Kalie Shorr Evolves with Diaristic “Awake”

Kalie Shorr’s “Awake” is a courageous reflection in the vulnerability of being an emotional support system for those who don’t deserve it.

Filmed by directors Quinton Cook and Helena Capps, Shorr’s new video gives a visual interpretation of the drama that plays out when she is there for an ex on the wrong side of midnight.

“‘Awake’ started off as a voice memo at a bar in Nashville. Around 2 a.m.,” Shorr tells CMT.com. “I got a phone call from an ex-boyfriend, who needed someone to be there for him, and I am always that person for the people I love. But over the course of this phone call, I started to realize that he’s never been that person for me.

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“It’s not your typical, ’You only call when you’re drunk,’ song because it’s not about him coming over. It’s not about getting back together. It’s about being his emotional support system after we’re not together anymore. And it was the final straw in me setting that boundary in not doing that anymore. Towards the end of the video, start to get my self-respect back.”

“Awake” is the final release from her current EP of the same title. Read more from Shorr in her own words below.

CMT.com: So many people blame their feelings on being drunk when they should own up to them.

I always make this joke that I can send a drunk text completely sober. I’ll just say what I want to say period. I don’t need to be drunk.

That’s why you’re respected. You can be trusted to say exactly what’s on your mind no matter what. How do you tap into that courage as a songwriter? Is that a challenge?

Awake was a transformative project for me because it was the first time I allowed myself to be vulnerable. It was the first time in a few years that I felt like I was a teenage girl when I was writing that song because I was so unfiltered. It was getting back to my teenage self who just said how she felt and didn’t worry about what anybody thought. I think vulnerability is strength, and to get to see that evolution in myself through listening music is a really cool feeling.

Male-led singles outnumber female-led songs 43 to seven in the Top 50 singles on Billboard’s country airplay chart. Do you think the music industry puts too much pressure on women to make a meaningful change on the lack of women on the radio or do you think it’s a systemic problem?

I think that if you ever see anything in the world that you don’t like, you should be that change. There’s a great quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen just because you will it.

Every girl in Nashville wants to change the radio problem. But the truth is we need men to get on board, as well. We can’t do it without them. There’s plenty of really great men and women at the top of the industry who are doing everything in their power to change it, but it’s the ones who aren’t who are being apathetic and hoping it fixes itself. I don’t know what their process is, and I definitely would love an explanation. It’s intensely frustrating. I totally get that perspective. A lot of times it is amazing that women are bringing out all female tours, but there should be men out there comfortable with bringing out two female openers. It doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult. I definitely there is a lot of pressure to fix a problem that we never asked for in the first place.

When you hear the myth in public that female voices don’t cut through, what is your reaction?

I’ve just gotten progressively more comfortable calling people out on their [expletive] in general – music industry, boyfriends, if someone cuts me in line. I was talking to a couple of guy friends in the music industry at a bar talking and one of them made a comment about how girls just need to make better music and then that would fix the problem. I think everybody at the table was prepared to let it go, but I was like, “Why do you feel that way?” You keep asking why and you make them explain themselves and then over them hearing their own words, they realize it’s a ridiculous thing to say. Asking why is a really great technique.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.