Atlantic Records artist Sara Kays may seem to be a long way from her days of busking in the Carmel Arts & Design District.
The 22-year-old Carmel native now lives in Nashville, where she recorded breakthrough single “Remember That Night?” last fall. Before being heard on WTTS, the song became a TikTok sensation viewed millions of times at her @sarakaysmusic profile. Nearly 50,000 videos at other TikTok accounts have showcased the song.
But Kays still has good feelings about playing covers for pedestrians in her hometown. “There’s a lot of people walking around there on Friday and Saturday nights,” says Kays, who attended Carmel and Noblesville high schools.
Inspired by being blindsided by one text message from a former significant other, “Remember That Night?” represents Kays’ willingness to reveal the personal in her songwriting. An earlier TikTok hit, “No Matter the Season,” was based on her struggles with body image. New song “Picture of You” originated with Kays’ feelings about disliking the way she appears in certain photographs.
“When I first started posting on (TikTok), I was just putting my original stuff out there,” she says. “I didn’t realize there’s such a big audience for the topics that I was writing about and there are that many people that related to it.”
In this WTTS interview, Kays talks about being influenced by Vance Joy’s “Riptide” and her affection for Kohl’s, Applebee’s, Dunkin Donuts and croutons.