Katrina Elam Biography

A Biography of the Country Singer and Songwriter Katrina Elam

Katrina Elam
Katrina Elam. Google Images/cmt.com

Tornadoes are somewhat common in Oklahoma, but nobody had seen a whirlwind quite like Katrina Elam until she hit the stage at a 4-H talent show at 9 years old. She was a head-turning, smart, determined young lady, so her toned-down vocal delivery was unexpected. It brought her mother to tears. Katrina ran to her mother, afraid that she had upset her, but she already knew what she would do with the rest of her life.

Just like that, she had become a singer.

Born on December 12, 1983, Elam grew up with her parents and an older sister in Bray, Oklahoma, a tiny town in the middle of oil country. Downtown was a school, a gas station and not much else. Her father was an oil worker; her mother a homemaker. Music had always been part of the picture, but no more so than in any other household. Elam would listen to albums, sitting by the speaker and playing each track, again and again, then she would record herself singing on a karaoke machine. 

The Early Years

Elam made a name for herself performing at parties, weddings, and other events. She was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Oklahoma Country Music Association and the Oklahoma Opry in 1998 at the age of 15. She became the youngest artist ever to receive the Oklahoma Opry's Entertainer of the Year award that same year. Superstars caught the buzz. Reba McEntire invited Elam to join her during a concert with the Tulsa Philharmonic, and Vince Gill jumped on stage during her appearance at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Her first demo made its way into the hands of Cris Lacy, A&R director at Warner-Chappell Music. Elam secured a publishing contract with the label when she was just 16. She was bouncing between Bray and Nashville during her senior year of high school, and her busy writing and recording schedule made her switch to homeschooling.

She moved to Nashville after she graduated. 

Career Overview

Elam kept a low profile at first. Instead of performing at showcases, doing demos and pitching her songs, she stayed under the radar and wrote. When she was finally ready to start singing her own stuff, Cris Lacy helped her shop her music around town. She signed with Universal South and released her self-titled debut album in 2004. It reached No. 42 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and its first single, "No End In Sight," peaked at No. 29. Elam toured with Keith Urban that same year. 

Her second album, Turn Me Up, was slated for a 2006 release but it was shelved. Two singles were released, however. "Love Is" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard country singles chart and "Flat On the Floor" peaked at No. 52. Carrie Underwood's 2007 album Carnival Ride includes a version of the latter track.

Elam was cast in the 2010 sequel to the 1992 film "Pure Country," titled "Pure Country 2: The Gift." She performs each track on the album and her song "Dream Big" served as the first single for the movie's soundtrack. Elam parted ways with Universal South in 2008 and she hasn't released any original music since, but she's continued writing.

She co-wrote the Carrie Underwood song "Change," the Rascal Flatts 2011 single "Easy," and she co-wrote the Eli Young Band's 2012 single "Say Goodnight." She and Hunter Hayes co-wrote his song "Invisible" in 2014. 

Discography:

  • Katrina Elam (2004)
  • Pure Country 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2011)

Popular Songs:

  • Download/Purchase "Love Is"
  • Download/Purchase "Would You Love Me Anyway"
  • Download/Purchase "No End In Sight"
  • Download/Purchase "Dream Big"
  • Download/Purchase "Second Chance"
  • Download/Purchase "I Want a Cowboy"