Kristen Bales
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Kristen Bales

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Jazz




"Iron Wing Studios Presents Iron Wing Live!"

We sat down with Kristen, the first of a long line of phenomenal artists that will grace the Iron Wing Live set.

What was the inspiration behind the song "Thirty-Seven-Sixty"?
My friends are actually the inspiration behind "Thirty-Seven Sixty"---I grew up in a small town in Dayton where my graduation class consisted of the majority of people I began Kindergarten with. Needless to say, most of my childhood friends I still have a very intimate and close relationship with today. I am so grateful for these friendships, those of my close friends whom I've had as an influence in my life for many years. Thirty-Seven Sixty was written with this in mind. I feel like my close friends have been around me so long that they deserved to be written about.

How does the preparation for a video shoot differ from a live performance?
Everything from the setup to the performance itself was completely different than an actual live performance. A lot of work went into the video (Brandon did such a fantastic job with it, too!), and we took several takes to get just the right angles for every part of the video. And of course, obviously there wasn't an audience of people in front of me.

What is your relationship with Iron Wing Studios?
I actually recorded my first EP, a self-titled album, at Iron Wing Recording studios. I guess at this point I can go out on a limb and say I've worked with Brandon a lot (ha!)----in high school I was in a band that recorded there first LP at Iron Wing. I was so impressed by my experience with the staff and the quality of the music, that I couldn't wait to come back and bring in some of my own music! Really, Iron Wing was my first personal experience in fleshing out my own music in the recording process.

Tell us about the video shoot... One take and done or was it more involved? Was it odd to have to be so "on" with no crowd interaction?
As I said before, we took several takes to shoot the video. It wasn't too many of course---but definitely more than a single take! Actually, it wasn't too hard to "be on" without a crowd. There's definitely something about seeing faces react to a lyric or a musical hook---crowd reactions are awesome, and I definitely feed off of that during a performance. But, with the purpose of the video in mind and the hope that a few people and fans were going to view it, it wasn't hard to grasp that energy. Also, I'm a big advocate of practicing "stage presence" without a live audience. If you can't do it on your own, without an audience, there's no way you're going to deliver during a performance. I've had many "concerts" in my living room singing to pillows and inanimate objects. Yes, everyone in my house laughs at me. Yes, it seems ridiculous. But hey, it works!

Your band in the that the band you tour with or a studio band?
The band in the video was comprised of people who previously attended/are attending Anderson University, I'm currently a Junior there. I've played with each of the players quite a bit, usually when a show requires a full band I bring them in. I typically prefer to play an acoustic set live, but I really enjoy having a band when I can! They're awesome, talented guys---each of them works on separate projects in which they put a lot of time and energy. Jon, the bass player, actually works as a freelance producer at his studio in downtown Anderson (The Varsity Recording Co.)----he produced/engineered the actual audio copy of "Thirty Seven Sixty" that will be released shortly after this video is. The project is just one testament to his producing and engineering skills. Isaac works as a studio drummer and plays with several successful bands in the area---he also recently took a job as an assistant worship leader in Carmel, Indiana. Caleb, the guitarist, has been touring with BEC's new artist Adam Cappa. Anyways, the diversity and talent of the band really helped pull the music together!

What is next for Kristen Bennett? Tour, album etc...
Man, I'm not entirely sure. For me, I'm going to finish up school next year and continue to establish myself as an artist. Putting work into my studies is my first priority, but I always make room for playing music. This fall I've been fitting in as many shows as I can with my work at school, and I will continue to play out on weekends next Spring. I love the concept of the live show, and engaging with new people. I'm looking at releasing a full-length album soon, possibly in the spring. This single will be included on the album. In the summer I'm also looking at interning at a church, and possibly getting involved in ministry. If time provides, hopefully I can sneak a tour in there somewhere! It's been busy, but as soon as I'm finished with school there will be more room to focus, travel often, and play out more. My hope is to spread a message of joy to others, something that ordinary people need....and ordinary people can relate to. - Cincy Music

"Emerging Indie Bands"

Originating as a solo performer with a folk derivation, over time the project has expanded to a full line-up with Therapy marking a full transition to the new direction of musical travel.

Drawing from the well of rock and soul filtered through a Nashville mesh Therapy has a timeless appeal – being both new and current yet somehow retrospectively familiar with the song generating warmth as it flows through the room.

