Pieces Of Me: 2018 

Below you will find 17 excerpts from my travel diary entries all written during the year 2018. Writing and reflecting is not only how I remember my journey but it allows me the chance to become inspired by a moment in time all over again as if I am right there in the middle of it. I have laughed and learned and cried and even almost died this past year. I hope by sharing pieces of my inner thoughts and experiences from this year, you will find joy or a sense of connection or maybe just share a simple smile with me. The holy spirit has become my best friend in the past 12 months and life with him is sweeter than anything I've ever known. I encourage you to write it all down... all of the pain, the fun, the fear, the friends. This way we get to step back and see what a truly specific and epic story the God of the universe is writing with us. Your story is worth living. Love, Kylie :)

- The hours spent in that green sequoia with my mom talking about life and her talking me off the ledge and us laughing and crying and jamming out to music are still some of my most favorite moments from each tour. I never want to forget those car rides. 

- I ripped my favorite pair of pants during the soundcheck for this show and was caught between laughing and crying. (Not really, I was dying laughing). The woman running sound that night asked me later where I was from and I said “South Carolina”. She said “I could tell you were from somewhere down south because your accent came out when you ripped your pants earlier!”. She may be referring to when I said “Oh my gosh Y’ALL!!! I just ripped my pants!!!”. 

- When I got this message I was immediately reminded that although sometimes our storms don't make sense while we're in them and our path may seem random... God is perfectly lining things up for us. He cared so much about this woman that me, Kylie Odetta from Greenville SC, would travel up north and play for the first time in that city so that he could use a song he had placed in my heart to speak directly to her on that specific night. Because of this I was reminded that every storm I go through is turned to beauty and so worth it when I am able to help somebody on the other end. I was reminded that there are no coincidences with God & He will always work things together for us. 

- We drank sun tea with local maple syrup as the sweetener (tea that is steeped in the sunlight), held their cat named “Butters” because he melts like butter in your hands, went on a hike and passed by an abandoned wreck on the way, Maia called 911 and the police were already aware of it, ate on the side of the road at a burger place and got frozen yogurt with WAY too many cookie dough bites - yes, I ate them all. 

- Afterwords, many of them thanked me for sharing my story of faith and overcoming anxiety. One man said “I can tell your foundation was not built on sand”. 

- I almost died in Galway, Ireland. Not really, but sort of. Long story short, after a taxi back to the B&B because I couldn't walk, 2 hours in the bathroom puking up my guts, another hour trembling in the bed thinking my heart wouldn't stop racing, the ambulance coming to my room, the ambulance leaving my room without me, trying to go to bed and instead being in pain in every joint my body contained as well as throwing up and more (you don’t wanna know) and this continuing for the next 4 hours, I ended up being given an IV, a shot of morphine, and zofran, before the ambulance (yes they came back a second time) took me to the hospital. You’ll be happy to know that I survived, hence why I am typing this today.

- I sat on a wooden stool and played acoustic guitar for people from Argentina, Pennsylvania, Russia, Canada, Spain, and more. We laughed and shared stories and chatted in between songs just like one big family. I felt so full of peace and happiness that I think my joy bubbled over out of my smile and onto the floor. 

- I’m learning to find peace within myself, within my spirit, where God resides - so that I can then look outside of myself into the faces of the people around me, at the buildings and the trees, at the cracks in the pavement and the subway seats, with love. 

- They all point me to one man: Jesus. “Yes I love you, yes this is going to be hard, yes you have to do your laundry, yes you have to be disciplined, yes I will be one phone call away, yes it’s only 15 weeks, yes you can do this, but Kylie… it’s not because of you or me. It’s not because the people are all of the sudden going to get nicer or the sewers are going to smell less nasty or the time it takes to get from one place to the next is going to magically decrease… it’s because the holy spirit, father, friend, fearless protecter, creator of fun, expert in wonder, is going to walk beside you. Inside you. Okay?” Okay. 

- I laughed, I listened, I didn’t hold back any part of who I am. 

-“Art with an agenda vs art with an intention for inspiration 

Coming from a place of love vs anger or judgement 

Poking fun or poking holes 

Praising false gods or raising up hearts to compassion 

Observations of Brooklyn writers” 

- Although there are days when I feel like I don’t know who I am or where I’m going, there are also days like today. I am soft, I am loved, simple pleasures bring me joy, I am caring, I am free, I have let go of who I think I need to be, I am me. 

- I should start this entry off by letting you know that it’s currently been two days since she left and I still have no stronger desire than to lay in bed and sleep and watch tv all day from utter exhaustion caused by extreme amounts of fun. 

