The members of Darling Parade certainly aren’t ones to shy away from hard work, and neither are their fans. Forming in Nashville in early 2010, the pop/rock darlings have been eagerly grabbing up every chance they can to bring their music to life, starting with their debut full length, Battle Scars & Broken Hearts. From touring with Cassadee Pope, to winning an MTV O Music Award based completely off of public voting, the band and their fans have supported each other through thick and thin. If this past year is any indication of their potential, the sky’s the limit in 2014 for Darling Parade.
Substream Magazine: Hey Kristin! What are you and the rest of your band currently up to?
Kristin Kearns: Right now we just finished up our deluxe edition of Battle Scars and Broken Hearts, which has eighteen tracks on it. We have a bunch of remixes of our songs on there and we’ve been recording the acoustic versions of three of our songs. We just released our music video for “Crash and Burn,” too.
SM: So give our readers some background on Darling Parade and how you guys became a band.
KK: I’m from southern Illinois, originally. The three of us, myself, Nate and Dustin, all are, and we used to put on shows back when we were in high school. We had to use different buildings, any that we could get and charge admission and put on a show with a bunch of random groups from the area. I was actually in a different band and they were in another band, too. We just kind of knew each other, then I moved down to Nashville a little bit before they did. We were the most serious and committed out of our groups and we just kind of found each other. Then we found Casey on Craigslist (laughs.)
SM: You guys supported Cassadee Pope on her acoustic tour. Did you have fun on the road with her?
KK: Definitely. We toured with her right before she went on “The Voice” and ended up winning. It was exciting because we knew her throughout that whole process. We would text her and congratulate her all the time because she kept winning.
SM: What’s it like for you to get to work with another strong female artist in the business?
KK: It’s encouraging, for sure. It helps you know that it’s something that sets you apart. It is a hard industry and you’re constantly traveling, never really sure when you’re going to be able to fix your hair or do your makeup. It’s definitely an experience, for the guys too. With Cassadee, I was able to talk to her a bit about what it was like to tour with the guys in Hey Monday and our frustrations with touring with all guys.
SM: So do you like being the only girl out there?
KK: (Laughs) yes, it makes me special.
SM: Battle Scars and Broken Hearts was released a few weeks ago. What’s it been like for your band finally seeing your debut album come to life?
KK: Pretty awesome, considering the amount of time we put into it. It was our first full-length album, so we weren’t quite prepared to take all of the time we were used to taking in the studio, which was a lot, and doubling it. It was several months of recording and a big learning process. We had to get into the groove of it because we were in the studio everyday as opposed to playing shows every day.
SM: What’s your favorite part about writing and recording new material?
KK: For any artist, it’s always fun to have something new because you get so used to playing the same songs all the time. Just having one new song here and there is refreshing. You’re recording it, but you still have to learn how to play it live and how to make the song come to life when it’s not in the studio. We spent several months practicing and making the songs sound exactly how we wanted them to.
SM: You were able to successfully fund a Kickstarter to help get your album off the ground. Why did you choose to make one of these for Battle Scars?
KK: We had been hearing about it. A few bands were successful with that so we felt that at the time we had a lot of fresh fans from the Cassadee Pope tour and we wanted to try it and see if it would work. Honestly, we weren’t very sure, but we were very surprised that we raised as much as we did. We’re very thankful.
SM: What did you give some of your Kickstater backers?
KK: We made a t-shirt just for the Kickstarter people. We had one prize that you could hang out with us at the studio because it was right around the time we were writing. We listed some people as executive producers on the album and gave out free tickets for life, so you’ll always be on the guest list to our shows.
SM: What’s your favorite song off the album?
KK: I really love “Crash and Burn.” It took us a while to actually write it but we had been working on it for several months out on the road. I had this really cool idea and I was taking a driving shift with Nate and we had we had an idea for the pre-chorus. It ended up being one of the stronger songs on the album. I really enjoy singing it live and it gives me a chance to really belt it.
SM: MTV threw some props your way and named you as one of their “Artists to Watch,” along with having you play their PopTart VMA event with Hot Chelle Rae and Fifth Harmony. Did you grow up watching a lot of MTV?
KK: Definitely. TRL and watching the news, that was all really popular and that was, to me, how bands made it. That’s how they broke into the industry. If I saw a band on MTV, I knew they were famous. Just to have an opportunity to play that was awesome. We were all stark stuck the entire time.
SM: What was it like playing a show like that?
KK: We hung out upstairs after the show with the Pop-Tarts people. The entire day was fun. We got there early and everyone was super nice. We got to meet all the people from Fifth Harmony and Hot Chelle Rae.
SM: Did you get free Pop Tarts?
KK: (Laughs) We actually talked to the guy and requested free Pop Tarts and he sent them in the mail. We got Strawberry.
SM: You also just won an O Music Award for Make A Band Famous. It must mean you have some pretty loyal fans out there. Tell me about what winning the award like that meant to Darling Parade.
KK: I got very emotional because it was such a long voting process. We almost felt bad because we had to ask our fans to vote for so long. It was a daily voting process and it was such a cool feeling to know our fans cared that much to help us succeed and win. If it’s up to us to do the work, we’re going to do it because we’ve dedicated out lives to this. But it’s another thing to ask your fans to vote every single day and put in that time. To know that they pulled through for us is amazing, and the doors that it’s opened up, we can never thank them enough for.
SM: So what’s your favorite part about being in a band?
KK: The opportunity to play music and do what I love to do. So many people say later on in life that they regret that they didn’t do what they love. It’s not a job if you love what you do. I think just being able to play music, travel and see the country is my favorite part.
SM: What advice do you have for young girls looking to get into a band and do what you’re doing?
KK: Baby steps is the biggest thing to keep in mind. Knowing that things are not impossible when you take baby steps when it comes to developing your skills and who you are as an artist. Constantly improving what you do. I take vocal lessons every year so I can keep up. Never get comfortable.
SM: What are some of Darling Parade’s plans for the rest of 2014?
KK: We are planning on getting some tours going. We are working on getting stuff lined up so we can tour for the rest of the year with some pretty big artists. The “Crash and Burn” video we just released on MTV is part a of a music video series. We’re going to continue the series. We thought it would be cool to make it tell a story together.
SM: Awesome! Thanks for taking some time to chat. Good luck with everything in 2014, Kristin!
Battle Scars & Broken Hearts is now available on iTunes!
Interview by Stephanie Roe