Kylie Rae Harris is the 30-year-old country singer who was killed in a car crash in New Mexico on September 4. Harris is survived by her six-year-old daughter, Corbie.
Harris’ passing was first reported by Saving Country Music. In April 2019, Harris released her self-titled EP. Wide Open Country described the record as being “filled with heartfelt tales of heartache, starting over and hopes for the future.”
Harris had released her first EP in 2013, titled “Taking It Back.” A year later, Harris won the 2014 Female Vocalist of the Year from the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards. Harris was a native of Wylie, Texas, a town located 30 miles northeast of Dallas.
Harris said in a press release around the time of the release of her EP that she counts Radney Foster, Jerry Jeff Walker, Walt Wilkins and Patty Griffin, as her early influences. On her Facebook page, Harris cites Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow as her more contemporary influences. The press release ended with the lines, “I’ve always had a clear vision of being on stage playing songs. I’ve never lost that dream. I’ve had distractions and gone off path some, sure, but never for long. This is what I do. I love music.”
Saving Country Music quoted Harris as saying of her career in 2013, “Music has always been in me. I have to do it. This is all or nothing for me. I’m going to be writing and singing music the rest of my life whether I’m broke or not so I might as well go for it.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hours Before the Crash, Harris Said That She Was Running Low on Gas & Was Worried About Getting Stranded in New Mexico
In a post on her Twitter page just hours before the fatal crash, Harris tweeted, “Fuel range is 46 miles and I’m 36 from the nearest gas station. Dear baby Jesus please don’t let me get stranded in NM.” On her official website, Harris says that she performed Michael Hearne’s Barn Dance Music Festival in Taos.
Harris said in a tear-filled Instagram story published while she was driving on the day she was killed, “I’m alright, I look a mess. It’s because I’ve been crying. It’s a good cry. I just got to Taos, New Mexico. But for those of you who don’t know, I spent the last 20 years of my life coming to Taos with my dad, my sisters, my grandparents lived here, my uncle still lives here. Literally, everybody that was here has passed away, except for my uncle, including my dad. Driving these roads today, I’ve been driving for 12 hours, you would think that’s so exhausting and boring. And remembering my place in the back seat, and I started getting really sad.”
Taos News in New Mexico reports that deputies were called to the scene of the three-car crash, which occurred along State Road 522, at around 9 p.m. local time.
The location of the crash was around 100 miles north of Santa Fe. The Taos News report does not name Harris as a victim in the crash. A 16-year-old girl who was traveling in another vehicle was also pronounced dead at the scene. Another driver was uninjured. Investigators believe that alcohol was a factor in the crash. All three drivers were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision.
2. Harris Said in March 2019 That She Was Scared to Think It Was Possible She Would Never Know Her Daughter as an Adult
Harris told Billboard Magazine in March 2019 that her father had passed away after a battle with cancer in 2018. He was 54 years old.
Harris went on to say, “It scared me thinking that it was totally possible I could be gone before my daughter reaches that point. I want to meet my kid’s kids. Getting to the age your parents were when you were a child brings a whole lot of perspective.”
Harris dedicated the song, “20 Years From Now,” to her daughter. The song included the lyrics, via Billboard, “You deserve nothing less than happiness/ And so do I/ Twenty years from now/ My prayer is that somehow/ You’ll forgive all my mistakes and be proud of the choice I made/ God I hope I’m still around/ Twenty years from now.”
Harris went on to say that the song was penned after she’d had a difficult visit involving her daughter’s father. She referred to it as a “pretty emotionally brutal writing/therapy session.”
3. Harris’ Manager Told Heavy.com That ‘The Best Tribute to Her Is to Spread as Much Love as You Can’
Her death was confirmed in a statement from her manager Alex Torrez to Heavy.com, “We are heartbroken to confirm that Kylie Rae Harris passed away in a car accident last night. We have no further details to share, and ask for privacy for her family at this time. Everyone that knew Kylie knew how much she loved her family and, beyond that, how much she loved music. The best tribute to her unmatched enthusiasm for both is to spread as much love as you can today, and listen to music that fully inspires you.” That statement was first reported by Billboard Magazine.
The press release around Harris’ March 2019 EP quoted the singer as saying, “My twenties weren’t a walk-in-the-park, a lot of that admittedly self-inflicted, but I grew a lot. This project feels like the close of a real painful chapter and a welcome to whatever is next.”
Speaking about her daughter in that press release, Harris said, “Getting to the age your parents were when you were a child brings a whole lot of perspective. Parents are people. People make mistakes and being a parent is hard. I’m not always going to make the right choices, but I hope that when my daughter gets older, she’ll see that they were all made with love and the best of intentions.”
The Dallas Observer reported in March 2019 that she had recorded her EP at Nashville’s Farmland Studios. For the record, Harris worked with Jon Randall, who had previously written songs for Miranda Lambert.
Harris told the newspaper that heartbreak was a key component of country music for a simple reason, “Country music is meant to be honest. I think everyone at some point in their life has had a relationship they know is unhealthy but continue to go back to. We have our patterns, and patterns are hard to break. Unfortunately, it’s just relatable content.” In the same interview, Harris said that she couldn’t sing about things she had not experienced. She added, “Some people write journals to work through things, I write songs.”
Harris told Taste of Country in January 2019 about the source of inspiration for her then-upcoming EP, saying, “I have a type. My step-dad says my type doesn’t work. He’s not wrong… Fall for the bad boy, no surprise it doesn’t work out, but I continue to do it again. And again. And again. Some fools never learn.”
On her Facebook page, Harris says that after she graduated from high school, she spent a year in an abusive relationship that ended with her in trouble with the law.” Harris said that as a result of the relationship, she had alienated “everyone important to her.”
4. In Addition to Her Music Career, Harris Also Owned & Operated a Vintage Clothing Boutique in Texas
In addition to her music career, Harris was also the owner of a vintage boutique in Texas, Corbie + Co. Harris told Wide Open Country that the looks being featured in her store for the summer of 2019 had “an emphasis on festival fashion. Fun, free-spirited and leaning toward bohemian, festival fashion combines prints, a little edge and risk! I usually try to incorporate vintage pieces, with maybe one new piece and some cool accessories… The style comes across more casual.”
On her Facebook About section, Harris writes that one of her interests was shopping for 70’s retro clothes and that she has a “collection of bell bottoms.”
On her Twitter bio, Harris says she is a “Texan. Music Maker. Mama.” Harris tweeted on September 3 that she had been contacted by an ABC producer regarding a reality dating show about singer/songwriters. Harris wrote that she thought the idea was “fckn hilarious.”
Harris was featured in a 2011 episode of the documentary series around country music artists, “Troubadour, TX.” Harris also used one of her final Twitter messages to spread awareness of a GoFundMe page for the area of Hope Town which had been devastated by Hurrican Dorian in September 2019.
5. Kylie Rae Harris Is Being Mourned on Social Media by Fans & Contemporaries as ‘Talented,’ ‘Passionate’ & ‘Beautiful’
As news of Harris’ sad passing spread, fans, friends and contemporaries have taken to social media to mourn the talented singer and to celebrate her tragically short life. Here are some of the most poignant messages: