With the success of her song 'Ex Old Man', and the fact that her follow-up, 'He Loves to Make Me Cry' is moving up the country charts, it's hard to argue against the fact that Kristen Kelly is a rising star in the country music world. But she's not an overnight success by any means. Without hard work, perseverance and a lot of talent, the singer with small town, East Texas roots wouldn't be where she is today. And I have proof.

Before she was touring with Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and others, only folks who are in tune with the Texas music scene knew of Kristen. Until her big break came, she had been plugging away and putting hits on Lone Star radio for years now, and perfecting her craft along the way.

Over five years ago, Kelly was kind enough to drive to Grapeland, Texas to be a guest on my Texas music radio show I used to do called 'Coming Home'. Even back in early 2008, it was evident that she had the potential and the mindset to take her music onto a national - or even global - stage. It was fun interviewing Kristen, and when she sang, her talent was obvious.

I managed to dig up a recording of that interview, and want to share one of the songs she performed for the show. I think you'll agree, she did and excellent job. Take a listen to Kristen singing a song that did well for her in Texas radio, called 'Lost in Yourself'. I also like the inspirational message she sends leading into it. Check it out:

What do you think? Kristen Kelly has come a long way since that day. In fact, she's got performances lined up at the Grand Ole Opry and the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville this spring. A far cry from Grapeland.