Summit County teen releases second country music album
An aspiring country music performer, Kira Benson recently released her second full-length, all-original album titled “Revolution,” as the Summit County teenager seeks to find her way, both as an individual and as a performer in an industry that’s as hard make it big as any.
Regardless where the future might take her, at least two truths are certain: Benson has country down pat, and she hopes her music career will continue for years to come.
Benson, who turns 19 next week, is the daughter of Mark and Amy Benson. Released in May, her new album features 12 songs, all written and performed by the aspiring musician who adopted the cowgirl style she’s become famous for when she was 12 or 13 years old.
True to form, the teenager drives a full-sized 2008 Chevy Silverado pickup truck — “the last year before they ruined everything,” she said — and it carries a “Country Girl” bumper sticker with crossed pistols on the back.
“I really felt a connection with the country style and to country music because of the honesty it presents,” Benson said during a recent interview at the Summit Daily, adding that she’s “not your typical Barbie-doll teenage girl.”
“I have four pair of cowboy boots,” Benson said of her style, “and I’m inevitably wearing a pair of them every day.”
Like her boots, every one of the 12 tracks on her new album comes with a special meaning for Benson, and she wrote the song that serves as the album’s title “to sum up her high school experience.”
“This is an awesome time in my life, and I don’t want it to end,” Benson said as she prepares to leave Summit County for an out-of-state college this fall. “I carry those themes through all the tracks in ‘Revolution’ to carry that feeling.”
A small excerpt form the lyrics, the song goes a little like this:
It’s a whirlwind of emotions/ It’s flying without knowing/ Believing you will never/ Feel the ground/ Dreaming of the future/ Holding to forever/ Fearlessly rushing in/ It’s a revolution
Having graduated from The Peak School in Frisco this spring, the young woman who moved to Colorado from Ohio about two years ago shows strength as a songwriter and as a musician.
In addition to writing all the songs, Benson also plays guitar and her prized electric fiddle throughout the dozen songs in her new album, which is actually the second she’s produced so far.
The first came in August 2015, when Benson released, “The Radio Plays,” featuring 11 all-original tracks, shortly after her 17th birthday.
It was the result of a program in Ohio that allowed Benson and other students free time in a recording studio. Since coming to Colorado, she’s had the opportunity to further develop her skills as a musician and as a performer by booking the occasional gig — she’s played at the Motherloaded Tavern in Breckenridge — and performing on the streets of Breckenridge.
Benson also doesn’t hesitate to bring her instruments with her on family trips, where she can perform for a couple hours on the street in some faraway city, sometimes making as much as $200 on her best days, she said.
“I’m a big proponent for original work,” Benson said. “Covers have their place, but I really have built my music on songwriting.”
Like Taylor Swift, who reportedly started shopping demo tapes in and around Nashville at 11 years old, Benson too got into music at a young age. Just don’t compare the Summit County teen to the blockbuster pop-country star, because that’s just something Benson is not down with.
Rather, Benson sees herself as a true country and rock performer, more in the vein of Miranda Lambert, whom Benson deeply admires, than anyone who’s embraced the new-country genre.
This fall, Benson will make her way to Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she’s reportedly already staked out some of the nearby country music bars she hopes to play when she’s ready.
“The only way you go places is if you’re ambitious and driven,” she said.
Only time will tell where Benson’s ambition, talents and, of course, luck will take her.
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