With the release of her debut album, Calipopicana, KYLIE HUGHES extends a warm invitation to join her for a fun-filled, sun-swept musical day at the beach. With a dynamic blend of edgy contemporary pop with lighthearted retro sounds, and dreamy Beach Boys-like harmonies, the multi-talented Southern California born and raised singer-songwriter offers a glimpse of her passion for spontaneous adventure.
A trailblazer all her life, daring to march to the beat of her own quirky muse, Kylie has created a hybrid vibe so unique that she recently had the term “Calipopicana” trademarked. The colorful term “Calipopicana” emerged in 2012 from a lighthearted response Kylie gave when she was asked to describe her original, infectious sound. She has traditionally described it as a blend of the California surf vibe, with influences like The Beach Boys and The Bangles, mixed with classic pop and Americana soul.
“’Calipopicana’ is a cool umbrella that opens up my creative possibilities and allows me to write and perform the kind of music I want,” Kylie says. Though it inspired the bright and dynamic “beachy” album artwork by a Santa Barbara artist, “Calipopicana” is also, naturally, the name of the sweeping, high energy, retro-pop title track.
Though she grew up enjoying and inspired by the laid back Cali lifestyle of surfing, diving, snorkeling and spending breezy afternoons on the sand, Kylie has also experienced the kind of longing and heartbreak that most young girls do at her age — some dark shadings to offset the beachy bubblegum. She likes to point out that while the sun shining on the waves and beach is core element in her songs, many people who grow up in Malibu live in the canyons where shadows and winding roads dominate.
Kylie’s effortless ability to grab her acoustic guitar and sing with beauty and conviction caught the attention of producer Earle Mankey, a onetime member of the renowned L.A. band Sparks who has produced bands like The Pop, The Runaways and Concrete Blonde. His superstar engineering credits include Elton John, David Gray and The Beach Boys. Kylie played and sang a 90-minute set for Mankey at his studio, and he became an immediate fan of her songs and energy.
The six tracks on the “Calipopicana” album were recorded at Mankey’s SoCal based studio, Earle’s Psychedelic Shack. Her co-writers include John Ferriter, John “Fin” Finseth of the famed Santa Barbara based Cali rock band The Tearaways, and Brent Bourgeois, co-founder of the veteran rock band Bourgeois-Tagg.
The album weaves a colorful story that only Kylie could tell, starting with the playful “mission statement” of the title track. In her own words, “The song ‘Calipopicana’ welcomes you to the beach and gets you into that fun spot, as if you’re driving along Pacific Coast Highway and pulling in to your favorite spot. ‘Short Skirts’ is my observation of what’s going on at the beach bar. ‘Maliblues,’ is a moving ballad about missing someone, or some place. It’s about how being in Malibu reminds me of that special person who is no longer there. I like to call it my ‘California lament.’” She adds, “ ‘Dream Dream Dream’ is a fun retro rocker, a flirty song that takes you back to the beach. ‘Wish You Were Dead’ is a post breakup tune that’s snappy and fun in spirit, but dark in its lyrical tone, because it’s a reaction to being badly hurt. ‘Leave Them Wanting More’ is the perfect way to end the album, and it’s the one I use to close my live performances as well.”
In the years leading up to her launch as a recording artist, Kylie has performed in her home base of Southern California, gigging both with her band, and doing solo acoustic sets in numerous Hollywood hotspots (Viper Room, Hotel Café, House of Blues), and local clubs in and around Malibu (Malibu Inn, Sunset Lounge, Canyon Club).
Additionally, Kylie sang the National Anthem before a concert by John Mayer at the California Mid-State Fair; performed at the Cantinas Music Festival in Paso Robles, California on a bill with Newsboys and MercyMe; and performed a duet in 2013 at Carnegie Hall with Michael W. Smith. The singer has also shared the stage with Building 429 and Jesse McCartney, among others. Two of her songs were featured in the 2013 film “Zero to 100: The Lakey Peterson Story,” about one of the world’s top ranked female surfers, and performed “Paradise” at the film’s premiere in Santa Barbara. A multi-faceted performer, Kylie has also acted in small parts on screen and on stage but calls music her first love.
Kylie recorded her first CD at the age of 12, giving copies to family and friends as Christmas gifts—which she promptly followed with a self-produced EP featuring five cover songs and one original. As a freshman in high school, she had her first full length set of original tunes, Unsaid, produced by Emmy winning songwriter/producer Bobby Harty at CatBeach Studios. Kylie’s early discography also includes another full length collection of original songs called Still and the 2010 single “Audience of One,” inspired by the Cantinas Ranch Foundation. The single was produced by GRAMMY winner Scott V. Smith. While music generally took a backseat to her studies at Pepperdine, she starred in the Greek Life’s annual musical event Songfest twice, played in campus concerts, at open mics and coffee houses.
“It’s obviously a challenge embarking on a career as an indie artist, but I am excited about sharing my ‘Calipopicana’ music with the world,” Kylie says. “The most exciting part of all of this is developing a simple idea into a song I believe in, and then performing it in front of an audience for the first time. I truly love all aspects of the live performance experience and being onstage. I hope my songs are able to make people feel good, whether they are 12 or 60.”