subscribe to the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction school of composition. "Most of my songs are pretty literal—they are inspired by events that have happened in my life or people that I know and their stories," she explains. "At some point I'm going to run out of stories to tell, so...I'm going to have get better at [writing about] things that aren't so personal."

Hannah Levin-Seattle Weekly, Sept. 2008

http://www.seattleweekly.com/2008-09-17/music/making-noise-about-spokane-s-kaylee-cole/ - Seattle Weekly

"Capitol Hill Block Party 2008: Kaylee Cole"

I am head over heels in love with Kaylee Cole.

Her set at the Cha Cha was recommended to me at the last minute, as I was scouring the Block Party schedule for interesting, undiscovered talent. $2 beer specials and beautiful atmosphere helped seal the deal. If you haven't been to the Cha Cha, know that not even the throngs of Block Partiers could ruin its ambiance. Of all the stages this year, this one felt the most intimate -- which was perfect for Kaylee's performance.

She sat down at an electric piano and started to play soft, mournful notes. When she sang her first lines her voice broke our hearts but wanted desperately to put them back together. Her vocals are soulful, strong but playfully held back, like Fiona Apple without the traces of angst. Her banter between songs, in contrast, was sweet as ice cream. "Sign up for my mailing list," she told us, "and I'll send you emails. Or recipes."

In some organic fashion, many of us found ourselves sitting in front of her keyboard as she performed, staring up to her and swaying like it was musical story time. She goofed once, hitting the wrong note while scatting during a later number, then wondered out loud, "Who messes up 'Ba-Bas?'" The gaff and her sweet, self-depreciating manner afterward just made us love her more.

-Cory Banks, July 27, 2008
- Three Imaginary Girls

"Festival Blog"

Word is Spokane's Kaylee Cole started singing and writing songs just a year ago. She had a wonderfully nuanced voice and emotional range considering, and her piano-led solo pop tunes were surprisingly complex and catchy. The aggressively cute, blue-eyed, blond-haired 22-year old subsumed apparent influences (Tori Amos, Joanna Newsom) to arrive at a hopelessly likable sound. "This is a song about Spokane," she said; the chorus went "Every day is the same and nothing is gonna change around here."

-Jonathan Zwickle - Seattle Times

"Kaylee Cole Waltzes into our Hearts"

At times whimsical, at times weary, but always smiling, Kaylee Cole celebrated two births tonight at the Cha Cha Lounge. The first was her own. “Thank you all for coming out tonight,” the Spokane performer said to a crowd of 50 standing, sitting and squatting around her and her ruby red Nord keyboard on the Cha Cha’s makeshift stage. “I’m so happy to be here, especially since it’s. My. Birthday!” Cheers from the crowd. “I’m 22 today. I’ve been playing music now for 2 years.”

If the songwriter’s unabashed giddiness confirmed her youth and inexperience, the beauty of her craft and ease in front of a discerning and unfamiliar crowd bellied it. Excitedly preempting every song with a brief bit of context–”This is a fun song,” “This is a Christmas song,” “This is a depressing song”–Cole spent the evening regaling the audience with a breadth of simple-but-imaginative songwriting, all based around the bright-eyed pianist’s comfortably loose waltzes, three of which can be found on the evening’s second object of celebration, Cole’s latest EP and first for Seattle-based Aviation Records.

“This is a song about a recurring dream I would have as a child,” Cole said well into her set, having already quieted the room. “This big water would come and take me away and I would drown. That’s all. Sometimes I stop short.” Then she played “Living Lost,” a plaintive ballad off the new EP that finds Cole almost slurring her usually sharp vocal lines, dragging the words out, as if to sea, while her fingers slowly tiptoed town the keyboard. “Last night I thought that I could find you here, as I closed my eyes tight,” she sang. “Last night I thought I could get you back.” By the time she reached the final line, singing “All I’ve ever been was a sinking ship, far away from my harbor,” it was clear that this music, inspired by childhood, was anything but childish. It’s an aesthetic that Cole plays with often, especially on her latest material, pairing a wide-eyed naivete with existential dread. On “The Hills” (not named for the television series, she assured the audience) she sings, “If I head for the hills, will I forget my pills? If I run to the sea, will my death follow me?” Like most great pop musicians, Cole knows that the tension created from contradiction is musical manna. Even if she loses her newcomer’s charm, this skill will serve Cole and her future audience well.

