I have been given the privilege of highlighting the story of a very special young lady, Kylie Odetta. A Greenville native Kylie, 22, is such a beautiful soul and talent. I was introduced to her music when her mother (and manager), Lori Hinze, reached out to me a few weeks ago. After listening to a few of her songs I immediately began to wonder why I hadn’t come across her talent until now! How in the world has this hometown talent, who has opened for the likes of Colbie Caillet, Gavin DeGraw, Austin Mahone, Kellie Pickler and others, been here the whole time without me knowing?! Even more mind boggling to me was that such a beautiful, successful, young talent was once so gripped by anxiety that she came to the point that it had literally stopped her in her tracks. It threatened to change her life and passion—a career in music, but Kylie with the support and love of her family and friends, wouldn’t let it. Her newest song, Roots & Petals, is a very personal and touching one.
Anxiety is a creature that stretches all walks of life and encompasses the entire age span of life. Anxiety can come in many shapes and forms. It can whisper lies and fears that can become paralyzing. It can make doubts creep into your life and isolate you from the people you love the most, and those that love you the most. Despair and hopelessness can often accompany anxiety, taking a person to depths they would never imagine finding themselves in—but there is hope, there is healing, and you can rise above it. Kylie Odetta is proof of that.
This talented young lady began writing songs when she was 8 years old and performing when she was 11. It wasn’t until she was 13 that Noel Golden (producer for Edwin McCain) helped sign Odetta with a manager out of Charlotte. From there her career took off like wildfire. Her first national tour was at 18. She took to the music scene as an independent artist and continues to play and mesmerize audiences in her own enchanting way. At 20 she was touring the UK, created the “Dare to Dream” program (a program designed to encourage middle and high school girls to follow their dreams), signed with Music Bed for sync licensing, and released numerous songs in between all of that. To her recent credit, Ms. Odetta was awarded the UMA for best Music Video in the Upstate in March 2020—so her 10-year career in music is a solid one filled with many successes and undoubtedly has an even brighter future in the years to come. With all of these successes under her belt, it is hard to believe Kylie has ever battled anxiety, but she did. Kylie tells me that she believes she had always struggled with a form of anxiety, even from an early age, but that it wasn’t until she was 19 that she could actually put a name to what she was feeling. That summer she had a particularly rough time with a breakup, family drama, and experiences from her past which triggered her more severe anxiety onset. In her video story Kylie recounts meeting up with her family and being unable to go into the restaurant and then having to be physically carried back to the car–this was a big wake up call for her. She knew then, that she was not having success overcoming these thoughts and feelings on her own.
As Kylie sought help with her anxiety, she began to pour more of herself and her journey into her music. She debuted these new songs at her concerts and was frequently met after the concert by fans who were crying sharing their own stories with her. These moments were so powerful that Kylie knew she and to continue to share her very personal life journey through her music. Her music contains messages of hope and courage to those who may be encountering (or have had encountered) the same dark battles she has overcome. The most important message Kylie wants to leave for her fans is this, “There really are brighter days ahead no matter what we’ve been through. We have to remind each other of that.” Her words seem so fitting given what we all are going through in this unprecedented time of social distancing. Anxieties are at a heightened level. Many seem to be struggling who have never experienced these feelings before. Children and adults alike are experiencing these changes in their lives and may need a little more support while we get through these times. Please remember that help, hope, and love is out there, you are not alone.
When I asked her what she would say to someone who may be struggling like she was, from Kylie’s very personal experience, she answered, “I would highly encourage them to speak to somebody in their life that they trust and can be completely open with and/or see a counselor.” You see, Kylie found help in both speaking to a therapist and with her family. She also tells me that practicing mindfulness, doing activities that brought her joy like drawing, being outside, and practicing her faith helped get her outside of her head and through some of her toughest times. Kylie clings to her faith and the truth of what God says about her instead of giving into those dark moments, she reminds herself of this by claiming this promise, 2 Timothy 1:7, “I was not given a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.” And that has made all the difference in her experience with anxiety.
Kylie’s number one fan and biggest cheerleader and supporter has been her mother, Lori. This was a difficult time for her to watch Kylie go through. I asked her about some tips on how to help a child with anxiety as well as a how to help a child with reaching for their dreams.
“I would say that creating a relationship where the child feels the freedom and safety to be honest about what they are experiencing is very important. So many people feel shamed, judged, misunderstood, or not taken seriously. Children with anxiety often get dismissed as being overdramatic, attention seeking, or too sensitive. There are reasons your child is feeling the way they are feeling. It may or may not be something you know about or can even relate to. So, it is important to be a listening ear, a safe person for them to go to, and a patient person—this is very helpful. Over coming anxiety takes time and lots of positive reinforcement as new pathways are formed in the brain. It’s 100% possible and it is not something has to mark or label your child forever. But just having grace along their journey to healing, as it is not a linear progression, could make the biggest difference.”
As for your children chasing their dreams, Lori offers this, “Yes, let them do it! Just support them, encourage them, and believe everything is possible IF you are willing to work very hard for your dreams. It will take sacrifice on everyone’s part, but it is worth it.”
For little ones who may be on the musically focused path here are some things Lori specifically recommends, “Singing lessons and instrumental lessons from a variety of trained professionals in whatever area your child is interested in, is most beneficial—and just let them play around, but most of all just have FUN while doing it!”
So now, let me introduce to you this amazing artist from right here in Greenville, Miss Kylie Odetta!
Take a listen to her song below and please share it with anyone that you know that might need to hear her story! In the first link below you will see her story which also contains some links to find help if you are experiencing anxiety or need someone to talk to! The second link is her brand-new song Roots & Petals! But if you are like me and want to see this amazing, beautiful, courageous young lady in person you can check her out in our area at Swamp Rabbit Pizza in Greenville on June 18th from 6-8 and at The Red Horse Inn in Landrum on July 19th.
Check out more about her music and events at www.kylieodetta.com
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