- I had so many moments of wonder here. I will never forget the quiet and soft whisper of the wind through the trees that cloudy and perfectly chilled fall day. 

- If your spirit does not go with me, I will not go. But confidently I will go if you are going with me. 

- I am ON FIRE. I am excited for my future. I have regained my confidence. I have big dreams and I expect great things. I love words, I love poetry, I love songwriting, I love expression, I love music, I love creating. I am good at it. When I step into who I was made to be, I come alive. THIS is the more that God has had for me all along. To see why He made me the way I am and to embrace it fully and run forward empowered as his daughter. I will shine His glory all over this world because of the gift of love and words and voice that He has graciously given to me. Words flow out of me in rhythm and in joy and in pain. He writes stories on my heart and opens my eyes to see what the world needs. He gives me what I need so I can give what they need. 

- Looking back at my earlier entries has blown me away with how you answered every prayer and became my closest confidant these past few months. Who am I to have been shown so much mercy and love and grace and friendship by the God of the universe himself? 

- I am on the verge of tears as I sit in the window of this coffee shop waiting for Reed & Sammy to finish their parkour class. The sun is setting, birds fly through the gradient sky, the sun glitters off the ripples in the waves, there’s a glow reflected on the windows of the New York city skyline across the river. I am going home tomorrow morning but I will be back here again soon. 

- Releasing, releasing, releasing again… I must forgive myself and let God love me. I must love me. Kylie… there is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear. I surround you with love. Will you receive me? Yes, again and again, yes.

Touring Tips For Independent Artists  

I’ve been playing shows since I was 12 years old and touring across the country for the past 3 years - I’m 20 now. Somewhere along the way I went from opening up for an Elvis Presley impersonator at the town fair to booking my own national tours with my manager and mother, Lori Hinze. Over the years, having experienced trials and triumphs in the booking world as an independent artist, I quickly realized that there is no one set path for everyone. But I also realized that when we as musicians start sharing our individual stories and tips and ideas, we have the potential to build off of one another and build up one another. I lay no claim to knowing everything about successfully touring as an independent artist but I can share with you what I’ve learned along the way in some very practical tips. There is enough highway for us to all be out there on the road, sharing the gift of music, so let’s get to it! Love, Kylie Odetta 


1) Saturate Your Region  

    -Determine a list of towns and cities that are within a 3 hour radius from where you live. (Or less, basically however far you’re willing to drive there and back in a day) 

    -Research and compile a list of music venues/clubs/coffee shops that have live music you think fits your vibe in each of those cities.  

    -Email the venues you want to play at least 3 months out from when you’d like to play a show there. (The lead time for music festivals is much farther in advance) 

        •In this email you need to include:  

A SHORT introduction, a link to your music and a live performance video, specific dates you’re looking to book, a pleasant close, and a one sheet if you have one.  

I.E. “Hey there! My name is Kylie Odetta and I’m an independent artist from Greenville, SC looking to book shows for my fall tour. My music is jazzy and r&b - I play the piano solo but I can also play with a trio. I came across your venue and would love to set up a show if possible! Here’s a link to a live performance of mine (insert link) as well as a link to stream my music online (insert link). Let me know what you think and I look forward to hearing back from you! Thank you and I hope you have a great day.  

-Kylie Odetta www.kylieodetta.com”  

*A one sheet is a one page pdf document with a short bio, at least one promo picture of you, a list of places you’ve played previously, and your booking contact information* 

    -Once you are in communication with these venues BE HONEST about whether or not you can bring a crowd! IT’S OKAY if you can’t! Let them know that you’re a touring artist currently trying to grow your fan base so if it’s a show where they need you to bring fans go ahead and say that you’d love to partner with them and set up a show where you could open up for a local artist or just focus on playing venues that already have a BUILT IN CROWD. (House concerts, singer/songwriter nights, etc) 

*These tips can apply to touring outside of your region as well* 

2) Make The Most Out Of Your Show 

    - CIRCLE BACK AROUND. The purpose of saturating your region first is to allow you to create a genuine following in cities that you will be able to come back to easily. The best way to create and keep a following in that city is by playing there once every few months or at the least twice a year. The hope is that each time you go back the 10 people who were there the first time will have brought 10 more people with them the next time and so on and so forth. This may be a slow process but it can truly work. 

    -CONNECT with the people at your show! Whether you’re playing for just 5 people and the venue staff or 500 people at a music festival, make it a point to talk to the people there and actually listen to what they’re saying. This may sound obvious or silly but don’t be the artist that thinks they’re hot shit and doesn’t thank the sound guy. Music is all about connecting and expressing and loving. You’d be surprised how much of an impact being kind (not fake) to everyone who just sat there and listened to you sing for an hour or two will make. We’re in this together and a smile goes a long way, both ways. Spread some love on those at your show.  

