ONE up-and-coming Vancouver musician is getting ready for the biggest shows of her career to kick off the summer.
Kaylee Johnston will be performing at the PNE's 2012 Summer Playland Festival on July 6 and 8.
"I am excited to do an all-ages show in Vancouver . . . I've always played at clubs," she says. "I am so excited to finally play for my younger audience because I have never been able to in Vancouver."
The festival lineup includes Joe Jonas, Marianas Trench, Danny Fernandes, OneRepublic, Victoria Duffield, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hot Chelle Rae, Kristina Maria, Eric Solomon and Dragonette.
"When I first accepted I had no idea what the lineup was," Johnston says. "I just thought, great exposure and fans, all the things that artists think about when they get a gig."
Since being asked to perform the 23-year-old has been hard at work preparing for the big event. Johnston says she will perform brand new music for fans at both of her Playland performances.
"I am doing all kinds of stuff that I probably wouldn't have done at least this soon. It's really pushed the boundaries for me. I am putting together a really cool live act." Johnston says. "I want to stand out amongst all the other artists there."
"What it's done for me is really up my game," she adds. Johnston has had plenty of practice performing in front of audiences. She has opened up for Dragonette and performed in cities across Canada.
"I've been playing a lot of shows with Eric Solomon," she says. "I feel like I am really ready to play more shows and do more touring. I plan to use this show at Playland as the platform . . . to promote my upcoming single and to test to see what works and what doesn't."
After her scheduled performance at Playland, she plans on organizing a much larger nationwide tour.
"My plan is to do a really thorough Canadian tour and touch base with the fans that I've created and create more fans," Johnston says. "I really see myself as a role model and I really want my fans to make good decisions in their life. . . . And the fact that I am a mentor to some of them really makes me feel fulfilled in what I do."
Johnston has been singing since she was in kindergarten and began writing songs in Grade 3.
"I write from experience. All of my songs have either been about experience or something that I've observed in other people. I am trying to get a message out even if it doesn't' quite seem like it," she says. "We all go through experiences in life that are quite similar. We all get our heartbroken, we all in love, we all go to a nightclub for the first time and these are all experiences that I've had and I want to relay to my fans."
However, her music career really began to take flight when she produced her first demo at 16.
"It wasn't really a decision, I kind of feel like it chose me," she says. The electro-pop singer's single "Arms Around Me" was submitted to the Canadian Radio Star songwriting competition where she became a finalist.
"I recorded that song and it was really purely just to get my name out there. I didn't expect to make any money on it or anything. It's actually been really profitable in a lot of ways," Johnston says. "I didn't even know I got accepted until I was listening to 95.3 one day and they said my name."
Johnston has been influenced by artists such as Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne.
"When I was growing up I also liked Robyn because she was just a 16-year-old pop star back then," Johnston says. "I've always gravitated towards female pop artists."
In the spring of 2010, Johnston released her five-tracks EP Streetlight and the single "Bigger Than You" received Canada wide radio play on 20 major radio stations.
"Around the time I released my EP was when I really started to get into the underground electronic music scene," she says. "I really wanted to go for an electronic pop sound with some rock upbeat drums. It was what I liked and I just made it work together."
Johnston is also working on a new album which she says will be more electronic and pop than her previous effort.
"I have evolved and I am coming out with some new stuff. This album has been about writing from my heart and writing stuff that is real," she says. "The last album that I did was still electro-pop but it had more rock influences, whereas this album is pretty electro. We are not using any live drums on the floor it's all electronic drums.
"One thing that I really stay away from is the whole Auto-Tune thing that is going on these days. I love the way a raw, rich female voice sounds and that's something I have and I am using it to my advantage. I don't want to cover it up with effects," she adds.
With the increasing popularity of social media in the last two years alone, Johnston plans on a taking a different marketing approach when she releases her new album.
"The marketing plan is still a work in progess," she says. "I've been experimenting with YouTube videos and other things that I've been releasing to see what kind of ideas work."
While singing and songwriting is Johnston's first passion she also has another love.
"I have a hat fetish, I love hats and I have about 20 of them," she says. "Whenever I travel I really like to buy myself something to remind me of that city or experience and it's always hats . . . All my hats have different meaningful things to them."
For more information about Kaylee Johnston visit www. kayleejohnston.com and for more on the Playland Summer Festival Line up go to http: //spf2012.ca/.