Still, the juxtaposition of Cole’s ebullient on-stage persona and her music’s emotional depth is incredibly energizing, never allowing the audience to settle into any comfort zone. “This song is called ‘Baby’s Blood,’” she said, introducing a song that will be included on her debut full-length, due in September. “That’s the best name I could come up with, but if you’ve got another one that is better, please tell me. If not, though, I’m just gonna do it. Yep. That’s what I do.” She smiled a grand goofy smile and then tilted her head, her twin blond braids swinging slightly, as she entered into a mother’s lament that, for three minutes, sucked the air out of the room. “What do I have/ What do I have/ That you don’t already have on me?” she sang to muted admiration. Then she lifted her hands from her keyboard, beamed and hid slightly behind her microphone as the room erupted.
-Mark Baumgarten
- Seattle Sound Magazine

"Rapid Mood Swings"

At a little after 11 pm last Friday, Empyrean erupted with applause. Though the front room couldn't have held more than 30 people, wedged haphazardly into the spaces between tables, the audience clamor over Kaylee Cole's performance felt like the work of 60.

She had just finished singing "Ghost Song." Less haunting than rich with the imagery of loss, the song was made a bit ethereal by the vocal reverb left on the mixer after Josh Hedlund's set. Cole's voice — a warbly, lispy, coy, affected thing, with considerable dexterity and surprising range — toyed with her lyrics, drawing out words for emphasis, omitting syllables to play with expectation. "I've got to leave you tonight / I've got to leave you tonight / but if I leave you / when I leave you / I won't leave you / 'cause, I'll stay along ..." The piano part was simple and twinkling under a mournful viola played by a girl named Kim. It wasn't Cole's most complex or successful work of the evening, but it was the final swell that caused the wave to break, sending people into a reverie. People hooted and cheered. A few began chanting her name. They demanded something Spokane audiences seldom ask of their local acts: an encore.

These were not Cole's friends cheering, nor the hyper-supportive coterie of singer-songwriters that usually hangs out at Empyrean (they all had shows elsewhere). The clamor was primarily the work of complete strangers drunk on the ecstasy of new musical infatuation. Kaylee Cole — pianist of eight months, songwriter of perhaps six — had taken an unfamiliar room and turned it.

It's a rare and strange thing for a performer to captivate a crowd so fully as Cole did. Usually it happens on the heels of intense nostalgia or expensive pyrotechnics or both. Impressive, then, for her to manage it with just that gravelly, sexy, sad voice; a worn coffee shop upright; and a little accidental reverb. Whatever sparks she gave off were cast with voice, character, imagery and those crooked, preternatural fingers twinkling across that battered piano. Whatever sense of community existed was born of her intense, showy displays of humanity.

Those displays, in truth, weren't easy to digest. Cole had stepped onstage and, in an affable, self-deprecating way, introduced herself. "Um, this is a song about my car crash," she said, sounding a little like Mary Katharine Gallagher. She paused and fiddled with her hands before turning toward the piano. In a seeming moment of hesitance and uncertainty, the girl who'd just started playing hadn't yet figured out how to begin. She pushed her hands down upon the keys, though, and, as the first tempestuous notes of "Car Wreck Song" bubbled their way out of the piano, she became a different person. Her eyes closed, her left foot pumped the floor as her right manned the pedals. Her face screwed up in ways it never did otherwise. She grinned out of the side of her face; she bared her teeth. She pushed back against the piano, fighting with it, beating it until it yielded not just the notes, but the quality and tempo and feeling she wanted. Cole sang yearningly about hitting a stopped car on the freeway outside Portland, dumping lyric metaphor into a melodic whirlpool until it became less personal trauma than group therapy.

