Laci Kaye Booth

Laci Kaye Booth

While America may have come to know and love Laci Kaye Booth on the American Idol stage, that’s not where her story starts. It starts on her grandma’s back porch, having karaoke contests with her family. And now, some 15 years later, Booth is gearing up for her debut release and preparing to make her unmistakable mark on Country music.

After a few of those family karaoke sessions, Booth wrote her first song at just 9 years old and spent the years after getting to know her truly unique voice. She recorded her first independent record at 18 and played weekend gigs around Texas in her teens and 20’s. Then, she prayed.

“My whole life, I prayed and I wished for this to happen. I prayed for it every night, and every time I’d blow out my candles on my birthday cake, I’d wish for it. In my heart of hearts, this is exactly what I always wanted,” the Nashville newcomer says.

Booth’s hometown of Livingston is the epitome of a small Texas town — population 5,000 – where everybody knows everybody. So, her upbringing was the stuff Country songs are made of. Especially when it comes to her vocal and songwriting influences.

“I was raised on old school Country music, so I listened to a lot of great, classic artists like Merle Haggard. But what I found myself obsessing over was Stevie Nicks and Norah Jones. They both had so much influence on the way that I sing. I never had voice lessons, I just tried to learn from what I heard from the artists I liked,” she says, adding that she first started to appreciate her raw and velvet-like sound as a teenager. “But I never thought that my soft, smoky voice was good enough. Until now.”

Describing her sound as “dreamy Country,” Booth was once told she was like ‘the Lana Del Rey of Country music’. The comparison was more than a huge compliment, it felt spot on. It was her intent – and one she’s been relentlessly adamant about – to be an identifiable voice in Country music. One that makes you turn the volume all the way up, because you’ve simply never heard anything like her before. Her unique sound is exactly what drew multiple record labels around town to the young artist. However, after meeting with Scott Borchetta and Jimmy Harnen of Big Machine Label Group, she knew she found her label home with them, 19 Recordings and her producer Dann Huff.

Booth says that her recent move to put down roots in Nashville was as intimidating as it was welcoming. It was a leap of faith she made after American Idol, because the show gave her more confidence and a thicker skin. “It was kind of a boot camp for what I’m doing now: the long nights and the early mornings, learning to appreciate the people around you, and absorbing every lesson along the way.”

Much like her vocals were influenced by certain artists, so was Booth’s songwriting. Starting with The Chicks. “I listened to them nonstop, and I was always singing every word in the passenger seat. Songs like ‘You Were Mine.’ I still get chill bumps when I hear that one.” Along with The Chicks, Booth also found stylistic inspiration in the way lyrics and melodies were crafted for Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Jo Dee Messina. But still, she recalls that when she first moved from Texas to Nashville, she didn’t have complete faith in her ability to write a great song. Though she had written songs on her own growing up, she had not experienced writing with other people which is a completely different process.

Then along came Nathan Chapman, James Slater, Charles Kelley, Sam Ellis, Laura Veltz, Jimmy Robbins, Liz Rose, and so many more. Treasured Nashville songwriters who are not only prolific, they are good, kind people who welcomed Booth completely with open arms. It did not take long for her to prove herself in these rooms and through word of mouth, the songwriting community became aware of Laci and her talent. When she’d walk into a writing session with these seasoned hitmakers, she’d walk out with so much more than just a song or two. “I learned so much on guitar that I never knew before. I learned how to open up to people and build relationships, even though I’m an introvert,” she says. “I fell in love with a few outside songs, too. It’s Nashville, and I mean, amazing songs are everywhere. But after I gained that confidence in those writing rooms, I knew I definitely wanted to make it a point to write every song on my album. I’ll always write my own songs.”

And so far, so good. Booth co-wrote all eight of the tracks on her debut release. All eight of these tunes are every bit as unmistakable, unforgettable and uninhibited as her dreamy Country voice.