Kristen Hatchel

Kristen Hatchel

My singing style is without a doubt, as country as it gets,” Hatchel said. “Growing up, I wanted to be LeAnn Rimes. Like, in all seriousness, her or the fourth Dixie Chick member.” Music has been a part of Hatchel’s life for as long as she can remember, and it’s been a dream to make a living making music “even if that means playing run down bars and clubs,” she said. “I want to be able to live comfortably doing the thing I love most in the world. I think that’s nearly everyone’s ultimate goal for their respective careers.”

So she spent her college years at the University of Kansas singing every chance she got and posting covers of a range of songs on YouTube while majoring in athletic training. And then, in her senior year at KU, she got an e- mail from a man claiming to be a producer in California. She cautiously communicated with him, not telling anyone for fear that the offer was a scam and that she’d only get her friends’ and family’s hopes up without really knowing what would happen.

“It wasn’t until he decided he was going to fly to Wichita from California just to meet my parents and I face to face that I decided I should probably fill them in,” she said. And as Hatchel and her parents, Ed and Brenda Hatchel, discovered, this was no scam. Soon, Hatchel was on a plane to Ventura, Calif., for a photo shoot and she found herself recording her first cover song in studio and filming a music video. “I had a lot of great feedback from family and friends back home once it was released,” she said. “We decided it was time to get original music out there.” In January, she traveled to Nashville to record her debut single, “’Til the Past is Gone,” which was released for purchase in March. In July, she filmed the music video to go with it. This road won’t be an easy one, as Hatchel will have to work to get her name out there as much as possible, but it’s a journey she’s happy to take. And the choice to be a country artist was easy, considering Hatchel’s small town roots in Haven, KS.