The thick carpeting of guitars and pedals weaves through bass and percussion while the expressive vocal is given space to range widely and by the time Therapy is finished the listener is already looking for news of an LP. - Emerging Indie Bands

"Indy In-Tune Featured Interview"

Featured interview, premiere of "Therapy", and LIVE acoustic concert. Podcast to be released in a few weeks. - Indy In-Tune


"Therapy" is track #18 of Spotify curator Songpickr's featured playlist, "Fresh Finds: Undiscovered Artists". - SongPickr

"The Morning Stream"

"I'm totally digging this!" - Brian Ibbott, of award-winning podcast "Coverville". Scroll to 51:20 for the full feature. - The Morning Stream

"Rock the Pigeon"

Kristen recently released feel good rock tune called “Therapy” on February 11th, 2018. It’s an empowering track about moving on and it’s sure to get anyone who listeners on their feet and moving around! The song starts of bluesy and funky and really picks up to a rock song in the chorus. The whole song is very catchy. The guitar solo in the middle is dreamy and psychedelic. The transition from this space-like guitar solo back into the hook of the song is very smooth and uplifting. The track feels vintage but still has a modern vibe to it so it’s able to draw in every age listener. Kristen is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a full band fronted by Kristen Bales.

Find out more info about the band: - Rock the Pigeon

"BroadTube Music Channel Interview"

Discuss the composition of this song.

“Therapy” started out as a statement I wrote down on a sheet of notebook paper, which I sat down on my desk for about a week. I had been processing the events that had happened to me in the past year—a move back from a crowded life in Nashville, TN to Midwestern Indianapolis, IN, several family deaths, and a regional tour during which (unbeknownst to me at the time) I was battling mono. I had spent an entire year feeling defeated, exhausted, and creatively drained. I felt like I needed therapy, so instead of going to therapy, I decided to capture that emotion in a song.




State the name of your producer and elaborate on the production of the song.

My producer, Jon Class of the Varsity Recording Co., is a wizard. When we originally met up for pre-production, it became clear that keeping the sound organic, authentic, and vintage was the top priority. Jon brought in a variety of players to give their own flare to the track, each contributing to our original vision while taking the music to the next level. We drew from elements and influence from the bands Vulpeck, Alabama Shakes, and Lake Street Dive.




Go into details on the lyrics of the song.

When I see myself in the mirror, I can picture my old self: someone consumed with a busy lifestyle, making a living, becoming successful, looking good—things that led me to a place I would rather forget. No matter how many times I look in the mirror, I’ll still catch remnants of a past self that I’d rather forget—but I chose to not keep that life in tow. “Cause every time I look in the mirror, I see your face a little more clearer, you left a part of you with me, whether you like it or not—get out of my head.”

The entire song is an ode to my past self, but not in the way you might imagine. It’s coming to the realization that there are parts of me that I really hate, and building up the courage to face those parts of me so that I can keep moving forward.

“My wish for you is nothing more than what you deserve, that every sign and page would write your name off the Earth”

There aren’t a lot of lyrics in the song, but that was intentional—I wanted to keep it simple and straightforward. Oftentimes when I sing the chorus it’s almost like a chant to keep that part of myself away, but other nights it feels like more of a declaration.




Elaborate on your music career.

Back in 2012 I released my first self-titled EP under my maiden name, Kristen Bennett. I was a sophomore in college, and fronted a folk rock, pop band. I spent several years playing regularly in the Ohio River Valley. Being a native of Dayton, Ohio I had grown up learning jazz guitar from a local musician who would bring me out to his jazz gigs. It was an incredible experience to have at such a young age, and I am still so grateful for the opportunity I had to learn from such a renowned jazz guitarist.

In 2013 I released my sophomore EP “Someone Else’s Eyes” as a tribute to my late grandparents and the impact they had on my life. I played regularly throughout my college town, Anderson, Indiana, and came home on weekends to play shows with my hometown band. I spent that year writing music for an indie flick, Titans of PS-271 and collaborating with filmmakers to create a fantastic soundtrack.

In 2014-2015 I moved to Nashville, TN and participated in a three month showcase at the Contemporary Music Center, several months full of weekday gigs, writing in the studio, and production prep working up to a regional tour at the end of the season. I moved to Nashville preceding that experience, taking a short hiatus from the folk project, Kristen Bennett music.

In 2017 I revamped my music with “Merry Little EP” a collection of jazz inspired Christmas covers, recorded in a very chill, living room setting. I spent the rest of that year cultivating a new sound, a new image, and a completely new brand: “Kristen”. We recorded three consecutive singles, one of which was the latest release “Therapy”.

“Therapy” ushers in a new era for the band, a metamorphosis of the old folk number to a groovy band inspired by the likes of Elle King, Alabama Shakes, and Lake Street Dive. We love an insatiable groove, big guitars, and a soulful vibe.




