Lower Burrell's Kellie Lynne Schriver making her mark on country music
The stuffed animals in Kellie Lynne Schriver's Lower Burrell bedroom at one time proved a most willing and attentive audience as she was growing up.
Now the singer, who moved to Nashville in 2010 to follow her entertainment dreams, has a considerably livelier crowd watching and listening to her. All the country world is the 2003 Burrell High School graduate's stage, as she continues to log impressive credits on her performance resume that began in the Alle-Kiski Valley with local concerts and acting in Burrell High musicals and productions of New Kensington Civic Theatre and the former Olde Bank Theatre.
Her first music video, “Dirt Cheap,” for her popular single of the same name, co-written by country singer Luke Bryan, debuted Oct. 17. The single can be heard nationwide on two iHeartRadio stations, “The Nashville Channel” and “New Country” and regionally on stations such as Pittsburgh's Froggy radio.
The video was directed by Michael Monaco, who recently filmed Luke Bryan's video, “Drunk On You,” and directed “Liar” for Josh Hand, a contestant on NBC's “The Voice.”
The “Dirt Cheap” video, about a failing relationship, also is airing on TCN, The Country Network. It is found on her website: www.kellielynne.org.
“From the first time I heard Kellie, I knew that she would one day be a future voice we hear in Nashville,” Monaco says. “It was an honor to direct her first video.”
“This is such a surreal moment in time for me. I remember sitting in class and daydreaming about making a music video and having it be on TV, and now that dream is a reality,” Schriver says. “I just hope and want to make all of my family, friends and fans proud.”
The video was filmed at a farmhouse in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. “I was instantly in love with the house. Everything about me and the song I felt in the scenery,” she says. “Michael made me feel completely at ease and comfortable on the set.”
Country fans are getting increasingly comfortable with Schriver. Her star is already shining on Music City cyber sites like NashvilleUniverse.com, says the site's owner, musician Michael Kenney, where she has been nominated for entertainer of the year and female vocalist of the year.
“Awards from your peers are always more special. Kellie is very popular there because she is nice, talented and takes the time to assist others that are trying to move their careers forward, too,” he says. “She is a good role model and understands that if you're good to people, they will be good to you.”
Kenney describes NashvilleUniverse.com as “Facebook for Music Row,” where label executives, writers, artists, singers and fans can connect.
“I tell people that she is a talented, beautiful, performer that everyone needs to get out to see,” he says. “Her live show is great as she connects with the audience, and she has a sweetness about her that welcomes everyone. Music Row has taken notice of Kellie, and it's exciting to see her star begin to rise.”
He praises her music as well-constructed and delivered. “I have seen people go crazy over her performing ‘Ain't Country,' which is a song that is both fun and true,” Kenney says. “People relate to people that are real, instead of the prepared publicist version of themselves. Kellie is always herself and honest.”
Joe Sinnott, mayor of Erie since 2006, saw that early on when he invited Schriver to take part in one of the city's first “Celebrate Erie” concerts. “She's very committed to her music, very talented. She puts on a fun show,” he says. Schriver now invites him to join in the fun when she returns for shows there, dueting with the mayor on Jon Bon Jovi's country-styled “Can't Go Home.”
“The moment you see a fan singing along to a song that you wrote gives me chills running up and down my arms,” she says. “It amazes me that someone took time to listen to my music, memorize the song, drive out to the show and then tell you that they love your music. I love my fans so much. To know that they are backing me 110 per cent to follow my dreams gives me great motivation to take the stage and have a blast rocking out for them.”
Schriver, says her music producer, Marc Eric, CEO of the Empirical Music publishing company, has the “It” factor. “I have had many artists come through my studio. You just don't see that often. She has superstar blood.”
Eric also sees her as a genuine person. “Her voice resonates from her heart. I think people can hear when someone is being real.”
“I hope that people can see the real me in my music. I hope to share that passion with everyone. I hope they can find some kind of relation to the lyrics that I sing. I only record songs that I feel completely connected to,” Schriver says. “I am just a girl who wants to be your friend, go through the ups and downs of life with you, and if I can convey that message to my fans in my songs, my goal is accomplished.”
Even before her move to Nashville, Schriver had a number of “freeze-frame” career accomplishments, including twice opening for country legend Loretta Lynn. “I was thrilled when I came off the stage and she said, ‘Well my son said that you're a real good singer,” Schriver recalls. “I just about fell over. I was so blessed to be her opening act and give her a huge hug backstage.”
Schriver won a vocal contest awarding her a performance spot at the historic Apollo Theatre in New York City on the nationally televised “Showtime at the Apollo,” where she offered her interpretation of Martina McBride's “Broken Wing” (it can be seen on her website). “I was a nervous wreck, because the audience is able to boo the singer off the stage during a performance at the Apollo, but I ended up being the first female country singer to ever receive a standing ovation,” she says.
She also performed at Jamboree in the Hills, “The Super Bowl of Country Music,” near Wheeling.
The artist has had earlier singles, “I'm There” and “Bad,” aired on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio.
She now has acquired a clothing sponsorship with Altar'd State. “It is more than just clothing. It's a cause,” she says. “On ‘Mission Mondays,' 10 percent of the store's proceeds go to various local charities and a portion of every sale is donated to feed, shelter, clothe and educate children. They also work with women who have been exploited.”
Schriver is grateful for the opportunities that music has brought her. “I have opened for so many of my idols, played on stages in different states and have met so many amazing new fans, heard my songs on radio stations that play nationwide, have my music video airing on nationwide television, and I am doing all of this out of the love of following my crazy dreams,” she says.
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.