In Praise of Cheyenne Kimball
In the late-2000s and early 2010s, we saw the rebirth of the Confessional Woman album. They were albums that were not only penned by women, but were deeply personal.
There was Taylor Swift’s early work that played like a teen girl’s diary. Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly” was inescapable. And in 2011, Adele reached icon status with her breakup ode 21.
The rebound of the female singer-songwriter was a godsend, not least of all because it gave us Cheyenne Kimball.
You know, Cheyenne Kimball? Who had her own docuseries on MTV? Who dated that cute guy with the dreads from American Idol? That Cheyenne Kimball.
In 2006, one-time America’s Most Talented Kid Cheyenne Kimball released her only album The Day Has Come. I remember because my sister bought the CD the week it came out. As I did with most of my sister’s CDs, I would later steal it.
To me, Cheyenne was the #1 Confessional Woman. She was Avril and Alanis and Taylor rolled into one. She was fun and profound and knew how to craft a damn good pop hook.
She was authentic at a time when pop-rock goddesses like Avril and Ashlee Simpson were going down the manufactured route.
She was that best friend who looked into your middle school anguish and said “it’s okay.”
Okay, maybe that last one was just me.
Her album had a song for every mood I was in. “Hanging On” for when I wanted to be optimistic. “Mr. Beautiful” for when my grade eight crush was dating someone else even though he hugged me that time we went on that apple picking field trip. “Full Circle” for when I was questioning my bad life choices (even though I was only 14 so what bad life choices could I have been making?).
I mean, just listen to this:
Tell me you’re not crying right now.
I waited for new music from Cheyenne. But it never came. I waited as Miley Cyrus covered “Four Walls” in 2008 (which I had strong feelings about).
I waited as Cheyenne played mandolin in the moderately successful country group Gloriana. I even bought their album and I tried so hard to like them. But when she left Gloriana without explanation in 2011, I took that as permission to stop pretending I liked country music.
I’m still waiting for more Cheyenne, but it looks like she’s retreated from fame. Her Twitter has been dormant since 2013. She’s on Instagram, and it looks like she’s happily living a low-key life.
So Cheyenne, if you’re Googling yourself and come across this, we miss you. Or at least, I miss you.