Cole was completely beguiling and counts among the most surprising moments of concert-going I've ever experienced. Though it was clearly a stage persona, she wore it so perfectly and completely there was no reason to think, as someone who had never really talked to her, that this Kaylee Cole wasn't the real one. Then the song ended. Her shoulders drooped, her head bowed, she sat briefly on her hands, then spent three minutes stuttering her thanks to the audience. Blam. The spell was broken. She was just some girl again, and I had no one to sing my thoughts. That sharp, jarring shift happened 10 times, once for each song she sang.

Two days later, I asked her about it. We'd gone to the chapel at Gonzaga to run through some of her songs, searching for the alchemy that had made a room of people swoon. She swore her stage presence wasn't an act, but a different aspect of her personality. "I think the part of me singing these songs is a realm I've never explored," she said. That felt genuine, but why — how — was it so different from her day-to-day personality? "Our greatest gift is our ability to express a range of emotion," she said, casting the question off. "It's the way I survive."

This wasn't an answer I liked. As she played a few melodies and worked on lyrics, I tried rephrasing the question. It wasn't the shift in emotion so much as the pendulum swing from so profoundly confident in song to so hopelessly deflective of praise after. So I decided to tell her, in no uncertain terms, how good I thought she really is.

Kaylee Cole is a smart, well-spoken girl, but here words failed her. It seemed hard for her to process how much love and admiration audiences had begun to give to something she'd created. Her eyes got glassy, looking for about two seconds like she was going to cry. Then she changed the subject.

It became clear in that moment the most jarring part of Cole's performance wasn't the clash of in-song and after-song personalities. It was the slow-dawning realization that this girl honestly doesn't seem to understand how deeply gifted she is. Possessed of the spark to conjure gorgeous melodies and the patience to hammer out elaborate image patterns and lyric meter, Kaylee Cole is a songwriter born fully formed while still discovering what that means.

She'll get used to the applause, by and by, learning to take the love with a bit more grace. One thing that happens, there'll be nothing to focus on but her intense, shifting persona and those troubling lyrics.
-Luke Baumgarten
- Inlander


We're Still Here Missing You (2008)

No More Birds (2007)
Kaylee Cole (2008)



Not even two years ago, Kaylee Cole sat down at a piano. It had been nearly a decade since the twenty-two year old had played, and as her hands and her voice gently cozied up to a sound that was earnest, almost unconsciously haunting, and breathtaking in its elegant sincerity, her brain opened up to a style of songwriting that reflects a careful reverence toward what it means to be human.
With the release of her first full-length album this month, We’re Still Here Missing You, Cole goes to show how art that emerges quickly and effortlessly is often the stuff that penetrates the deepest into the core of its audience. It’s the blackberry bush that pops up out of nowhere—ripe, healthy, and confident—then quickly becomes the fruit, the comfort, the decadence that you rely on most. You didn’t even know how much you craved/adored/needed blackberries, but when they thrust themselves into your universe, they are simultaneously exotic and familiar. A welcome change from your supermarket apples and bananas; they are repeatedly refreshing.

Cole grew up in the quiet, wee town of Bay View, Washington, then moved to Spokane in 2005 to study business. Just months after she hunkered down with a keyboard—revisiting the wispy memories of childhood piano lessons and essentially re-teaching herself the nuances of music—Cole played her first Spokane show in April 2007. By January 2008, she was out in Seattle on a mini seven-show tour that warmed the ears of repeatedly rapt audiences. Cole’s diverse audiences across Pacific Northwest gigs have gobbled up her two EPs, waiting hungrily for the release of the album.

Recorded in September 2008, We’re Still Here Missing You, collates Cole’s unpretentious lyricism with a style of music that does not waver in its organic attention to unique, charming melodies.

By turns smoky and whimsical, the changes within a single vowel sound can hook a listener into Cole’s thoughtful, lovely world. Before you know it, your mouth is so crammed full with fifteen huge blackberries—some sweet, some tart, some complicated—and you’re so enormously satisfied you don’t even noticed the thick line of juice dripping off your chin.

-Jane Berentson, New York, NY, November 2008