Brief us on how you are reaching fans with your music.

I love my fans! I like to keep a good balance of social media and connecting through live shows. I play regularly in Indianapolis, but I also venture out to Cincinnati, Nashville, Louisville, Chicago, and northern Indiana. I love meeting new faces, old friends, and new fans at every show—but I also am a social media addict. I think it’s awesome to connect via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I love to actually engage in those who really care about my music, and I feel like it’s the best I can do in return for such amazing support for the music I love to make.




Discuss your motive behind making music.

Aside from not knowing how to do anything else—or being too stubborn to do anything but make some headway and simply make my path music—I love creating. I want to make something new that people can engage in, but also best represents what I know. I believe that I can be the most transparent version of myself when I’m making music, whether in a writing session, catching up with co-writers, talking with promoters, or waiting backstage. I want the music I make to inspire others; but even more than that, I hope that I can be remembered as someone who loved well and lived kindly through every interaction I make within my musical career.

So I guess if I had to sum it all up in one brief explanation: to connect with people in an organic, authentic way.



Discuss the process of your songwriting.

I like to set up an environment to song write — I’m a big fan of having a rhythm (no pun intended) especially when it comes to developing and generating ideas. I wake up before 10am, usually between 6-8am. The thoughts I have first thing in the morning are unfiltered and open, it leaves a lot of room for my brain to be flexible. I set aside a couple of hours, and gather ideas from quotes, pictures, and books I’ve been reading. I fill a few pages or so with a brainstorm, and start to strum out a progression I feel like fits the mood of the collection of my thoughts. After I settle in on a hook (or perhaps just a start), the lyrics tend to compliment the mood and structure of the song.

After this process I get a lot more specific about the song—I’ll draw outlines, make production notes, re-write lines, etc.

After about an hour or so I’ll hash out a melody that I feel is appropriate.

I’m always open to re-writing or letting a song hang around a few weeks before I move forward in the process. All good things take time, and good music is not an exception that value.




Brief us about your work and achievement so far in your music career.

When I was younger I began my musical career during guitar lessons—my guitar teacher took me along to play at local jazz guitar festivals and smaller, intimate gigs where I truthfully learned how to engage during a concert setting. Being an avid writer already (I enjoyed writing poems, short stories, and even started writing some of my own books) I quickly found ways to put words I had written to songs, which became a culmination of my first EP, a self-titled release in 2012.

I re-located to Indianapolis for college, in pursuit of a music business degree. I learned a whole new aspect of the industry, while growing in my own knowledge of my instrument. I played locally throughout college, with several different college bands as well as my own bandmates.

As I grew in my knowledge of the business and cultivated my songwriting skills, I felt like I needed to release more music. We recorded a few tunes in the infamous Gaither Studios in Alexandria, IN, a space treasured by musical legends such as Sandi Patti and Michael English. In the fall of 2014 I released “Someone Else’s Eyes” an EP dedicated to the love I saw between my grandparents. I spent the year playing on weekends throughout the Ohio River Valley, and finished off the year coordinating a soundtrack of my own songs for an indie film, “Titans of PS-271”. I continued to grow in my ingenuity of the music business, and worked tirelessly to volunteer my time and effort to create strategic marketing plans for several local bands. Later that year I received the NAMM Presidential Innovation Award for music business excellence.

To cap off my senior year, I moved to Nashville to fulfill an internship at the Contemporary Music Center. I spent an entire season writing, recording, performing weekly showcases, and learning the ins and outs of the music industry. We finished off the internship with a regional tour and I came off the road with five studio recordings. In the summer of 2015 I moved to Nashville, TN working three jobs—booking agent, part-time sales associate, and tour manager. It was a busy, crowded life, but I was completely plugged into the industry in a 24-7 kind of way.

As January rolled around, I began to reevaluate my life. I hadn’t written any songs since I had been out of school and felt like I was consumed with my work. I moved back to Indiana to pursue a part-time teaching job, which eventually turned into a full-time music directing, vocal coaching, and producing gig. I started to write and didn’t have any intention of stopping. I made a promise to myself to start utilizing my booking skills for my own musical career, and actual use the knowledge of the business I had gathered for an entirely new project. In December of 2016 I released “Merry Little EP” on a whim—a short collection of Christmas covers with a jazz twist, complete with a warm, living room feel. That release kickstarted 2017.