    -EMAIL SIGN UP: Create an email sign-up list and have it at every show! You can capture people’s attention by offering to send them a free song if they sign up for it. (Make sure to actually follow through on this and do it). This is a direct way to update your fans on your upcoming shows, exciting news relating to your music, or just send them a positive quote once a month.  

    -SOCIAL MEDIA is a huge way to stay connected to the people who came to your show. One thing I do when touring is initiate a free CD giveaway in exchange for people to follow me on Instagram during the next song I play. At the end of the song I will choose one winner from those who just followed me to win the CD. This is just one fun way to interact with the crowd and get people looking at your socials. After the show I always enter the usernames of the people who followed me into a word document that has the city and venue listed with their names under it. This way when I am playing in that town again I can personally reach out to each of the people who came to the last show and tell them about it! 

    -TOUR MERCH is a way of creating revenue at a show. (CDs, business cards, t-shirts, stickers, etc) I would recommend at-least having a business card including your picture on one side and your contact information/social media links on the other side. People remember faces better than names and they love free stickers. It can be hit or miss whether people buy merch at the shows so no need to go overboard and spend a ton of money on it but someone buying your CD is still a way of showing their support when you’re out on the road. It’s a good idea to have some.  

3) Think Outside The Box 

Don’t just limit yourself to places labeled “music venue” when going on the road. It’s good to find a mix of gigs to play in order to help out financially as well as crowd-wise. Below I’ve listed a few “out of the box” places to consider when planning your tour.  

    -House Concerts - These are a HUGE helper and super fun to play. You can usually just google or Facebook “House Concert series in _________” and find people who host them in whatever state you’re heading for. House concerts provide a listening audience in an intimate setting, most of the time all of the donations at the door go directly to the artist, the host often has a free place for the artist to stay and provides a meal. One of my favorite house concert organizations is sofarsounds.com  

    -Aloft Hotels - All Aloft Hotels across the world have a lounge called the “WXYZ Lounge” and offer different deals to touring musicians. Depending on the individual city they have provided a free room to touring musicians in exchange for them playing a set in the lounge. They have offered pay for playing in the lounge and a discounted rate for the room. Either way, it’s worth checking out. I personally have played and stayed at both Aloft New Orleans and Aloft Oklahoma City. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/index.html?language=en_US  

    -Restaurant Gigs - Let’s be honest, touring can get expensive especially when you are traveling to somewhere you have to stay overnight or stay out for a few days/weeks/a month. Don’t be ashamed of filling in some week nights with a decent paying restaurant gig. These sets are usually around 3 hours long and need to consist of at least 40% cover songs. As you’re researching music venues in different cities go ahead and research restaurants with live music as well in case you need to fill in a night somewhere along the way.  

    -School Shows - Depending on your music and your message, playing in a school auditorium or chorus class may be something of possibility to you. Schools prefer for artists to have a platform that coincides with their curriculum or theme for the year (i.e. anti-bullying, follow your dreams, healthy living) and to have a defined program planned out before you approach them. The guidance counselor or principle is usually the person in charge of bringing in out of school entertainment and hosting assemblies. All that I have to say about this is PLEASE make sure your heart is in the right place before considering playing a school show. This is not for your personal gain but to impact and inspire younger dreamers with your own story and song.  

4) Food, Gas, and Detours 

Touring can be unpredictable! It’s incredibly fun and has the potential to be incredibly draining. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself along the way! Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  

    -Eating out all the time can get expensive. In an effort to save money in this area, bring a cooler in your car packed with things like carrots, peanut butter, hummus, bread, apples, pretzels, protein bars. Bring a refillable water bottle and fill it up in restaurants or venues before you leave. Also, Waffle House is always reliable at any time of day/night and it’s DANG good and dang cheap.  

    -Create a budget before you go on tour. Do the shows you’re playing at-least cover your gas money/hotel expenses?  

    -Remember that this is you living your dream, taking a leap of faith towards a new experience every time you get on stage. Soak up the fact that your battery died and you had to get it repaired in some random town that morning before you barely made it to your gig on time but you DID in fact make it on time and it was an epic night under the stars. Embrace the ups and downs that come with touring.  

    -Take a detour if you want to! Take some time to explore the town you’re playing in OR don’t! Some days you’re going to have all of the energy in the world and be fired up from how awesome your show was last night and other days you’re going to be exhausted and just want to sit in your car in the parking lot before you go in for soundcheck. Both feelings are to be expected and both feelings are a part of this unique journey. You CAN do this!