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Cheyenne Kimball: I’m more than teen pop

Cheyenne Kimball may have her own MTV reality show and sing pop tunes, but she insists she's not just another blonde pop star.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Cheyenne Kimball may have her own MTV reality show and sing pop tunes, but she insists she's not just another blonde pop star.

Instead of comparisons to Ashlee Simpson, she'd rather be put in the same category as a Sheryl Crow. Like Crow, Kimball is a guitarist and a songwriter — in fact, she boasts that she had written countless songs before turning 13.

It was at 13 that Kimball, a petite Texan who now lives in Los Angeles, got her first big break, winning the television competition "America's Most Talented Kid," which landed her a record deal. MTV later came calling, and she got her own reality show, "Cheyenne," which chronicled her experiences navigating the music industry and recording her own album.

She recently released that album, "The Day Has Come," featuring songs that she either wrote or co-wrote with others. The teen talked with the Associated Press about fame, being miscategorized and why she doesn't miss going to school.

AP: It took three years for your record to coming out. Was it difficult to be patient?

Kimball: I really did want my music to be heard sooner than later. When I was 13 they were saying your album won't come out until your sweet 16. I felt really frustrated because that felt like forever from then and I felt like I was ready then. Looking back I wasn't ready. Here it is now and I am ready. It's my sweet 16 so they were right.

AP: Are you worried about being categorized with the other young pop singers?

Kimball: It is a worry of mine but it's not like they are negative or anything. They just have a different thing than I do. Ashlee Simpson and Jessica Simpson and all of those girls have a different career than I want to have. I don't want to be a flash in the pan. I want to be around for a very long time. I want to be like a Sheryl Crow or a Melissa Etheridge or even a Madonna with how her career has lasted so long and she is still respected in the music business. That's really what I am aiming for. I'm not really looking for 15 minutes of fame.

AP: You keep saying it is not about the fame. Why then do the "Cheyenne" show on MTV?

Kimball: TV does so much these days. It is such a great platform for an artist that I was blessed to get that opportunity. It has helped my album so much already that I am really glad that we did it. On the show I was writing music for it and I was playing concerts. I was singing live. I wasn't lip-syncing. I think it was good for people to see that. It's also good for my fans to be able to connect with me as a person because I am a very normal 15-, 16-year-old girl. I still get in trouble. I still have boy problems and friend problems so it's just very good for my fans to see that.

AP: Was there a moment or turning point where you became a better songwriter?

Kimball: I felt like I was in college for the past three years with songwriting. I worked with so many amazing people. I've worked with the best of the best in the business. I feel like I've learned so much. Not until five months ago did I realize I can write songs on my own and really believe in them. For a while I thought I wasn't that great of a songwriter. They really gave me the confidence and the tools to be able to paint this amazing picture, which is so great to do because my next album I feel will be even better than this one because I have so much more experience.

AP: Do you miss having a normal teenage experience?

Kimball: I never even went to high school because I went straight from middle school into the music business. I don't really know what it is supposed to be like. I've seen movies and stuff. Even that is different than what normal high school is. I feel like everything is balanced out. Even though I am going to miss out on my prom or I am going to miss out on walking across stage to accept my diploma, that's OK to me because I know I will have other perks in life. Getting to put out an album was very emotional for me or opening up for Natasha Bedingfield or even writing a new song. It's just amazing that I am able to have these opportunities.