Country Next: Erin Kirby

We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Erin Kirby.

By

Melinda Lorge

| Posted on

August 28, 2023

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Erin Kirby; Photo Provided

Erin Kirby is no walking contradiction. The tough and talented singer/songwriter born and raised in the small town of Jasper, Georgia, proudly represents her roots through her authentic music and storytelling.

Kirby’s latest track, “Redneck Rich” gives listeners a true introduction to her fun and fiery personality while also putting her strong vocals — with the perfect amount of country twang — on display. The uptempo tune plays out like an anthem for those who enjoy the God-given freedoms of sitting outside at a backyard campfire, driving down a red dirt road, or getting a little bit of mud on their boots. 

“Redneck Rich” follows a series of singles from Kirby as well as a catchy duet with Sony Music Nashville’s Kameron Marlowe called “I Can Lie (The Truth Is).” Kirby made her Grand Ole Opry debut, performing the collaboration alongside her singing buddy after the tune went viral on TikTok, earning nearly 900K views. 

While wearing numerous hats as an independent artist, Kirby continues to grow her fanbase with each new interaction. In a matter of months, she has racked up over 204K monthly listeners on Spotify. 

Kirby caught up with Country Now to talk more about her music, share her backstory, and give some details about what she has coming up. 

Read on to find out more about Erin Kirby in this exclusive Q&A below. 

Erin Kirby; Photo Provided
Erin Kirby; Photo Provided

How did you begin a career in country music?

I started in music while doing pageants. I started singing when I was around eight years old. I was always competing in talent [competitions] because when you’re young, there’s not anywhere else to sing other than talent competitions. I did pageants for four years, and when I quit them, I started songwriting. In my early teens, I fell in love with country music. I’m a big Christian, and I feel like everything was God’s plan. I started posting country covers online when the pandemic happened. It gave me a chance to stay back home in my small town in Georgia and get more inspiration when it came to country music. Then I met with my manager, who is still my manager, but it was like, ‘Okay. Let’s start writing country music.’ So, for the past year, I have just been writing country music for myself. We put out a song this year for the first time on the country side of things, for me, and that’s how we started. It all just fell into place.  

Were your parents supportive of your dreams to pursue music at a young age? 

My parents are not musical, but they are still creative. My mom is an artist. She is a painter, so she always loved music, and my dad loved music. So when I told them that I wanted to do music as a career, I think I was 12 or 13, my parents immediately said, ‘Okay. Let’s go for it.’ My mom had cancer when I was in third grade, and they said, from then on, whatever they can do to help their kids follow their dreams, they always wanted to support us because life is so short. So they were extremely supportive. I started online schooling and immediately picked up vocal coaching. It all fell into place. Online school was easy for the music side of things. I didn’t have to deal with the high school or middle school hours. I was able to get schooling done quickly and have the rest of that time to focus on my career. 

What music artists have inspired you?

Luke Combs is one of my favorites, even now. He has a great way of showing those emotions that tug at your heartstrings, but he also has those redneck, yee-haw, fun songs, and I feel like that is so Erin. That is so me. HARDY is one of my favorites. I love that he writes for others. I love that he writes for himself. His stuff is rock-leaning, but some of it is super country. As for other artists, I’d say Hank Jr. is my favorite. 

Congrats on your new single, “Redneck Rich”! What inspired that track? 

Being from Georgia, I spent all of my time outside growing up. That’s where ‘sling a little mud out in the sticks’ came from. I was always getting dirty. There are lots of pictures of me as a kid in my tutu while also having muddy boots on. I just had this idea of redneck rich because everyone in real life at one time or another thinks, ‘Well, I’m going to grow up and have a mansion. That’s what I want.’ My dream was to have a massive truck I basically could live in. So I want to be able to be redneck rich and be able to have this money and spend it on real redneck things, but also just the fact that I learned that everything available from the lord is incredible. The best things that are God-given are red dirt roads where you can get muddy. So that’s kind of the inspiration behind that song.

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What response do you get when you play that song in your hometown? 

People love it! They are like, ‘This is so true.’ I come from a small town called Jasper, which is in North Georgia, and people are like, ‘This is so Jasper.’ We have Jeep Fest, which is all about getting your Jeep all muddy, and I think that’s very much redneck rich. And people in my hometown love it. They think it’s true to who I am and how I grew up. 

