At the ripe old age of 15, Kay Gianna has found her path. It all started around the age of five. “My mom used to play piano and she tried teaching me a few songs,” she says, “That got me to sit down at the piano and start plucking out some simple songs like ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb.’ I started taking piano lessons for about a year, but I quit because I got bored with that.”
After piano lessons, Kay started violin lessons, which lasted until she started taking singing lessons. She stopped singing lessons after a short while but has gotten back to them now that she’s becoming more serious about her music. With the exception of her short stint with piano lessons, she’s essentially self-taught. And – while her main instrument is piano – Kay also plays saxophone, ukulele, violin, and guitar.
Kay started writing songs around age 10, and she says that was the time she first started thinking about being a musician. Her first song was a 30-second chorus about her horse. “Then I started writing longer songs,” says Kay, “and I moved on from horses to more personal stuff. I saw it as a great way for me to express my emotions, and I really love it.”
At home, Kay enjoys unwavering support. She’s currently working with a producer here on a new song, but she can also collaborate with anyone, anywhere, from home when the need arises. She’s currently finishing up a four-song EP (recorded in Nashville) and hopes to record her first album soon.
While she’s not yet quite old enough to hit the club circuit with her music, Kay still gets out in front of people and, frankly, she gets in front of more people than one would expect to find in your average-sized St. Augustine club. She was a featured act at the annual Roscolusa Songwriters Festival in Ponte Vedra in 2016 where both big and not-so-big names attend every year (including Jesse Rice, who wrote the song “Cruise” for the group Florida Georgia Line). The free festival features songwriters from all over the nation and is well attended by those from near and far.
While only in her sophomore year of high school, Kay is already looking at college. “I feel like, with all the musical ability I’ve been blessed with, I’d like to go on to college and major in music therapy.” Kay used to visit her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s and she would play and sing at the nursing home for her. “There was one man there who asked if he could play along with me. He was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s,” she recalls, “He would sit next to me and in the middle of a song would just hit a note in the middle of a song. Then a few weeks later he would play two notes, and then three. Then he would make a chord, and then he was playing right along with me.” The effect her music had on that gentleman was clearly not lost on Kay.
With so many directions open to this young lady, Kay Gianna’s path has become clear to her and she’s certainly someone to keep an eye out for.
Photography by Steve Parr.