Tulsa native, Kaitlin Butts, is Country Music's New Rising Star - 405 Magazine

Tulsa native, Kaitlin Butts, is Country Music’s New Rising Star

Born and raised in Tulsa, rising country music star Kaitlin Butts has swiftly become a beloved figure, celebrated for her authentic storytelling and powerful vocal performances.

Kaitlin Butts photographed by Thomas Crabtree.

With a sound that bridges the classic roots of country, contemporary influences and Red Dirt, her music resonates deeply with fans across the state and the globe—she won a 2024 Ameripolitan Award for Best Honky Tonk Female and has been invited to perform on multiple occasions at the Grand Ole Opry. As she looks to the future, there’s little doubt that Kaitlin Butts will keep making waves, inspiring fans and leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all who hear her.


Kaitlin Butts photographed by Thomas Crabtree.


What’s different and unique about your music, and how do you think it represents Oklahoma?

So, I grew up in Tulsa doing musical theater. At about 15, I picked up the guitar and started learning songs by my favorite artists like Taylor Swift, The Wreckers, Miranda Lambert and the Chicks, and in doing that, I feel like the things that I listen to turned out to be like what I wanted to play myself. Then I got to learn more and more about country music and its history—because my only knowledge was mainly about ’90s country and what I grew up listening to on the radio. Then, I got pushed down to Texas, learned all about Texas music and expanded from there. 

This next album brings together the two worlds that I grew up doing. I’m making a concept album around the musical Oklahoma! and it’s like a reimagined version of the musical. My last album was kind of rock-and-roll oriented, a lot more hard-hitting, and a lot of deep, tough subjects like domestic violence and substance abuse and generational trauma. I feel like that’s definitely a part of my story. 

But whenever you come to my live show, I feel like it’s a little bit of a different experience when it comes to what you’re gonna get there. And I think that this next album encompasses just everything that you would see at a show of mine, like humor, tongue-in-cheek fun and serious topics as well, with a little bit of rock and roll here and there. But this is definitely a very country album that I’m getting out on June 28, and I’m excited to get it out there.


Kaitlin Butts photographed by Thomas Crabtree.


Who are some artists that you typically look to for inspiration, or that you try and mirror some of your music after?

I’ve always loved Brandy Carlisle. I’ve listened to her for a long time — since I was about 15 or 16 years old. She lives left of center, which I think has a lot of longevity in the Americana industry. But I definitely do lean more toward that country.

Do you listen to your own music?

I definitely do. I have to do these little double-checks to make sure that it’s good. I have to listen to it to make music, make videos, create concepts and for creative purposes. I have to listen to my music quite a bit.


Kaitlin Butts photographed by Thomas Crabtree.


What are you passionate about that you try and incorporate into your music?

As I’ve gotten older, I felt pretty strongly in all my decisions. But I feel like when it comes to human rights, that’s something that I have to vocalize. Sometimes, it’s something that just comes more naturally to me, like I had a drag queen in one of my music videos [“What Else Can She Do”]. It wasn’t that I was trying to make a political statement. But at the time, drag queens weren’t such a political thing. I just thought of the most glamorous person that I could think of who has to work at a diner. In my head, that’s a drag queen, and how she could, you know, be living like this drag queen, who’s like a simple gal, dreaming of a more beautiful, colorful life. And while she works, I wanted to make the world watch her instead of this dusty old diner.

Tell me about your interview with Rolling Stone.

I was very nervous. It was exciting. I got to go to my local coffee shop and just sit and talk on a couch for a couple of hours, and it felt just like any other interview. But I know that there was a lot more pressure for it, cause it’s gonna be in a magazine. And that’s, you know, even bigger than just to be in an article online with them; to have it be in print is just like another level. 


Kaitlin Butts photographed by Thomas Crabtree.


Tell me what it is like being married — you’re both musicians, and you are both touring. You have these busy, packed lives. What’s the key to making that work? How do you stay connected and commit to making things work?

Google Calendar is our best friend and just scheduling out time to see each other. We also have the same agent, and he tries to book us at the same time and not book us at the same time where we can either cross paths, play shows together or block out weekends where we can both be at home. We just do what we can. We’ve always done it this way — and it’s definitely difficult at times, and we definitely miss each other. But I think if anyone can understand this job, it’s both of us. We know the level of commitment that we have to the job and to the work. We don’t ask questions about why we have to stay up till two or three in the morning or why we haven’t called all day. We know how hectic it gets playing shows and doing this. We just try to make the most of it and cherish the time.

Is it easy to disconnect from the job when you guys are together? Or is there a tendency for both of you to continuously bring music and work schedules into it?

We are trying to get better at making sure that we have a time when we turn off our phones and have a date, because work can be happening at all times. When you’re a songwriter or a musician you can work from the time that you wake up till two in the morning every single day. You really have to commit to your person and really set boundaries with your hours.

Kaitlin Butts photographed by Thomas Crabtree.

Do you have any favorite venues or locations you like to perform?

Yeah, I love Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. That’s where I grew up. My first concert was there, and I interned there when I was 16. Another one of my favorites is Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth. I love the people who work there. I love the community that, you know, shows up for me, and I love the support that Fort Worth radio has given me.

Interested in other Oklahomans who made their way into an influential realm? Check out this story on Anthony Haskins, who spent time working for the Dr. Phil show.