11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Kfhox

Kfhox (Photo by Derek Blanks)

Stealing Monty Python’s trademark transitional line “And now for something completely different,” it’s time for 11 Questions to leave the comfort of its safe Americana musical home. Are you ready to experience the beat- driven modern pop sound of the artist known as Kfhox who unprofessionally goes by Kathryn F. Hoxie?

After teasing us with two tasty singles in 2019, Kfhox will drop her third full-length album, “Love 360°,” appropriately this coming Valentine’s Day through the folks at Karmically Sound/Stinger Boy Entertainment. I predict that won’t be long until you start hearing the smooth groove of the new record’s lead track  “L-O-V-E” on the radio.

The multi-talented Kfhox, a lifelong visual artist who has also written a book for children, will be making local musical appearances on February 12 at Lightning 100’s “Writers Night” at HOME over in East Nashville and then on February 18 at the Tin Roof’s “Top Notch Tuesdays” down on Lower Broadway.

Thanks to Kfhox for taking my suggestion of “embellishing your 11 answers” to a new level! It was great to get to know her through this process and there’s a great read awaiting you below. Here’s to success on the new record and the upcoming shows!

 

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I was born and raised in East Greenwich, RI, one of the smallest towns in the smallest state in the country. I broke out of small town living as soon as I possibly could. I moved to New York the moment I graduated high school and never went back. I stayed in New York throughout my time in college, working full time, taking summer classes, and keeping New York as my home base from the moment I moved there.

Living in New York had its perks, but I needed a break after I graduated college. I gave all my stuff away and moved to Flagler Beach, FL with everything that would fit in my silver Dodge Neon. I had planned on taking a three-month break, but life happened. I ended up going back for my master’s degree and ended up there much longer than the planned three months. I sang in some contests, at a friend’s wedding, and auditioned for American Idol during my time in the sunshine state.

Eventually, a job relocation brought me back to New York. I had moved to Florida with a promise to myself and God that when I made it back to New York, I’d pursue my music more seriously. Shortly after my job had moved me back to New York, I got my wish and was challenged to make good on that promise. My position had been dissolved and I was let go abruptly after only seven months.

Overqualified with two master’s degrees at that point and limited work experience, I struggled to find work. In the midst of my job search, I was slowly making moves to get myself into entertainment. And when my job search proved futile, I hit the ground running, working in film and television doing background work. It was easy money, but I was really in it for the networking. I wanted to find like-minded people that could possibly provide some insight as to how I could take the next step.

Working on the set of Blue Bloods, I met a kid who was in a band. We became Facebook friends and I saw that he was doing a Kickstarter to raise money for his band’s next album. I clicked on the link and thought;” I could do that.” And I did. I raised $5,155 in 32 days for my first music project. That was the beginning of me taking the complete leap of faith and realizing that the universe was conspiring with me to live in my purpose as a musician.

During that first Kickstarter, my apartment was broken into, and I ended up selling everything I owned and moving into my Jeep to finish my first music project, an EP. I was too scared to keep coming home to my apartment after the break-in, and I couldn’t afford to move so it just seemed like what I needed to do. I planned my entire EP release party while homeless, living out of my car.

I spent almost ten years on countless stages across New York City, everywhere from The Bitter End, Webster Hall, Lenox Lounge, and The Cutting Room to name a few, and all throughout the Tri-state area. During that time, I raised over $11,000 for my music through crowdsourcing. But after releasing my first full-length album in 2015, I was starting to become aware that New York had kind of run its course in terms of what my goals were as an artist and songwriter.

After performing at SXSW, I had fallen in love with Austin and had even made some friends who played with me at the festival my first two years. The drummer was actually my Airbnb host initially. I asked him about his music room in the house and the next thing I knew, he ended up calling a couple of his friends to come play the SXSW stage with me after only just learning my music the day before. I loved everything about Austin- the people, the energy, the love for music. It felt like home. I spent my last few months in New York living out of a storage unit and Airbnbs as I prepared myself for the move.

But just as I had put all the wheels in motion to make my big Texas move, the woman that helped raise me suggested I go check out Nashville before I left for good. I knew there was no way that I could love a city more than I loved Austin, I obliged and went to go check it out. But when I got here, my assuredness of moving to Austin got a crack in it. I happened to visit Nashville during a CD Baby Music Conference and ended up knowing so many people at the conference and meeting some incredible people who helped me see the opportunities that existed in Nashville.

I flew back to New York with a whole new decision to make about my next move. One of the main things that tipped the scales was a connection I had with Buddy Brock, a retired hit song writer for country music, and coincidentally, my brother’s next-door neighbor, who lives in Gallatin. During my trip, Buddy took the time to listen to my music and give me feedback about it and also about what I’d been doing in New York. He told me that I had a real chance at doing something in Nashville and that there was only one way to find out if that was true…move.

