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Strength in Vulnerability: TikTok star Kenzie Cait’s Rise to Fame

Photography by: Stephanie Siau | Written by: Mackenzie Berger | February 14, 2024

Kenzie Cait, a Nashville-based and Buffalo-born singer-songwriter who has quickly grown to internet fame over the last few years, has evolved from her presence from a comedic content creator into a vulnerable artist who is making waves with music similar to Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift.


Kenzie's songs have a genuine and tender quality that prompts listeners to feel deeply understood, debuting songs like "Innocence," released in October 2023, encapsulating the raw emotions of a teenage girl navigating her first heartbreak. Transitioning to her single, "don't break my..." she embraced a more playful, flirtatious vibe, showcasing her versatility and ability to express various parts of her personality through music. She explores the complexity of human emotions, encouraging her audience to embrace their feelings fully and break free from societal expectations. She sat down with Hazze Media to share insight on these recent evolutions, her roots, and the transformative path that led her to where she is today.


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of TikTok, Kenzie Cait found a global platform for her music. "My first viral TikTok was literally the day my school shut down." Initially recognized for humorous content, she explains “I had, I think, 15,000 followers before I ever posted a song that I wrote or sang a cover. People were like, ‘wait, you sing?’” She now has 115,000+ followers, continuing to use the platform as a means of connection with her audience.


Cait’s move from Buffalo to Nashville, prompted by a desire to study music business at Belmont University, exposed her to different musical landscapes. When asked about the impact of her upbringing on her current style, Kenzie highlightedthe contrast between the fast-paced nature of Buffalo and the more laid-back vibe of Nashville.


"Being from Buffalo, it's so different from how things are here in Nashville,” said Cait. “Up north, things are just generally more fast-paced. I have that inside of me, that anxious energy." Despite the hustle and bustle, her childhood was infused with love and music, courtesy of a family deeply connected to the art form. Her parents' love for music, particularly her mom's affinity for Janis Joplin and her dad's habit of dedicating songs to her, laid the foundation for Kenzie's own musical journey. She fondly recalls moments of her youth, stating “I just have such a significant childhood memory of my mom always singing Janis Joplin” and adds that “my dad loves music, too. He'd always put on a song. He'd be like, ‘this is for you.’”


The turning point that gave her confidence in songwriting arrived during her senior year of high school. Cait states that she showed her family the emotionally charged song, "Stained Glass Windows," inspired by a family member's battle with cancer. “I wrote that song, I showed it to my mom and she was crying. My whole family loved it. I sang it at my theater recital.” The overwhelming positiveresponse from the audience affirmed her talent and fueled her passion for music. “I had so many parents and students tell me that was so good, you actually can write. I was like, Okay, wait. Maybe I can write a song. Maybe I could do this.”

March holds special significance for Kenzie Cait as she prepares for her first headlining show at The End, a small-capacity Rock and Roll dive bar in Nashville hosting top artists like Cage the Elephant and The Flaming Lips since 1999. Excited about the opportunity to connect with her audience in person and finally connect with those who love her music beyond just through a screen.


With an ever-expanding collection of unreleased music, she envisions a future brimming with new releases, eagerlyanticipating face-to-face interactions with her audience. Her songwriting process is an intimate journey, translatinggenuine experiences into melodic narratives. Kenzie states “anything that made me feel a lot, I would just write about.”


As she continues evolving as an artist, her music serves as a testament to the complexity of being human. In a candid moment from the interview, Kenzie Cait reflects on her listeners stating "I hope my listeners take away that it's okay to be dramatic, and it's okay to be sensitive and emotional, but also be funny and fun and bubbly and uplifting." Embracing the multifaceted nature of human emotions, she emphasizes, "feel all your feelings, that's being human.” In 2024, Kenzie Cait looks forward to releasing more music, performing in new cities, and connecting with her audience on a deeper level. With each song and each performance, she reaffirms her commitment to authenticity and vulnerability, inviting listeners into her world.


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