One night in her Hopkinsville bedroom 17-year-old Heritage Christian Academy student Kassidy Knight wrote the chorus to a song.

The words did not come together as she hoped, so she decided to go to sleep.

After lying in bed for 20 minutes, she wrote the first verse in her head and got up to finish the lyrics.

“I knew that I wanted people to hear this one day, so I held onto it,” Knight, now 19, said. “People have to hear this.”

Two years later, that song, titled “Goodbye,” is Knight’s first professional recording. It will be released online Friday through digital outlets Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.

Knight described her debut single as a relationship song.

“The hook is ‘This isn’t a love song. This isn’t a hate song. It’s goodbye.’ It’s letting go of this person finally. Like, ‘I’m over it,’” she said.

“It’s very sassy, I would say,” Knight said, laughing.

Growing up

The daughter of J.R. and Karen Knight of Hopkinsville grew up with songs and stories in her head, according to her mother.

“She has been writing stories since before she could write,” Karen Knight said. “When she was little, she would tell stories and my mom would write them down for her. She’s always been a storyteller, a writer. Now, she’s just putting it to music.”

Knight is a sophomore songwriting major and music business minor at Belmont University in Nashville.

“I wrote my first song when I was in the first grade. After that, I was like ‘that’s what I want to do,’” she said. “I knew I always wanted to be a singer, but I didn’t like singing karaoke. I wanted to sing my own stuff.”

Knight sang in her middle school choir, conducted the high school praise band and lead youth worship at New Work Fellowship.

To enhance her music skills, she took guitar lessons from fellow HCA student Haylee Paige and New Work Fellowship youth leader Corey Thomas.

“I learned how to play guitar in the sixth grade for the sole purpose of writing my own songs. So I could have music behind the lyrics I was writing,” she said. “Guitar is my main instrument, but I learned how to play some piano last summer to expand my writing horizons. I write differently for the guitar and the piano.”

Since she was a young child, Knight said pop and country music star Taylor Swift has been her greatest musical influence.

“I’ve listened to her ever since she put out her first single. I was like 6 at the time and now I’m 19,” she said. “She is a major influence on my life because she’s written all her own songs by herself or with other people. I always knew I wanted to do that. I feel like this EP has a really good mix of the ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation’ era (influence) of Taylor Swift.”

Recording her music

In January, Knight approached former Belmont student Forrest Finn about recording some of her songs. Finn placed her in contact with his boss, Sean Rogers, owner of Hey World Productions in Nashville.

“I really wanted to release music. I always knew this was the path I wanted to take. I knew nothing was going to happen if I waited. I needed to go out there and do it myself,” she said. “I met (Sean) and we clicked instantly. I played him all my songs and we just started working on making music. It was such a fun experience.”

All of her songs have been compiled into an EP titled “Girl in Red,” slated for release in June. Although she did not play an instrument on this album, she sang the main and backup vocals for all the songs.

“When the EP comes out, you’ll get a different variety of music. I wanted to tell a story with the EP. So, you have your love song in there. You have your sass. You have your sadness. You also have a sweet love song at the end as well,” she said. “I chose ‘Goodbye’ for the first (release) because I think it’s going to be a favorite.”

‘It is a gift’

Knight is home for the summer to work and to promote her new single and upcoming EP release.

“With all of this happening after wanting this for so long, it’s so surreal,” she said.

Her former guitar teacher said Knight has always displayed her talent in music.

“I have more confidence in her than I’ve ever had in anybody,” Thomas said. “In an age of following someone else’s direction, she’s somebody who makes the music she wants to make and expresses (her feelings) the way she feels it needs to be expressed.”

Knight’s mother said her ability to sing and write songs is a “God-given talent.”

“This is something she can do and she can express herself through words and songwriting. It is a gift,” Karen Knight said. “I’m so very proud of her. I can’t wait to see where this leads. I hope she always finds joy in it, as much as she does now. Her father and I are just so happy that she’s loving what she’s doing.”

Knight believes she not only is following her dream, but a path directed by God.

“I 100% know that this is what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “I honestly believe this is what the Lord wants for me as well. I’ve prayed about it so many times. It’s nice to know the desires of my heart are also the desires of his. So, I’m going to 100% follow his plan for me no matter what anybody says.”

Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or mvowell@kentuckynewera.com.

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