Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Kelleigh Bannen has built her career on a sound steeped in the city’s past, present and future, mixing country twang, pop hooks and southern storytelling into the same pot.
She’s a songwriter. A singer. A trailblazer. Throughout a career that’s included major-label singles, independent releases, Top 50 hits, and shows alongside icons like Hank Williams Jr. and Luke Bryan, Bannen has consistently called her own shots. She continues that streak with her new EP, Cheap Sunglasses, a mix of melodic hooks and modern production whose songs were all co-written by Kelleigh.
Swaggering and soulful, Cheap Sunglasses celebrates hope, humor, honesty and just a bit of heartache. It’s an EP about life, written by a woman who’s seen plenty of it. From the thrill of playing super-sized shows — including the Stagecoach Festival and the cross-country Three Girls Rock Into a Bar” tour — to the challenge of forging your own path in a competitive town, Kelleigh has lived the country music dream: its challenges, its triumphs, and its rewards. She’s chronicled her journey along the way, with Cheap Sunglasses joining a catalog that already includes a career-launching indie album, Radio Skies, and a handful of EMI Nashville singles, from “Smoke When I Drink” to “Famous.”
Her influence reaches far beyond the stage, too. This Nashville Life, a new podcast launched and hosted by Kelleigh, shines a light on the “business” side of the music business. Featuring guest interviews, stories, industry tips and plenty of insight from promoters, radio execs and fellow songwriters, the podcast has received glowing reviews not only from Kelleigh’s fans, but from outlets like iTunes, where This Nashville Life was named a “new and noteworthy” release. Kelleigh is still chasing her own dream, but she’s sharing advice with others, too, equipping a generation of dreamers with the tools they need to create their own careers.
“It’s not just about music,” she says of This Nashville Life. “It’s about what you do with a passion. It’s about what you do with perseverance. I’m not just looking inside the music biz. I’m looking inside any kind of creative struggle.”
For Kelleigh Bannen, the past is filled with milestones and memories. She’s looking ahead now, with a guitar in her hands, new songs in her head, and Cheap Sunglasses to ward off the glare.