Hailing from Colorado, Kristi Hoopes is a singer songwriter whose emotionally charged song "At Least It's Something" won Lyricord's first ever mobile songwriting contest. At only sixteen years old and still in school, Kristi's future certainly looks bright. Kristi recently took the time to tell us about balancing school and music, her winning song, and more.
At sixteen years old, did you know from an even younger age that music was something that you would be doing?
When I was around three years old I would stand on the coffee table and sing Barney songs and say "again, again" and just sing over and over. In the third grade, my then music teacher suggested I participate in the talent show. I sang "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and well, the rest is history.
Music was something I don't think anyone expected. My parents are both in the architectural field, so the music business is something completely foreign to them. They were willing to take a chance with me and said "let's run with it." I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for the support of my family. I am incredibly lucky to have them!
Was country music the genre of music you were always interested in?
You know, not necessarily. When I was ten I was recruited to join a song and dance troupe called On Stage Productions. We did a lot of songs from various Broadway shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Seussical. We toured for a year throughout Colorado and in Universal Studios, Florida and had the wonderful opportunity to perform on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship in Nassau, Bahamas.
Since you had varied experiences, who would you cite as your musical influences?
You know, musically, I am kind of all over the board. My dad is from Kansas and he grew up listening to soft rock, the Eagles and Steven Stills. My Mom was a DJ back in her teens and 20's and she was very much into the 80's pop music, like Prince and Madonna. I really love a lot of the older country like Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Tom McGraw. I feel like I have a really good variety of who I listened to when I was younger that influences what I do today.
When did you start playing guitar and writing songs?
I started playing guitar at eleven or twelve. I stated writing when I was ten. The first song I wrote was some dinky little Christmas song that was not very good. When I was eleven I wrote my first decent song, which I still play on occasion, called "Small Town Colorado Girl." Shortly thereafter I wrote "Angel's Anthem," which was a dedication to those who serve in the military and their families. I wrote that when I was eleven and it took four years to finish, but it's definitely one of my favorite songs.
Being that are still in school, how do you balance that, which is a job in itself, and your music?
I mean, it's definitely not easy. I am currently a junior in high school, carry a full AP course load and maintain a 4.2 GPA, which is awesome. Really what I do is I set a schedule for myself of everything that I need to get done. For me, music is not a chore or a job, it is something I want to do in order to relax and forget about my worries and stresses. I try to play my guitar and sing almost every day. There are times, of course, when life gets super hectic, but I do a lot on my weekends. Its definitely hard, but it keeps me busy, and I love it!
You recently entered, and won, Lyricords first ever mobile songwriting competition with a song called "At Least It's Something." Tell us about that experience.
I saw Lyricords on Twitter and decided to check them out. I went on their web page to learn about them and noticed that they were having a songwriting contest. I thought ‘well okay, that’s right up my alley,’ so I downloaded their app and started looking through tracks and found one I really liked called “Laying Back.”
I have a tendency to write sad breakup songs, so my parents said I needed to write something positive for the contest (laughing). So initially I tried writing a song with a little more happy-positive vibe, but I really wasn’t feeling it and it didn’t fit with the music, so I scratched that idea. I guess I had a little bit of a writer’s block because I didn’t know exactly what direction I wanted the song to go in; then I started humming and the words came.
You found out you won when you received a phone call from Lyricord and got to go to Studio A in Nashville to record the song. Can you put that experience into words?
When I received the phone call, I couldn’t even believe it. Being able to record at Studio A was amazing. The minute I walked into that studio I was floored, and humbled. There really are no words to describe how much history is in that room; you just feel it in the booth, in the wood and in the walls of the place. To think of all of the people who I grew up listening to, and still listen to, that recorded there in the past; it was just incredible. I had no words.
“At Least It’s Something” is an incredibly emotional and mature song to be written be someone so young.
My parents have told me that I am a 30 year old in a 16 year old body (laughing). I’ve always been more mature than my age and even though I don’t know a lot about love, I write from the standpoint of "who am I going to be ten years from now." I ask myself if my heart got broken, whom would I be and what would I say. Initially I took the song as a break up song, but when I completed it, I realized it was more than that; it’s a song about losing anyone you care about. It’s an anthem for loss and keeping memories. Music is incredibly powerful. The most important thing about music is that you want it to reach as many people as possible and have people connect with the song. I was really happy how the song came out. I think a lot of my songwriting is divine intervention, God using me to get the words on on the paper, so I write whatever comes out and then tweak it.
Will you be promoting the song to radio?
Right now we are trying to get it to radio, which is a big task to tackle and no easy feat. We have made some progress with the song. It can be heard in the Netherlands, France, the UK and Australia. Now we would like to try and get it on the radio locally, in the states.
Besides school work, what are your professional plans for the beginning of 2015?
I have a high school musical to finish up. This year we are doing Legally Blonde. Then in the next couple of months I will be performing shows to benefit the PPTRC which is the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center. It is a facility that uses horses as therapy for people with PTSD, Downs Syndrome and Autism. It is a great organization and I am honored to volunteer my time and talents and work with them. I have a couple more songs I am working on and we are planning a summer tour. There are big things happening and I am really excited!
Finally, I always love to know is there one recent release that you cannot stop listening to?
Yes! I have Thomas Rhett’s “You Make Me Wanna” on repeat for the last three days. My mom is starting to give me that look like ‘you need to stop playing that song!’ It’s such a good song that has such a cool, beachy, and funky vibe. It makes me wanna dance…way to pull a pun! (laughing)
Watch her video of "At Least It's Something" here