July was a big month for Fayetteville resident Kim Collom – she’s celebrating the release of her self-titled debut EP. The U of A graduate’s five-song album of Country music originals is currently available on iTunes.
Kim had an Album Release Concert at the Garden Room on Dickson Street on Thursday, July 7th at 7:00 P.M. The event was a great success. She performed with musicians from Apex School of Music. Apex has been working with Kim to learn more instruments.
We had a chance to catch up with Kim ahead of her album release to talk about what inspired her.
Star Shopper: “How did you get interested in music?”
Kim: “I started singing when I was 5 in choir. I’ve always loved to sing. Bentonville, where my family has lived since I was in high school, has one of the top choir programs in the nation. It’s phenomenal. I was in three choirs in high school – Chamber, Women’s and A Cappella. There were only 29 of us in the Chamber Choir.
Terry Hicks and Kayla Abernathy were my mentors there. They were phenomenal directors and taught me a lot. When they found out I was going to the University of Arkansas, they encouraged me to try out for the chior there.
I made it into the top choir at U. of A., which was Schola Cantorum. I was in that for two years”.
Star Shopper: “What was that like?“
Kim: “It was a really great experience. There were only 20 of us. It was a little different for me because I wasn’t a music major. They were all music majors, and I was a business major. I was doing it to sing.
I was also in Kappa Kappa Gamma all four years of college, and I sang for my sorority every year. I sang during recruitment and at every event possible including Greek Sing. In Kappa I got solos and I sang in so many weddings. I think I sang in 7 weddings in one Summer.
One of my very best friends in Kappa… her younger brother put out his own album, wrote his own music, and everything. He recorded at a studio in Bentonville, Haxton Road Studios. He introduced me to Neil Greenhaw at Haxton. Neil suggested starting out with a demo.
It was my first time in a recording studio, and I wasn’t quite ready. I needed to work up to the idea of recording. I came back eight months later, and I was like, “OK, I’m ready to do this.”
I got the finished track at the beginning of Fall. When I heard it, I said, ‘OK, this is what I want to do. I want to do this’. So I approached Neil and said, ‘I want to do an album. Let’s record an album’.
Neil and I talked and we decided a full album is a lot to do your first time, so we decided to do a 5 song EP. He set me up with a songwriter, Kayla Bailey. We co-wrote all the songs; she did all the music and we wrote the words together. She lives in Chicago. When we would write, we would Skype-write. She has her own publishing company, has recorded her own albums, went to Belmont University in Nashville. We really hit it off and had great chemistry and she helped produce my album. We started writing in November. We were done with our five songs in February.
The studio was free in April, and I flew Kayla in for the recording. We were in there for four days. We brought in a drummer, a bassist, a guitar player, and a piano player. The first day you lay down the drums & percussion, then the piano, the guitar and the bass. Then I went in to sing my tracks and the background and then it gets mixed. I’m kind of a perfectionist. I really wanted it to be perfect and successful. There are so many people from Fayetteville who have been successful.
In May, I started getting the tracks back in May, one by one. It was amazing.”
Star Shopper: “Who is your musical inspiration?“
Kim: “Miranda Lambert is a personal favorite. Everybody loves Carrie Underwood. She provided a lot of the inspiration for two songs we did, especially the instruments and the mood; those two songs a little bit angry. I also love singing “Jolene” from Dolly Parton, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks”.
Star Shopper: “Were there any songs you pulled from life here in Northwest Arkansas?“
Kim: “I think there is one song called “Being a Girl”, where I talk about the way girls are pressured to look a certain way and be a certain way, especially here in the South. I do not fit that mold whatsoever”.
Star Shopper: “What is your favorite place to go see live music in NWA?“
Star Shopper: “What are your aspirations?“
Kim: I want this to be successful. This has been my dream since I was 5 years old, to be a singer. I would love for this to lead to more things and get out and play. Just continue to live out my dream.
Star Shopper: “You’re also a school teacher in Bentonville?“
Kim: “4th grade. It’s been a lot to juggle and handle – recording my first album while also doing my first year of teaching. It was a lot to take on.
Star Shopper: “What’s your favorite part of teaching?“
Kim: “I love the relationship I have with my kids. It’s a different kind of bond. They look up to you in such a specific way. The girls would even French braid their hair like mine. I’d always play Jimmy Fallon clips for them – the appropriate ones – like Kid Letters. At the end of the year, my class got to send a letter to Jimmy Fallon for Kid Letter.
I want to encourage my students to follow their dreams just like I am doing now. The show and record is a prime way for me to show children and people to always follow your dreams!”