Heard on the Hill

Ex-Staffer’s Country Music Tip Sheet Hasn’t Left D.C.

After leaving Capitol Hill, Kurt Bardella started ‘The Morning Hangover’

From left, Kurt Bardella, country music singer Kalie Shorr, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., pose for a photo at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game, where Shorr performed. (Courtesy Kurt Bardella)

Former staffer Kurt Bardella is still finding ways to stay engaged with the world of Capitol Hill. 

In June, he arranged for country music singer Kalie Shorr to perform at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Shorr sang “Fight Like a Girl” in an emotional moment to honor women with breast cancer. The annual game raises money the Young Survivor Coalition.

Bardella went from arranging interviews for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to arranging interviews for singers like Shorr.

It all started because he was used to the constant influx of information in the Washington bubble and found it hard to imagine other industries didn’t operate in the same way.

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“In our ecosystem here in D.C., we have any number of tip sheets and publications solely dedicated to what’s happening day in and day out in Washington,” Bardella said. “I was curious what the version of that was for country music so, just as a fan, I could know what was going on.”

He is the founder of the tip sheet, “The Morning Hangover.”

“I wondered if this is just only a D.C. thing because we’re all nuts,” he said.

But Bardella isn’t giving up on being a Washingtonian just yet — he still lives in D.C., but travels to Nashville often.

“On Capitol Hill, we could barely keep track of your member of Congress or what the other 434 are doing that day,” he said. “I assumed the same thing was probably true in Nashville. You knew what your artists are doing that day. You don’t necessarily know what everybody else is up to.”

Bardella started working in politics in July 2006 when he campaigned for former Rep. Brian Bilbray in San Diego and then worked as his press secretary for two years.

He left to work as former Sen. Olympia Snowe’s press secretary for a year and then worked for Issa from 2009 to 2013.

He left to start his own public relations firm and “along the way, started “’The Morning Hangover,’” he said.

Since its launch at the end of 2016, “heads of labels are reading this and sharing it with their organizations, the agents, publicists and mangers and the artist… on and on and on are reading it,” Bardella said.

It includes information like what artists performed on television shows, who is going on tour and who is coming out with a new song or album.

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Now that he’s established the brand, people in the industry send him information that they want included.

He said he asks himself, “Would a fan care about this? If the answer is yes, I will put it in.”

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