What was original “Kristen Bennett Music” a folk group with tendencies towards pop, rock, and mainstream, became simply “Kristen” a collection of music that came from my roots in jazz and blues. I spent that spring in the studio recording “Therapy”, a groovy, vintage track capturing the essence of my experience in Nashville. That summer I spent every weekend on the road, playing 2-3 shows per weekend throughout the Midwest in Chicago, Nashville, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, South Bend, and more.

This year marks a metamorphosis of the old sound into an entirely new era. The band has transformed, and the music has as well. This year we will be releasing an additional two singles and taking to the road to promote the music.




Tell us your opinion on using rhymes dictionary or writing software to develop lyrics.

I know it’s cliché, but I love to use to get my words flowing. Even when crafting an e-mail, when I’m at a loss for words I pull the website up in my browser. When I was younger and thrived on writing books, poems, and the like, I used a handheld Thesaurus to spring inspiration when I lacked the motivation.




Discuss what is old and what is new in the music industry as in overall changes.

The music industry is changing on a daily basis, and it has since the internet came to be. The way we access music, the structure in which we create it—even the accessibility to the tools needed to create a hit record.

Anyone can release and record a record, which not only has expanded the depths of the music industry but also forced the business to change the way you can market, promote, and fashion a brand.

Being a teacher, I watch my students create and disperse music in ways I’ve never seen before. The ingenuity behind this new generation of musicians in infectious, and gives me hope that no matter the amount of change the music industry undergoes, there will still be a culture of raw, unadulterated, successful talent.



Elaborate on how you prepare yourself for a recording session.

I practice.

As much as I love the spontaneous, raw cut of a new song, I like to take the time to run through my songs before I get into a studio space. I don’t want to run the risk of wasting time cutting vocal tracks over and over again, or put the time and effort of my team in jeopardy.

I put a lot of thought into pre-production and taking the time to shape an idea and let it sit and cultivate before venturing into the studio. I want to produce something that best represents my original idea when I sat down to craft the song, but also create music that’s relevant and interesting to the listener’s ear.

I also try and spend the weeks up to the recording preserving my voice and getting an adequate amount of sleep (never take those hours for granted!) to put on an adequate performance to do the music justice.



Brief us on your preference in terms of tempo as in up-tempo, mid-tempo or slow tempo.

Does a swung tempo count?

I’m a jazz guitarist, I swing everything. I think every musician has a natural groove that they feel most comfortable in, perhaps something that was practiced over and over again when they first picked up an instrument until it became ingrained in their subconscious.

I would say, if anything mid-tempo is my wheelhouse. I can swing it; I can take the time to make the vocal interesting without losing its authenticity, and really sink into the tempo.




Discuss your shows or live performance.

I love recording, but I believe the best way to reach fans is through a live performance. Some bands only spend a couple days performing for a tour, but I take quite a few weeks to process, practice, and think through our live show.

I want to engage in an experience fans and friends will remember, and not just show up to play my songs—that’s nothing new if they’ve heard the recordings already. I put all that I have into my live performance, from the energy exerted during the show to the preparation leading up to it. I make it a point to invest in every person that shows up to support the show, too. I want to make the live show a memorable experience, to whatever audience or room we play in.




Discuss working as a full time or part time musician.

I split my time as a musician up as a teacher and an independent singer/songwriter, and I love it. Oftentimes, I learn more from the kids I teach then they learn from me—it keeps me on my toes as a musician, but also allows the growth I need as a guitar player and a singer. I’m constantly singing—taking students through warm-ups, explaining vocal technique, and looking for better ways to teach and reach my students. I like to study before I implement a teaching, but I also put those things I teach into practice on the road.



Send a message across to your fans and supporters.

I cannot thank you enough for your support and encouragement throughout my entire musical career. Whether you’ve been there since “Kristen Bennett Music” or just joined me for the journey, thank you for lending me your ears. I hope that no matter what place in life you’re at, that I can keep making music that engages, connects, and entertains.



Discuss the story line of the song.

When I came home from Nashville, I carried a lot of baggage. I spent an entire year consumed a busy life, but also experienced four deaths in my family over the course of two years. I remember coming home that year to two consecutive funerals, literally a week apart. A lot was going on in my life, and before even beginning to create the music I took out a sheet of paper and wrote down “Therapy”.

I knew at the time I needed therapy, but instead I just decided to write that statement down, so I would remember that place I was in. Months later, I came back to that sheet of paper and decided to write a song about my experience.

I didn’t want to make the lyrics very specific, hoping that I could reach a broader emotion with the kind of emotion I was having.



Tell us what makes this song unique from others.

