Kalisa grew up in the country just outside Nashville where, at age 11, she picked up a guitar and penned her first song. She credits her insatiable passion for music to her grandfather, who died of heart problems just after she was born. Kalisa’s grandfather, Owen McCarty, was a blind musician who moved to Nashville to fulfill his dreams as an artist in Music City.
Like her grandfather, Kalisa continued to search for a home in music. She took guitar lessons and began writing poetry to sharpen her songwriting skills.
“I’ve always felt a little bit like an outcast,” said Kalisa. “It seems like so many people I meet either grew up singing in church or playing music with their families. I never did any of that. Hearing stories of my grandpa, I think he was the closest person in my blood that I can say dreamed the same dream. I know it must have been passed down to me by him.”
Fast-forward through years of odd-end jobs and dead-end promises, Kalisa met industry veteran, Todd Wilkes, who recognized her unparalleled talent and opted to publish her independently. Under the helm of Wilkes and Kent Earls (Universal Music), Kalisa became the first co-venture of Wilkes’ company, KingSpirit Music, and signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.
“One of my songs, ‘Redemption,’ is about everything that I've had to learn the hard way through the years. That’s the kind of real stories that I hope connect with people. I like to write about love, screwing things up, finding redemption and then living to tell about it. I write about what I’ve learned.”
If there’s one thing Kalisa knows about life’s big surprises it's that life will bring you to right where you need to be when you least expect it. It will bring you home. And that’s exactly what her music is all about.
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