Catching Up with Country Music Entertainment Host Kelly Sutton

Article by Lisa Valentine

Photography by Sarah Mackenzie Photography

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

After years of building her career as a news anchor and TV personality, Franklin resident Kelly Sutton has become a mainstay in the country music world. As an entertainment host, she has interviewed everyone in the genre from today’s up-and-coming artists to the biggest names in the industry. She now wears many hats as she hosts her own YouTube show “Connected with Kelly,” serves as a personality on radio shows including WSM’s “Coffee, Country, and Cody” and her syndicated radio show “Y’all Access with Kelly Sutton,” and even works in the world of podcasts as co-host of London-based “Holler Weekly” and the newly introduced Amazon podcast “Country Heat Weekly.” 

As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was 16 and we went to a television station as a field trip. They took us into the TV station and immediately I was like ‘Oh, this is what I’m supposed to do.’ It was almost like a lightbulb moment. I knew I wanted to do entertainment. I knew I wanted to do television, but I actually took the path of news. I was a broadcasting major in college. My first job was a reporter, then I worked my way up to an anchor. It wasn’t until I ended up in Nashville where the whole entertainment aspect came into play and I started covering country music and doing number one parties, record release parties, and interviewing people that I remembered how much I loved that.

What do you love most about your job(s)?
You know, it’s interesting, I always have loved to be around music. I never played a lot of instruments. I played piano a little bit and then I played flute in the marching band. But everybody in my family has been pretty musical. I feel more complete when I’m around music. Like I just have this huge megaphone and that’s why I have my position. That’s why I’m here to say ‘You guys have to listen to this. It’s so good.’ I’m just this huge cheerleader for everything coming out of country music. That’s what I love and the fact that I can tell people about these amazing projects that my friends are putting together, that’s what fills me up.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable interview moment?
I was eight months pregnant, and I was doing an interview with Dolly Parton. She was doing a special release with Cracker Barrel and so she had pink rocking chairs. When I walked in, she immediately said, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re going to have a baby!’ and I said, ‘Yes, ma’am!’ She said, ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ and I
said, ‘A girl.’ She put her hands on my stomach and she said, ‘I’m going to give you this rocking chair.’ So we did the interview and as soon as the interview was over, she signed the rocking chair to my daughter. I cried hysterically the whole way home and I still have a pink rocking chair at my house that Dolly signed to me. It’s kind of incredible. No one’s allowed to sit in it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career or a lesson you’ve learned?
Overall, in life I think my biggest takeaway is that you just have to believe in what you’re capable of even if everyone else is telling you, you aren’t capable of it. There is that grit and every time that you get knocked down and you get back up, it’s easier the second time. I think when you get to the point that you’re confident in yourself, other people see it and believe in it. 

If you had to pick one person on your “dream interview” list that you haven’t talked with yet, who would that be?
Probably George Strait. I’ve been around him. I’ve watched him perform at Gruene Hall. It was insanely intimate and amazing, but I’ve never had a sit-down interview with him. He doesn’t do very many ever, so he’s definitely at the top of my bucket list. That and Oprah. Those two big ones. And Reese

What do you love most about Nashville and the music community?
Nashville is home. It will always be home. No matter what I do or where I end up working, I’ll never leave. This is it. It is a family that once you’re in, you know you will always have that family.

What would be your advice to anyone who is looking to make a change or take a leap of faith and try something new?
I am not good at taking a leap. I am really bad. God has to push me off a ledge because I will stay there. I will dig in my heels and I will stay, I’m like ‘No, no, no, we’re good. We’re comfortable.’ But what I’m learning [is]…when you have to pivot, believing in what your gifts are, knowing what you’re good at and really going after what you want, things happen in a way you can’t describe. There is a faith you have to have, that unseen faith of taking that first step, and man that first step is the scariest step ever. But taking that leap is the scariest and best step you can ever take, and you’ll never regret.

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