This song is built on musical layers. In the opening few lines the instrumentation is sparse, but the bass, drums, and guitar establish an insatiable groove. As the hook cuts into the chorus, the audible layers build with vocal harmony, keys, and organ.

The breakdown was meant to sound like the inside of a brain during a therapy session: phased-out talking, a far-out guitar solo–it feels like you’re out in space.

“Get out of my head” can be taken so many ways, but I feel like musically, the song captures that lyric in an interesting way.

Plus, it’s got a vintage, groovy vibe that sticks with you long after the track is over.




Tell us the subject matter of most of your composition.

I love to write from my own experience, the things I know the best. I enjoy writing a storyline, but for the most part, I sneak in some sort of experience I’ve had in hopes that it will resonate with the listener’s own experience.



Tell us the official date of release.

The single was released on February 11th, 2018.
. - BroadTube Music Channel

"February's Highlights From the Hosier State"

February was a great month for new music, and this was especially the case for artists from Indiana, who released some of the month’s best singles. Here are four tunes that really made me proud to be a Hoosier last month.

Kristen – “Therapy”: The debut single from up and coming indie group Kristen is a groovy chart that borders right on the fringe of rock and pop. Here, a funky bassline and driving keys serve as the glue that hold everything together. Add in frontwoman (and the band namesake) Kristen Bales’ powerful Motown-like soul, and it’s no wonder “Therapy” feels so retro. - I Am Tuned Up

"Choice Cuts to Start Your Week"

"Kristen can sing with some raw, powerful energy. It absolutely defines the song and we love that." - Ear to the Ground Music

"Kristen Bales - Pink Power Mixtape Episode #1 presented by MFT on WQRT Indianapolis"

Originally airing 03/10/2022, host The Girl Called BOOKS speaks with Kristen Bales debuting the first of their PinkPower Mixtape series this episode. Featuring songs from: Adele, Lianne La Havas, Alabama Shakes, Lake Street Dive, Yebba & Kristen Bales. - WQRT

"10 Local Women in the Music Scene You Need to Know in 2022"

If alternative music is your jam, look no further than Kristen Bales. This Indianapolis-based performer picked up a guitar and voice lessons when she was 13 and never looked back. She released her first single in 2017, “Therapy,” and is releasing a single every month this year, which will be compiled into a full-length album in December. As for her music style, she draws inspiration from Lake Street Dive, Norah Jones, and Alabama Shakes.

“I always tell my songwriting students to ‘write from who they are—their experience, their lives, what they’ve seen and how they perceive it.’ Oftentimes I feel like I’m repeating it back to myself as a distinct reminder of my ‘why,’” Bales said. “A story is worth sharing, worth giving back to the world—the cost of sharing is little to none when the reward of sharing alongside others is so much more beautiful.” - Indy Maven


Kristen Bennett EP - Kristen Bennett (2012)
Someone Else's Eyes EP - Kristen Bennett (2014) 
Merry Little EP - Kristen Bennett (2016) 
Therapy - Kristen (2018) - Single

West Coast - Kristen Bales (2022) - Single

End to Forever - Kristen Bales (2022) - Single



Kristen is an indie-alternative/rock band out of Indianapolis, Indiana fronted by Kristen Bales. With a voice that at times appears relaxed and pristine, like the sweet crooning of Norah Jones, but at times crashes against the heavy, soul-filled tones of Janis Joplin, Kristen turns to roots of jazz to exemplify genres of blues, rock, and soul. 

Kristen formed from a project that began in 2012; a self-titled EP simply titled “Kristen Bennett” which followed several years of touring across the country, writing, and creating. A native of the Midwest, Kristen became a familiar face among the Ohio River Valley, appearing regularly at local festivals, the Underground, and collaborating with independent filmmakers to cultivate a soundtrack for the indie flick, Titans of PS-271. In 2013 she recorded her EP “Someone Else’s Eyes” in the infamous Gaither Studios.

In the spring of 2015 Kristen spent four months in Nashville, Tennessee recording, writing, and cultivating her live show at the Contemporary Music Center. The brief season culminated with a national tour, nearly six studio recordings, and over 20 local shows. Nashville left traces of an entirely new sound—roaring guitars, haunting vocals, and resounding melodies.

Years later, the band has transformed from a small indie-folk number to a combo that resounds with the likes of Elle King, Alabama Shakes, and Lake Street Dive.

This next year brings new faces and fresh beginnings for the band as Kristen takes to the road to promote the release of her new single, "West Coast". The year will conclude with a full-length album release that captures Kristen’s long overdue metamorphosis of the old folk band, into a new groovy era for Kristen.

Band Members