Through music, a Heber City woman found her ‘Brave.’ Now she’s sharing it with others.

Kristen Lloyd went from ‘train robber’ to recording artist and a children’s book author — channeling her childhood pain into art.

Not long ago, she was a train robber, Krazy Ani, a character performing for the entertainment of the railroad’s passengers. Lloyd jokes that she went from “making kids cry with [my frightful robbery antics] to making them happy” with her performing skills — like spinning guns and doing rope tricks.

Lloyd said that, for as long as she can remember, she has used her creativity to deal with the hard times in her life.

“I’ve definitely found the creative aspects of my life as wonderful outlets to help me cope with the anxiety that I had growing up,” she said.

Help from Honeybee

Growing up, she said, “because of the things that had happened to me, I had developed these rather negative stories about myself and my place in my family and my life.”

She would focus on what she didn’t have — like parents and traditional education.
Lloyd taught herself to play guitar and sing songs, spending hours practicing in the barn, with the cows [especially the young calf named Honeybee] as her audience.

Recently, performing for second- and fourth-graders in her home county in Idaho, the kids asked Lloyd if she had a song about Honeybee — so she sang one. Some of the kids cried, and it even made her emotional.

“I love being able to connect with them,” Lloyd said. “When I started sharing some of the more difficult experienced I had, like my parents getting divorced or having anxiety, I realized that a lot of the kids, especially at these Title One schools, were really perking up, like ‘I resonate with this cowgirl.’”

The book, designed to help children deal with anxiety, is “Find Your Brave.” (the book is available now in many bookstores, and online. Sometimes, the packaging comes with a plush cow, with ribbons and all, like the original Honeybee.)

Click to learn more about Kristen and read how she empowers youth through storytelling, music and empathy.

Helping kids ‘find their brave’ Writing a book and songs

Lloyd retired from train robbery just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, as she and her husband were about to welcome their daughter to the world.

Lloyd took up writing and cartooning. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book, “based on how Honeybee, my favorite cow out of the hundreds of cows we had, helped me face my fears,” she said.

While she was still performing at the railroad, Lloyd enrolled at Brigham Young University, where a songwriting class allowed her to pick up more skills. In that class, she wrote “Grandpa’s Chevrolet,” with the lyric, “Life don’t always turn out as you plan. / Sometimes in the scheme of things / you’re dealt a tougher hand. / It wasn’t easy without mom and dad, / but some things seem to ease it all away, / like riding home in Grandpa’s Chevrolet.”

At her 2022 convocation ceremony, Lloyd performed her song “My Brave,” whose lyrics include: “It took a little fear to find my brave, / but I stood my ground even in the rain. / I surprised me, I found the brave inside of me.”

As she performed, illustrations of her book that inspired it screened behind her.

“With Honeybee, Lloyd said, it all came full circle.