Change of plans is inevitable, and oftentimes, difficult to avoid. Nevertheless, as Alexander Graham Bell so astutely states, “When one door closes, another opens.” Although emerging singer Keelie Walker initially dreamt of pursuing a career through the art of drama, she found herself flourishing on the other, musically-inclined, end of the industry spectrum. After accompanying hit artists Jason Derulo and Little Mix on tour, Keelie has taken the next step, releasing her newest EP, The Girls Night. In this exclusive interview, Keelie discusses where she draws inspiration from when composing, how she got her initial start as a singer, and where she hopes her future will take her.
Megan Morgante: Did anything or anyone, in particular, inspire you to enter the music industry?
Keelie Walker: When I was six-years-old, I went to a Taylor Swift concert. I remember I was having so much fun, and all I wanted was to go up on-stage and perform with her. I thought, “Why can't I go up there like her?” After the concert, I just knew that performing was what I wanted to do. I wanted to do what I saw Taylor Swift do that night, and I was committed. Ever since then I've been singing, dancing, and acting, and I just never stopped.
MM: What did your life look like before you entered the music industry professionally?
KW: I played soccer, went to school, and just hung out with friends. I did track and cross country as well and I did cheer for a bit.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the music industry and how it led you to where you are now?
KW: When I was around the age of ten-years-old, I went to these talent scouting events all of the time. I would get callbacks for commercials and I danced, but I didn’t sing. I had a songwriter, Manny, give me a callback. I went to meet him and initially, my mom and I were confused because I didn't sing during the scouting event, but he said that he just heard something special in my voice. He said I reminded him of Ariana Grande in a way, and I was so excited because that's such a huge compliment. After I finished with the talent scouts, I then moved to California to pursue acting. Acting for me wasn't really taking off, I eventually started to get into singing lessons, because I’ve always loved it. Soon enough I got into the studio, recorded a song, and it happened to blow up in the United Kingdom. When I was fourteen, Jason Derulo asked me to be a featured act on his tour, and everything took off from there.
MM: Tell me a bit about your experience going on tour with Little Mix.
KW: So after Jason Derulo's tour, I did a school tour around the UK, which was super fun. I think that might have been my favorite, just because I got to meet so many kids my age, younger and older, and they were all super supportive. When I went on tour with Little Mix, the experience was even crazier because I knew of them and loved their music, so when I got told that I was going to be on tour with them, I swore it couldn't be true.
MM: Your debut EP, The Girls Night, recently just launched! Where did you draw inspiration from when creating your latest masterpieces?
KW: This is the first EP that I've ever written on, so whenever I write I try to pour my emotions into it. I kind of just draw from what I feel at the moment or I’ll think back in the past of everything that I felt in a particular moment. I just draw from real life and real emotions.
MM: Besides this new EP, do you have any new or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?
KW: I'm starting to record on my second album. I'm super excited to see where that leads me.
MM: Do you have any passions or hobbies that you enjoy doing outside of music?
KW: I love playing soccer, I just started getting back into it when everything shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. In my free time, I like to spend time with family or friends. I'm also from the south, so I love four-wheeler riding and hunting.
MM: Looking back at your entire career thus far, what would you say your biggest accomplishment has been, in your opinion?
KW: I think my biggest accomplishment was when I was fourteen and I was featured on the opening night of Jason Derulo’s tour. The first night was held at Wembley Arena, and when I got the news, everyone was freaking out. At the time, I didn't understand everyone's initial reactions, but after I looked it up and saw how huge the arena was, I understood.
MM: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?
KW: There were times when I was younger that were harder than others, in terms of not giving up. I would see my friends going out, having fun, and I missed hanging out with them, especially when I moved to California. It was so far away from home and even though I still loved what I was doing, I missed being with my friends. I pushed through it and I just kept going because I knew I had to focus on the bigger picture.
MM: If you could see yourself in five years, in your personal life or your career, what would you be doing?
KW: I hope that I'm headlining my own sold-out tour and that I'm successful in what I love to do.
MM: Who is or has been your biggest role model in the industry?
KW: Taylor Swift was such a big inspiration for me and as I got older, I started looking to artists like Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Jennifer Lopez. I love how so many strong, female artists are killing it in the industry and I just love watching them perform.
Photography by Sara Kiesling