Kalie Shorr has always been one to speak her mind and that couldn’t be more true with her new EP I Got Here By Accident. Coming off of her critically acclaimed debut album Open Book and its deluxe edition, Shorr is once again bringing fans her signature sound of honest music with edge. This collection of songs takes a more free-spirited and upbeat direction that Shorr attributes to the place she currently finds herself in life and everything she’s experiencing these days.
“My last record Open Book was so serious, and I was going through a really hard time,” shares Shorr. “I’m just so happy that I’m able to put out something more light-hearted, not just because it’s fun to write, but because life is actually a little more light-hearted right now… The songs are still sassy. They cover a broad range of topics, but they’re definitely really high energy. I am excited to have an EP that I can play out live because we weren’t able to do that for a year and a half… The songs are just begging to be played with a band.”
This EP is special to Shorr because she got to bring it to life with the legendary Butch Walker, who she describes as her “favorite producer of all time.” For years she dreamed of working with Walker, taking his songs into the recording studio as examples of what she wanted the production to sound like on the music she was making. It was a dream come true for her to create this project with Walker—who has worked with artists including Avril Lavigne, Green Day, and Taylor Swift—and getting “to watch him work his magic.”
While she didn’t know her musical hero before working with him, she confidently told her label that she was going to have Walker produce the project—even if she wasn’t quite sure how it was going to happen. It was a match that was destined to come together and the stars aligned to connect them. Shorr posted a cover of Walker’s “Best Thing You Never Had” on social media, which caught his eye, leading him to reach out and start a conversation. Around the same time, long-time supporter of Kalie’s career and CMT Senior Vice President of Music Strategy Leslie Fram was the one who told Walker that Shorr would love to work with him. The icing on the cake was that Walker’s manager was already a big fan of Open Book and encouraged him to work with Shorr. “It just was a bunch of different moving pieces coming in at different angles and it was awesome,” explains Shorr.
The connection between artist and producer on this project is evident in the music. In fact, they were the only two in the studio creating this body of work, with Walker playing every instrument on the EP.
The personal stories are told through a style and sound that is uniquely Kalie Shorr. She tells about her life in the honest, autobiography “Love Child.” Holding nothing back, she gives a peek behind the curtain of her upbringing, where she reflects on her youth with lines like “A church camp kid with tarot cards, dancing to the beat of a broken heart.”
The song was sparked from a story that her dad told her growing up about the time he danced onstage with Janice Joplin. Shorr never put much stock in it, chalking it up to a fictitious tall tale until one day she came across a YouTube video of her dad “clear as day” dancing with Joplin in Frankfurt, Germany. This led to her channeling a Woodstock vibe through which she tells her own life’s history.
The song “Amy,” about a former friend who makes the wrong decision to cross Shorr and date her ex-boyfriend was met with an overwhelming social media response upon its initial release with over 3 million TikTok views to date. “I figured people would like it because it’s spicy…but I didn’t think that it’d get quite as big as it did. I guess I didn’t think that people would start trying to figure out who she was and all this stuff. I was like ‘No, no, no, that’s like super not what I wanted you guys to do. Let’s all just take a chill pill on that…’” remembers Shorr. “It was really cool to see how fast something can happen in the TikTok age…”
She slides in a non-traditional love song with “I Hate the Way This Feels,” which is the first song she had ever written about her current boyfriend and fellow artist Sam Varga. Shorr bypasses the typical warm and fuzzy elements of a love song and zeroes in on the authentic range of emotion and realization that comes with falling for someone new with lines like “Nothing about this feels like a poem, it just kinda feels like ‘Oh shit’” and “I’m not comfortable with being this comfortable with you.”
Shorr hopes that everyone who listens to the EP learns something that she’s discovered herself: opposite emotions can co-exist. “I think that you can be angsty and happy at the same time. You hear that on songs like ‘Alibi’ where it’s like a really lovely song about your friend, but it’s also has like murder imagery,” she says with a laugh. “But also on a more serious note, ‘Love Child’ is about my objectively very tough childhood, but the good things that I took away from it. So, it’s just kind of a yin and yang project about a bunch of different things. You know, ‘I Hate The Way This Feels’ is literally as dichotomous as you can get. It’s like ‘I’m falling in love and I hate it.’ So, I think it [I Got Here By Accident] is about consistently being torn between these two sides of yourself and figuring out you can do them all at the same time.”