Will this song be on an album or EP? 

Yes. I am in the process of cutting a few more songs, and I think we’re going to get an EP out sometime soon. 

Before “Redneck Rich,” you released “Raised in a Barn.” Can you tell me about that song? 

That’s one of my favorite songs. It’s an idea I came up with in a co-write, and people thought it was cool but weren’t sure how to write it. I knew how I wanted it to go. So there is a barn down the street from my house, and a couple of boys live in that barn. They built it out, and they’re all like the popular guys of these small towns. Everybody knows who they are. So that made me think, you know us girls, apparently, we like them raised in a barn. A country girl like me, as someone who wants a guy raised in a barn, I want him not to be afraid to get his hands dirty, someone who is going to show up on Sunday to church, but he might get a little rowdy on a Friday or Saturday night. 

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You collaborated with Kameron Marlowe on “I Can Lie (The Truth Is).” How did that collaboration come about? 

Kameron is one of my favorite artists. I love his music. I had covered his songs on my TikTok and Instagram. He had followed me and commented on some of those. So when he posted the video back in November, the first little voice memo of it, he was like, ‘I’m looking for someone to duet this video, whoever is watching.’ So, I just thought, ‘Hey. I’ll do this for fun. He’ll probably see it and listen to it.’ And I thought that would be enough. I did not think it was going to grow as much as it did. I posted the video, and my phone started going crazy. People were tagging me all on Kameron’s video. They were tagging him non-stop in my videos, and that happened for a few months because there wasn’t anything I could do about it other than comment back to people on TikTok. Eventually, Kameron put out his version of the song, and I was like, ‘I still love the song. I’ll cover it because it’s such a great song.’ So I did that, and that’s when he stitched back on TikTok, saying, ‘Hey, this is me inviting you to be on the song.’ I immediately duet that TikTok back, and I’m like, ‘I’m on my way.’ But then, I heard nothing for a few weeks. So, I assumed that was just for TikTok. So I went to lunch with my manager a couple of weeks later, and we walked into a studio and saw Kameron there. I didn’t want to ruin his session, but next thing you know, he’s walking up to me and said, ‘Hey Erin. So you’re here for a different reason. I’d love for you to be on the song “I Can Lie (The Truth Is)” with me.” I was like, ‘Of course!’ So we cut the song that day, and it came out a few weeks later.  

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Do you still communicate with him, and does he share any advice with you? 

So, later on that day, he sent me a message on Instagram. He was like, ‘Hey. We are buds now. So anytime you need anything, reach out.’ We debuted the song at the Grand Ole Opry, which was a wild experience. My first time being at the Opry was when Kameron was performing. So, it was a full-circle moment, for sure!

Tell me more about that Grand Ole Opry moment and what it meant to you. 

So, I got a call the day before the performance. I got a call on a Monday from my manager. He was like, ‘Hey. Kameron is performing tomorrow at the Opry. We were wondering if you’d like to debut the song there with him?’ I was freaking out. The first thing I did was call my mom. I was like, ‘Get your butt up to Nashville, and what do I wear?’ Those were my concerns. And we got to the Opry the next day. It was a crazy experience. It was awesome being backstage there with Kameron. I was nervous behind the stage, but as soon as I stepped on that stage, the nerves went away. I was like, ‘This is right. This is how it’s supposed to be. This is where I’m meant to be.’ 

Now that you’ve accomplished playing on the Grand Ole Opry stage, are there any other stages you wish to play on? 

I want to have my own show at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium back home in Georgia. I’ve done the national anthem there countless times. So my goal is to have my own performance there. I want to sell it out. 

Now that you’ve collaborated with Kameron, are there other artists you’d like to collaborate with? 

Kameron is a great one. My dream collaboration with someone would be in a different genre, like Post Malone. I’ve always thought he’s had a cool voice.

What’s next for you? 

I’m in the process of cutting a few more songs, so we’ll be releasing new singles potentially very soon.

Fans can keep up with Erin Kirby on Instagram.

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Melinda Lorge

Written by

Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.