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POP GOES THE FASHIONISTA
Trading a career in local fashion for a shot at the big time, singer Kim Kline is ready to arrive
By Marc Lee

Kim Kline wants to be the next big pop star from Texas. She’s known it since she was five years old. “I used to sit strapped into my car seat and love listening to my mother rock out to the radio,” she recalls, laughing.

Well, now Mom can “rock out” to her daughter. With a new self-titled CD and industry showcases at hot venues such as West Hollywood’s Viper Room under her belt, the singer-songwriter is making her push.

Growing up in Graham, a town of about 9,000 people that could have easily inspired The Last Picture Show, Kim flocked to church and school choirs, singing for Baptists, Methodists, teachers—anybody who would listen. So eager to sing, “I’d save up my money and then I’d go to Six Flags and record a song,” she says in her drawl. After high school she became a fashion rep, traveling to Houston (where her brother serves in the military) to make sales calls to boutiques such as Tootsies in Highland Village.

Eventually her West Coast contacts in the fashion industry coincided with her dream to make music, and she made the big move to L.A., where she now lives. The grind of the City of Angels’ music scene didn’t wear her down at all. “I did fashion by day and my music by night. One thing led to another and the right people came along.”

At one point, she says she drew the attention of Beyonce’s father, Matthew Knowles, who wanted to manage her. “I respect him,” she says, “but it just wasn’t for me.”

Unlike other Texas pop stars with ambitious family managers, the singer-songwriter says she’s determined to build her reputation and album sales on her own. She and her team work the Internet, seeking attention from bloggers, MySpace users and music sites to build buzz. “I’m not holding my breath and waiting for a label,” she says. “For me, it’s more about building a fan base. I think it sets you apart from being a one-hit wonder.”

The songs on Kim Kline are crafted to reach the widest possible audience. They’re big on hooks and lyrically reflect the small trials and tribulations of an ordinary life. Her band marches straight up the middle of the road with guitar-driven pop-rock. Think the Eagles, Melissa Etheridge, or take her seriously when she says, “I’m a huge Led Zeppelin fan.” The thing that stands out is her voice. Her strong, clear alto cuts through the dense, popped-up southern rock and demands attention.

The singer’s church choir practice paid off, and in more ways than one. Small-town values turn into marketing spin when she says she’s grounded and prepared for fame if it comes. “I’m not a club person; I’m not a partier. I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink. And I’ve had a lot of personal experiences, so this career doesn’t make or break me. I intend to be humble and appreciate what God has given me.”

Despite her couture past, Kim proclaims to be “a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl.” When she’s not working on her music, and that’s not often, she loves to ski, ride motorcycles and cook. “I can cook up a mean Southern-fried chicken,” she boasts. To complete the meal she recommends mashed potatoes, collard greens and a warm slice of apple pie. How’s that for all-American? As for relationships, there’s only one thing in her life, “Right now I’m married to my music. She’s my only love.”