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On the Rise

If you watch Grey’s Anatomy or Ghost Whisperer, chances are you’ve heard the music of Kyler England (’98). Since her days as a Caldwell Fellow, England has flourished in the alternative rock music scene in Los Angeles and was named one of Music Connection’s Hot 100 Unsigned Artist of 2007. Her songs from her latest album, Simple Machine – her fifth studio release – have popped up on numerous TV shows and earned her a spot as a finalist for Indie Acoustic Project’s 2008 Best Female Songwriter.

She’s also a member of The Rescues, a band that the California-based Easy Reader independent newspaper described as the “first Indie supergroup.” Listen to the group’s concert for NPR’s Mountain Stage music program, which describes The Rescues’ music as similar to Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles.

How did you become interested in music?
There’s never been a moment in my life [when] music wasn’t a part of the landscape. My dad [William Austin England (’72)] was a trombone player in the NC State Marching Band when he was in college. When I was a little kid, he still had his trombone and he would get it out sometimes and play for us. He would march up and down the hallway and we would follow him as if we were part of the marching band and we loved that. I started writing songs in high school.

[One night] I picked up my dad’s old guitar from college. I was procrastinating on my calculus homework. I was like, “I think I’m just going to play guitar.” I started gigging when I was at NC State, doing things like the Coffee Shack on campus. I got the bug! But I can’t look back and say I had a plan. Because for a career like this, there’s no set path. You have to blaze your own path. So I just went for it.

What do you enjoy about your career?
I still am always excited about writing a song that I love. That’s like opening a present on Christmas. Playing with The Rescues is so rewarding these days and things are really going well with my songs being used on TV. I want not just to make a living, but to make a life in music. And that’s where I’m at now. That’s an incredible feeling because I just don’t know what else I’d do.

How did your Caldwell experience benefit you?
You got to be stubborn and brave. You have to not take no for an answer. I’ve always been super driven and overachieving. [The Caldwell Fellows program] definitely brought those qualities out in me. It’s made me strong and hardworking and disciplined. Thinking outside of the box and being open-minded are things I learned and have continued to live by and learn by as I get older.

Editor’s Note: This interview originally appeared in the fall issue of the NC State alumni magazine, a benefit of membership in the NC State Alumni Association. Photo by Don Adkins.