So, a few months later, I found myself here on Christmas Day. I had been trying to wait out the holidays before I made the move, but I had waited long enough, and I was eager to start my next chapter. Two years in and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love this city. It really is the best of everything for me, with most of all, the music scene. The comradery and community are really second to none. I am so thankful to be here and what has come out of me musically as a result of this move has been incredible. I totally agree with the sign: “I Believe in Nashville.” And thankfully, I’m learning that Nashville believes in me, too.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The last record I bought was just that, vinyl. I bought Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. And just as I’m saying that, I remembered that the last CD I bought was by Cher, a compilation CD of her greatest hits. I bought the vinyl at Guitar Center and the CD at Walmart. Ha!

I’m also a fan of meandering around Goodwill and finding some gems there, especially for my vinyl collection. My music collection is wicked (I mentioned I’m from Rhode Island, right?), WICKED eclectic. LOL! (Is that a faux pas to write “LOL” in a written interview?) Sorry, not sorry.

Seriously though, my taste in music ranges from Broadway musicals to Radiohead to Enigma to Charley Crockett. I love all the different landscapes of music; there’s a song for every mood, for every experience.

I just recently finally made it to McKay’s for the first time, and I’m fairly sure I could easily lose a week in there. We were kind of on a mission when I went there so I only got to have a brief encounter with the magic that is McKay’s, but I’ll definitely be heading back soon to add to my CD, vinyl, and cassette collection, yeah, read that again. I also have a VCR. That’s another story for another time.

And just to give some local musicians a little shine while I’ve got you here. One of the first records I bought when I moved to town was Alex Kramer’s Young Avenue. I loved catching him live at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge when I first moved here, and that’s where I bought the vinyl. He’s an incredible musician and an awesome songwriter, along with his “partner-in-rhyme,” Nicole Boggs. I have her album, too, but the CD.

There is really no end to the talent here in town. I love that my collection of music is equal parts commercially successful artists, as well as indie artists from all over the country. I love walking away from a show with something in hand from the artist, so if CDs or vinyl are for sale at their show, I’m getting one or the other, or both.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

I believe the last concert I went to was the Opry. I brought my father to the Opry at The Ryman during his trip here this past November. My parents and I came here 25 years ago for a family friend’s wedding and we all went to the Opry during that trip. My mom became the #1 country music fan in East Greenwich, RI from that point on. She was excited when I moved to Nashville, so she had a reason to come back and catch the Opry again. Sadly, my mom fell ill shortly after I moved here, and she never made it back to the Opry. She passed away last November, and this was the first trip my dad took since her passing. The show was great and had some of my favorites, including Riders in the Sky, Jeannie Sealy, and Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express. But the absolute highlight of the evening was Vince Gill. He had performed on the Opry when we were there all those years ago. It was nostalgic to see him up there on that stage while I sat there with my dad. Vince shared a story about his mom before this final song and ended his set singing a song about her. I sobbed as I thought of my mother during that last song, but it was amazing to think that maybe my mom had even better seats that night than we did.

As for my first concert, it’s funny because I was trying to think of what it was the other day, but I can’t seem to recall. I went to a whole bunch of concerts growing up thanks to the woman that helped raise me, as well as my mom. I think it may have been Ringo Starr. I loved The Beatles as a little girl (not much has changed) and I was thrilled to see Ringo in concert. I grew up playing the drums starting in fifth grade. My heroes were Ringo and Karen Carpenter. My fifth-grade school picture is me wearing my t-shirt from that concert. Classic! And I finally saw Sir Paul right before I left New York for Nashville. I saw him at Barclay’s. It was magic, pure magic.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Is Roy Acuff really not on there? I read it back a few times just to double-check. I can’t believe Roy Acuff isn’t already on the list. He was a pioneer for music in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry. He was credited as being the person who shifted country music from being a hoe-down format to a star-centered format, with a singer taking the center stage. He made the Grand Ole Opry a household name throughout the world. He even ran for public office. Who do I write a letter to get him on the list? Ha! But seriously.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Ok, so I’m usually a huge supporter of local mom and pop kind of places, but I have to admit I’m a Starbucks junkie. My favorite spot is right by Vanderbilt. I can always find a seat and set up shop to get some work done at that particular location. Other than that, I’ve also enjoyed Ugly Mugs Coffee and 8th & Roast. My answer for pizza isn’t much better. I know I still need to go try Slim & Husky’s, but my go-to pizza is usually from Mellow Mushroom on Broadway or, from time to time, Two Boots.

But Nashville pizza is NOT New York pizza, even when the name is the same. Just saying. If you had asked about my favorite juice shop, it’d have been The Urban Juicer hands down. One of my biggest challenges when I moved to town was finding a new juice shop to get my green fix. The Urban Juicer has my favorite acai bowl: “Endless Summer”, my favorite smoothie: “Bee Green”, and my favorite green juice: “Bee Green”. I know you didn’t ask, but a girl can’t live on coffee and pizza alone, right?

