Kayslee Don Collins (born 28 March 1991) ‘Don’ grew up in San Diego, CA the youngest of three girls to David and Terri Collins. Her father was a drummer and paternal grandfather a singer, instilling an early appreciation for music. She can remember sitting in her car seat in her fathers painting truck watching him drum along with his sticks on the dash to their favorite song, ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack. Flipping through his CD book, picking out her favorite’s based on the album art. The Missing Person’s usually being the first selection “because of her makeup”. Wilson Phillips, The Police and Madonna were all heavy influences at this time. Tuning into the local pop radio station more frequently after the initial spark was born via her Dad, she became a fan of such 90’s staples as Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain and Natalie Imbruglia. Britney Spears was a big part of her upbringing as well. It was the first concert Don attended at age 8 in a zebra skirt, front row. She was mesmerized by her stage performance and knew that was what she wanted to do immediately. Don’s two older sisters (Keila - 6 years older & Kamri - 4 years older) often played music. She remember’s Keila loving TLC as well as some Broadway musicals like A Chorus Line. They were in musical theater and Don would tag along and watch the shows. Being "the baby" she started voice lessons and dance at a very young age but had to wait her turn for theater. She remember’s writing her first song while watching a summer theater performance for the 7th night show in a row. I would go around the corner by herself and write her own songs and dance. She and her sisters were all performers but it was something that Don felt deep down at a very very young age that it was what she wanted to do, making any excuse to perform for people. Still does to this day any family member…her immediate and extended family have stories of Don answering the front door in a leotard (chubby leotard girl) with a half wedgie and a routine ready to go.
When Don was in middle school she was given The No Doubt record Tragic Kingdom form her big sister cleaning out her CD collection. She gave it a go right away and was completely struck by how new and unfamiliar it sounded. Weird and different but immediately she fell in love. Also, being that they were from Orange County they reminded her of home. Visually and musically Gwen is still one of Don’s favorite artists. She was once was at a Brookstone store with her Mom at the mall and saw this gorgeous album cover and asked who they were. Her mom said "The Supremes" and they purchased it. She fell madly in love with Motown and Doo wop. Soul music was the first record she owned. The first CD Don asked for (on her 13th birthday) was Misunderstood by P!nk. Her friend gave it to her. There was something about Pink when she arrived that Don immediately gravitated to. Being a sweet, mormon girl from San Diego, Pink’s honesty and “bad ass energy” was very intriguing. It wasn't just her bad ass energy it was also her lyrics. Don felt some sort of pain through her songs/lyrics. Which makes more sense to her more now than it did back then. Around age 19 Don discovered classic rock in particular Led Zeppelin's ‘Whole Lotta Love’. From that moment on she made it a point to study music. She hated that she hadn’t discovered many artists from this time. Constantly learning and developing her music vocabulary she has an insatiable thirst for exploring new sounds/ artists. From the age 23-now Don has loved and still loves so many different artists including Blondie, Joni Mitchel, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Carly Simon, Don Henley, The Kinks, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground, Cocteau Twins, Lee Hazlewood, Nico, Karen Dalton, The Replacements, Nick Lowe, Big Star, Suicide, Broadcast, Tim Buckley, Hary Nillson, Rod Stewart, The Motels, James Taylor, Linda Perry, Erasure, Bob Dylan, Alanis Morsiette. She also appreciates that it’s been discovered through her own experience, not just because her parents played it on their record player growing up.
Born into a Mormon family, she would eventually leave the faith at age 12. At age 6 she began taking singing and dance lessons including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and modern. By age 7 she was cast in her first commercial and appeared in over 20 by the time she entered high school. Mostly home schooled, Don briefly attended Poway High School, eventually leaving early to pursue music, modeling and acting.
At age 15 she signed a production deal that eventually led her to showcase for major labels. With a deal falling through and feeling worn out by the process, she decided to focus on acting and modeling, signing with WME at 18 and moving to LA on her own. Despite achieving a successful modeling career Don couldn’t shake the desire to have her voice and music heard. Having teamed up with and eventually dating a music producer at age 25, the relationship turned abusive and she was forced to take out a restraining order. Despite the hardships, she refused to give up her dream of releasing music and continued to develop her songwriting on her own, while also collaborating with various artists/ producers. Her unique writing technique was honed in her car on many a late night drive or sitting outside of party’s she didn’t really want to be at.
In 2018 Don re-connected with long time friend Joe Keefe, writer of the hit song ‘Hero’ (Family Of The Year). The two had been wanting to collaborate for some time and the opportunity finally presented itself. Together they co-wrote and Joe produced Don’s debut EP out of his home studio in Eagle Rock, CA. While drawing on their collective inspirations but remaining uniquely Don, a friend described the sound as: “If some mutant lingerie-and-combat-boots-clad combination of Nina Persson from The Cardigans, Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles, the coy and yearning early Lana Del Rey of “Video Games,” and “Still The One”-era Shania Twain wrote thoughtful and sexy pop music in 2019 without real precedent or peers it would sound SOMETHING close to Don’s long awaited debut EP.”