Karley Scott Collins' career in entertainment began with acting when she was around five years old, but it didn't last long. Collins had to learn how to play the guitar for an audition as she tells us, "I rented a little Martin and I started taking lessons at the top of Topanga Canyon." A year after that, she quit acting to completely focus on music.
With one brief glance at Collins' social media pages, whether it be her Instagram or TikTok, it can be quickly noticed that she is nothing short of a master with the six-stringed instrument in her hand. She posts numerous covers showcasing her skills whether it be her delicately picking a soft acoustic track or shredding a heavy metal song like Black Label Society’s “Overlord.”
Collins speaks of her affinity for the guitar by stating, “When I started learning, I just really loved it. I had fun doing it and I started writing songs shortly after I started learning guitar." She continues on with a flaming passion, "Once I figured it out I didn’t want to stop doing it."
The demonstrated love for music she possessed led to a publishing deal in 2019 with Warner Chappell Nashville, which pushed her to make the big move to Music City. In the same year, she also opened for artists like Willie Nelson and Keith Urban. A mere three years later, in January of 2022, Collins was revealed as the latest artist signed to Sony Music Nashville.
Her first single out of the gate was “Heavenly.” Collins speaks of the single sharing, “I wanted my first single to have really strong lyrics. I wanted the lyrics to be something I was proud of.” Collins notes that her debut also hints at unique outlets where she discovers inspiration, the first of which being literature. “I think books are probably my biggest influence especially when it comes to my writing. I’m a big fan of books and poetry that are really descriptive and make you feel something,” she tells us. “If you look in my purse, there’s a book in there for sure,” she admits through a soft chuckle. Collins notes that her mom read her John Steinbeck while growing up as opposed to children's books.
"Heavenly" also features a slightly steaming rock edge as she cites her dad's love for the hard rock and metal genres, sounds she grew up on.“I felt like ‘Heavenly’ was a good way to showcase all of those things and introduce people to myself that way,” she says.
Her second single, “Tattoos” which came out earlier this month, was one of the first songs she had written over Zoom when the pandemic struck. It was a completely different experience for Collins who, at the time, wasn’t used to being in the same room as her co-writers. “It happened really easily and quickly and I’ve loved that song ever since then,” she exclaims, applauding her co-writers Brook Berryhill and Brett James.
Just like “Heavenly,” the writing in “Tattoos” is visceral and distinctively dramatic. In the chorus, she croons, “It’s in permanent ink, all the pictures of places / I can’t wash you off and it’s making me crazy / Under my skin in my least favorite shade of blue / And I never wanted tattoos.” Paired with the vivid lyricism, the hook is an immediate earworm with a favorable tune that sticks with listeners.
Besides the sonic landscape of each track and Collins preparing her musical footing in the scene, another thing that makes her art have a glimmer of refreshing individuality is the cover art. For both "Heavenly" and "Tattoos," Collins helped design the cover art herself as she's been painting and drawing ever since she was young. “I’ve always had an opinion or a hand in everything about my music,” she asserts. "When it came time to finally be releasing something, it kind of felt like the right thing to do."
The “Heavenly” cover specifically was the first time she had ever used acrylic paints. And in the artwork for "Tattoos," she describes a little canoe that can be seen in the mid-right section that was pulled from a real-life experience, as were the other doodles that surround it. “A lot of those little drawings are what the song’s inspired by,” she remarks. “There’s a bunch of little memories that are in that cover art which I think makes it all so very personal.”
Collins was announced as the opening act for Caitlyn Smith's show in South Carolina next month; it will be her first show back since the start of the pandemic. She also beams about new releases to come as she exclaims, "I'm super excited about releasing more music, hopefully soon."
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