“Don't think too hard, just listen to your heart.”
A lyric in Kathleen Elle's new single and album, "Brainwaves," is also the rule that has guided Kathleen's music career. Kathleen suddenly discovered her music talent in high school when on a whim she took an extracurricular music writing course. Armed with only basic piano lessons, but a love and admiration for songs that make a difference in someone’s life (like Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”) she set out to write meaningful music. As a member of her high school anti-bullying team, Kathleen noticed that all the programs spoke to bullies to stop bullying, or bystanders to stand up, but none addressed the victim directly with a message to not change for bullies; find people who accept you; and don’t let bullies' hurtful words into your heart.
Kathleen wrote “Don’t Let Them In,” and after uploading the song to Youtube, she began to receive messages from many bullying victims around the world that the song empowered them to deal with the trauma of bullying. One 17 year old girl, Keira from the Philippines, told her that she found the song while attempting suicide for the 2nd time due to chronic bullying and it “saved her life.” After years of trying to change herself to be accepted by bullies, Keira said it was “Don’t Let Them In” that made her realize that her bullies were never going to like her no matter what she did, so she should just stop trying to please them, and find friends who accept her as she is. Keira did find friends and went on to college and a career. She and Kathleen still keep in touch today!
“Don’t Let Them In” won Seventeen Magazine’s 2013 Mean Stinks Contest, and went on to win additional awards from Abercrombie & Fitch/ Hollister (2015), Lincoln Center Global Exchange (2015) and ElfenWorks Campus MovieFest (2016). The song was featured in Abercrombie & Fitch’s Anti-bullying campaign video alongside EchoSmith. Kathleen was also named a National YoungArts Foundation winner in the singer/songwriter category in 2015 with her songs “You’re To Blame,” “Green Light,” and “The Girl Next Door”. National YoungArts is an organization of arts professionals (including Robert Redford, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Plácido Domingo) who mentor up and coming talent aged 15-18; Kathleen joins alumni recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill, Chris Young, and Nicki Minaj. Her anti-bullying song, “Don’t Let Them In,” and her songs that won her entry into the National YoungArts, can all be found on her debut EP, “Helium,” the title track of which is an uplifting song about dealing with rejection.
When at the crossroad of college or trying to make it as a singer/songwriter, Kathleen followed her heart and her desire to learn all aspects of music. She auditioned and gain acceptance to the prestigious Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she is currently completing a dual degree in Classical Music Composition and Music Education. While there, she used her limited free time to tour elementary and middle schools to perform "Don't Let Them In" and mentor the kids against bullying and being a victim. At Mason Gross, Kathleen gained a deeper understanding of theory, production, and orchestration, all of which aided her in self-producing her first full length album of all original music. Brainwaves, the title track, will be the first single due to release in early February. Elle could “not be prouder to share Brainwaves with you all! I am excited to show everyone how I’ve grown as an artist, and share the stories I’ve wanted to share for a few years.”
Kathleen Elle’s influences include, Taylor Swift, Tori Kelly, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, and John Mayer. In fact, Taylor Swift inspired her to start playing guitar at age 10, and start writing songs at 14.
Here's the video that convinced me that I could make a difference in the world with a simple song. Click on the YouTube button below the video to go there and read bullying victims' comments on how the song has saved lives.