It’s no surprise Seattle-by-way-of-Spokane songwriter Kaylee Cole has ended up in L.A. Besides the fact that her bleached-blonde locks and vintage dresses fit the picture of L.A. cool, it’s actually a town where she can get a lot of work done.
“I hustle more down here,” she says. “There are so many more people down here trying to make their dream come true. My productivity is better. I work faster, and get more accomplished.”
It’s just the scene the 28-year-old songwriter needed. Since 2009, she’s been steadily at work on a long-awaited full-length LP. Five years on this past June, listeners got a sneak peek when she released three preview tracks on Bandcamp—a brooding, synth-heavy collection highlighting her ethereal vocals, produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek.
Cole connected with the sought-after producer by e-mailing him. “Somehow he miraculously saw [it] and said, ‘Let’s work together,’ ” she recalls. The two have been slowly piecing the album together since, but it hasn’t been easy.
“The creative process took that long,” she says. “In that time, I was married, then divorced. Then a band member [Gerard Smith] from TV on the Radio died. Dave was producing all this different stuff; he was really busy.”
Then there was a botched record deal. Along the way, Cole contracted with music publishing company Chrysalis, which was acquired by BMG in 2010. Her album was nearly finished, but the red tape of the merger made licensing a problem. “I had all this material, and [Chrysalis] was supposed to find me a label. They owned everything I had made,” Cole says.
In limbo, she moved around and lived in Nashville for a while before finally settling in L.A., where she was frequently checking in with Sitek. In June, feeling antsy, she released the tracks. Besides, she says, she had “waited out the clock” of her contract. “There was a clause in [it] that stated if nothing comes to fruition in five years, everything kind of comes back to me.”
Whether she signs with a label or releases it herself is still up for grabs. But Cole seems happy just to have put something out there. “I’ve been waiting for the right moment. I wanted to not hold on to this so tightly anymore.” Out now at kayleecole.bandcamp.com.