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

You mean besides mine?! Seriously though, that’s a great question. I think I’m still learning all the different records that have come out of this amazing city, so I may not yet know my favorite record EVER, but more-so my favorite record that I’m aware of right now. I had to do a little digging for this one and I discovered that R.E.M.’s album Document (I.R.S. label) came straight outta Nashville! They recorded the album at Sound Emporium, and that was the album that ended up being their breakthrough commercial album. It was their FIFTH album! Two of my favorite songs by the group, “The One I Love” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” came from that breakthrough album recorded right here in Music City back in 1987. That music is timeless.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

The Diner downtown. So many options, maybe too many options?! It does feel like a bit of New York in Nashville, and I really like that about it. Not sure I’ve ever been to a diner in NY that has that many floors or served sushi, but you get the idea. And if it’s not too late, I also really love the food at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, my usual hang on Monday nights for the Corey Mac jam. I go for one of two options there: macaroni and cheese with blackened chicken or a chicken basket with Voodoo sauce with fries. If you get any kind of chicken at Bourbon Street, you have to go with the Voodoo sauce without exception- otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Love this question! One of my favorite aspects of moving to Nashville has been the beauty of the co-write. Through co-writing, I’ve gotten to connect with musicians from all different genres. I write for all genres, and it’s been amazing to link with musicians who write in a dedicated genre to help me get my chops up. Three songwriters come to the top of my head when I think about some of my favorite co-writes since I moved to town. In no particular order, these are the three I’d call to share the stage.

First, Lord Goldie. You might know her as Karizma. She’s an incredible artist, songwriter, and engineer. She was the first person I connected with on so many different levels when I moved to town. She’s also on one of the songs on my new album. We recorded a song called “Guilty,” and she dropped some real gems in that song. She’s an amazing lyricist and one of my best friends in all of Nashville, maybe even the world. If you’re not familiar with her, get to know her and her music. She’s a Nashville native and she’s knocking down doors every day as an indie artist.

Next up, my girl, Jessica Rio. We’ve had some amazing co-writes and co-writes-turned-hangs. She’s got great intuition as a songwriter, and I always enjoy connecting with her. We co-wrote this beautiful song called “I’m Learning,” that sheds light on the importance of self-love, self-forgiveness, and patience with the process. She’s got this great clip on Instagram of her and her son singing it. It really touched me that the song resonated with him and that he wanted to sing it with her. She’s currently recording her first EP and I’m excited to hear what she’s been working on!

And lastly (but not lastly), is my friend and co-writer, Michelle Canning. Like me, she’s originally from New England, just north of me in Massachusetts. We met while working at the Grand Ole Opry giving backstage tours. We got together one night at The Workshop and wrote a really cool tune together. She’s a bluegrass artist so I was in heaven when I first heard her play banjo. She’s a total bad ass musician and a wonderful human being. She’s been performing all over the country and bringing her bluegrass magic to every stage she hits.

I’ve got all their phone numbers. Should we set this up now or nah?

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I’m excited to experience some more venues once the album drops. I spent the better part of last year in the studio so I’m still exploring the live music scene in Music City. If you had asked about New York, I’d have to narrow it down to my favorite ten. My first ever writers’ round in town was through “Nashville Is Not Just Country Music” and it was back when the show was at The Local. That was a great room. The audience was engaged, and the sound was great.

I mentioned that I spend my Monday nights at Bourbon Street for Corey Mac’s jam. The sound in there is always top notch, and the room always feels good. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

I have two shows coming up that I’m excited about playing. I’ll be performing at Lightning 100’s Writers Night at HOME on February 12. I held my single release party for my first single off this next album there. That was a listening session, so I’ll keep you posted on playing the room. I’ve been a HOMIE (member of HOME) for a while now and I love going to shows there because the sound is always good, and the vibes are always on point. HOME is truly living up to its acronym of “Helping Our Music Evolve.”

My other show right after the album release is at Tin Roof Broadway for “Top Notch Tuesdays.” I’m excited to play that room for the first time. I try to catch Top Notch and Matt Ferranti there after the jam on Mondays whenever I can. Based on how it sounds from the fan perspective, I’m excited to play that room. Ask me this question again in about six months after the album release, and I’ll have more to list.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.

I’d love to have Sia move here. I’d move in with her. Do you think she’d have a problem with that? But for real, Sia is one of my absolute favorite songwriters / artists of all time and I’d love to bump into her during my next trip to Publix. I wonder if she likes their chicken and wild rice soup as much as I do?

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

World domination mainly. I’m absolutely thrilled to be releasing my third album this February. I am so proud of this body of work, and I believe it’s going to have a tremendous impact on the world at large. I’ll be doing those shows that I mentioned around the time of the release here locally and then heading up north to hit some stages and do a press run in Rhode Island and New York.

It looks like I may be heading back to Austin for SWSX this year, too; I’ll know soon and will be sure to promote it across social media, my website, etc. once it’s confirmed. My overall goal is to be an international touring and recording artist awakening the hearts of others through the power of music. I feel like music is my superpower so I’m essentially in training to become a superhero of sorts, saving the world one song at a time. Music saved my life and I just want to pay it forward for the rest of my life.

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