Kristen Barkuloo is an independent artist who is quickly becoming known for her relatable, thought-provoking writing style and lyrics. Her latest single, "Last Chance," is a nostalgic reflection of first love, and is complimented by her warm maturing voice. In 2015, “Last Chance” was selected as a Top 5 winner in the Singer/Songwriter category of the Great American Song Contest, earning a top spot from more than 1700 international entries.
In addition to Kristen's recent single, in the summer of 2013 she released her debut full length album, "Halfway to Tennessee," a compilation of 11 original songs. Since then, she has been singing on stages small and large, and her music has been played across the globe on independent radio stations. She has been told by some listeners that her sound reminds them of Alison Krauss, while others say the style of her ballads remind them of songs by Lady Antebellum.
After a successful CD release concert in 2013, Kristen began singing her originals in and around the northwest area of Florida, including Panama City and the Scenic 30A area near Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, and Seaside. This popular destination along the panhandle of Florida is known as a hub for rising musicians, and offers many opportunities for singer/songwriters. Along with local venues, in 2014, Kristen was invited to sing as a showcase artist at the Florida Music Festival in Orlando, at the Spring Festival of the Arts in downtown Panama City, and the Furry Festival at Gulf Place Amphitheater in Santa Rosa Beach. Kristen is also an active member of the Music Matters! initiative in Panama City, a partnership among musicians, restaurant owners, and the Downtown Improvement Board to revitalize the downtown area and encourage patrons to support local businesses while enjoying the sounds of local musicians. With a recent move to Tennessee, Kristen has been expanding her live performances to include venues in and around the Nashville area.
Along with live venues, Kristen has had success on the radio. Her first radio interview and first official spin of “Halfway to Tennessee” (title track) was on 100,000 watt country radio station WPAP. In addition, she has had radio airplay on dozens of independent radio stations in the U.S. and around the world.
In February 2014, Kristen was added to the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) "Ones to Watch" list as a songwriter who is recognized by NSAI evaluators as a writer who is "on the rise." Kristen got the attention of NSAI evaluators for her "unique and promising writing skills." Kristen’s style of writing seems to strike a chord with a wide range of listeners, which may attribute her success with a larger age range than might be expected, and among both men and women.
Kristen is heavily involved during the production of her music. From identifying which instruments to use in each song and assisting with mixing of the resulting tracks, to singing lead vocals and working with background vocalists for just the right sound, Kristen immerses herself in the entire process.
"I didn't have to create a sound for her. She already knew that. That was the uniqueness about Kristen Barkuloo. Kristen was very young and knew already what she wanted it to be. All I was was a vehicle to try and help her get what she wanted. That's a neat – a very neat thing to see happen in an artist that young." —Calvin Gann, Producer
Kristen grew up on stage, spending more than twelve years in musical theater. She has worked with the FSU film department, and in 2010 also appeared in the feature film “Lifted” (starring Trace Adkins, Ruben Studdard), in which she was credited for writing and performing an original song titled "I'm Thinking of You." Kristen is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).
Kristen has played the piano for years, and has always loved to write. But things suddenly changed when she was 15, when she picked up a guitar for the first time. All of the elements came together and she began songwriting. The first song that she recorded, "Sit on the Pier Alone," was written that year.
Now in her 20's, Kristen never puts her pencil down, constantly writing new songs. "I can't wait to share these new songs with everyone. It is always my goal to grow as a musician, so I'm excited to get back in the studio and continue making music."
“This [Halfway to Tennessee] is the Nashville sound, the big sound that we play on country radio.”
-Shane Collins, WPAP radio
“...lyrics that are wise beyond her years”
- Nikki Hedrick, The Beachcomber Music Reviews
"All the songs on her new CD are original which is a rare thing to find anymore. Her calming mellow voice and style remind me of Kathy Mattea."
– DUSTY GUS Americana Review
“There’s a list of goals hanging on a wall at singer/songwriter Kristen Barkuloo’s home that help her keep her eyes on the prize.”
– Tony Simmons, Panama City News Herald
"Congratulations to Kristen Barkuloo for receiving the Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting Award for her song "Last Chance" in the Singer/Songwriter category for the 2014 Great American Song Contest (GASC). As a top 5 category winner, Kristen's song "Last Chance" was chosen out of songs from more than 1700 songwriters from 43 countries.”