Canterbury country music singer-songwriter Kaylee Bell becomes star by making US charts

A Canterbury singer-songwriter just became one of New Zealand's most successful country music stars by landing a spot on the United States' Billboard charts.

Kaylee Bell says she's excited to see the global growth of country music's popularity - and she has Keith Urban and TikTok to thank for her recent success.

'Keith' isn't a name that makes top 100 lists very often these days but Canterbury-born musician Kaylee Bell has put 'Keith' back on the charts.

"Yeah when I was tagged in the Billboard chart yesterday I was like 'that's really weird, I wonder why that happened'," she said.

"And then I clicked in and read the article and it was just like 'whaaaaaaaat?'"

Her 2019 song titled - you guessed it - 'Keith' was inspired by her idol, fellow country singer Keith Urban.

But only now has it made number 12 on the Billboard Chart for digital sales and also sees Bell debut on the emerging artists chart at number 41.

"It's really all thanks to the power of social media and people discovering the song which is pretty wild," she said.

A little show called The Voice had something to do with it. Last year Bell featured in the Australian competition playing 'Keith' to Keith Urban himself.

"Obviously it's gone bonkers on the internet, on TikTok and everything," she said.

The country star, who has recently relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, said this latest milestone is the best kind of encouragement after years of considering the move. And she's pleased to see country music gaining mainstream popularity.

"To see my song up there with the biggest names like Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs and Stapleton... I've been really grateful to have such a loyal audience in New Zealand who have like, backed me before country was cool! You know?" Bell said.

And now she's getting major recognition on the same charts as the idols she's singing about.