Artist spotlight: Kimberly Caldwell

By Ellen Angelico

With a brand new album called Without Regretout on Vanguard/Capitol, a sharp music video with nearly 400,000 hits on YouTube, and an appearance at the Nashville Pride Festival, Kimberly Caldwell seems about ready to take over the world.

Well, not before she does her hair.

"Okay, this is the best flat iron on the planet!" Caldwell declares in "How to get the ‘Desperate Girls and Stupid Boys’ music video look," a Youtube video dedicated to helping others achieve her modern, effortless look. She did all her own hair, makeup, and styling for the album photo shoot and says "I am my hair dresser" on her Twitter account.

But while her look stands out in the crowd, it’s her phenomenal singing talent which originally got her noticed in the second season of American Idol that sets Without Regret apart. Her infectious personality and gritty, gutsy performances of songs like Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window" often find themselves among online rankings of Idol’s most memorable performances.

But her stint on American Idol is only one piece of the puzzle: "I’ve been a performer my whole life and everything I’ve done has led up to this moment," says Caldwell. "I’m looking forward to people finally getting to know the real me, because I’m laying it all out there for them on this album."

Without Regret runs the pop-rock gamut, from the dynamic, guitar-driven first single “Mess of You” to the soulful and elegant "If You’re Gonna Fall," but at the center of it all is Caldwell’s rich, powerful voice. Reminiscent of fellow female rocker P!nk, Caldwell’s husky alto is the perfect fit for songs like “Going Going Gone” with its empowering message to women to stand up for themselves in relationships. "You took my love for granted, baby, you can sleep alone tonight," growls Caldwell in the second verse.

Such a theme is not entirely unexpected for Caldwell, who calls herself a "massive fan" of Melissa Etheridge, as well as of Bonnie Raitt and Ann Wilson: "I just love these fearless female rockers who sing straight from the heart."

Not only is Caldwell a great singer, but she also gets a chance to flex her songwriting muscles, co-writing several songs on the album. She’s also completed a few modeling stints since Idol, served as a host for the TV Guide Channel, and even acted in her feature film debut. It is clear that Caldwell is a hard-working, straight-shooting artist who will work to keep herself on your radar.

Caldwell’s new album is poised to catapult her back into the national spotlight with many glowing reviews online. calls it "a near home run" and says that its gut-wrenching anthems may make Melissa Etheridge "a touch envious."

What’s next for Kimberly Caldwell? She’ll be promoting Without Regrets with a slew of radio appearances, television appearances, and of course, a stop at the Nashville Pride Festival. In the meantime, check her out on YouTube if you need a quick tip on anything from hair straighteners to fake tans ("Which I do, because I’m from California," she says.) to help you look your best for Nashville Pride Festival 2011!

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