Bre Kennedy, the Utah native writes music that details self-growth and transformation. A leaf in the wind, is the period describing her time in Los Angeles as a teenager that inspired a major shift of focus. Subsequently, Bre moved to Nashville where she was able to discover her identity as an artist. Inspired by Fleetwood Mac and Cat Power, her music is poignant and reflective of her own struggles. She mentions how she likes to sing about the “messy moments in life that people don’t really like to talk about”. August 27th marks the release of two singles followed by a new album scheduled for October 8th.
From where you started, how would you describe your growth as an artist?
I started my early career in Orange County, Los Angeles, and so I moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 2015. I really think that’s when I kind of woke up to myself. I feel like I was a leaf in the wind in Los Angeles, and I really valued my time and I think I’ll have another chapter in Los Angeles but you know I was 22 when I moved to Nashville in 2015 and I feel like that’s around the time that we start waking up to ourselves outside of the conditioning of what our parents want and what the world projects on us… It’s like what do I want? And I feel like for some reason in my life, that was the first time my capital k knowing was like…Hey! I don’t know why but you need to drive your car to Nashville, Tennessee and everybody thought I was crazy, and I was like what are you doing, you don’t make country music, but sure enough my first week here I met Kyle Dreaden who made my last two EP’s and a lot of this album, and I cultivated all of my relationships with my band members who have been with me for the last five years and who have inspired me to write the music I am now. I would say my journey and growth have come from a culmination of being thrown into Los Angeles at a really young age and have turned into me finding my voice as a songwriter in Nashville.
Regarding your single Twenty-Something, what is your perspective on the twenties?
Whirlwind! That is the biggest way I can say it, that’s the first song on the record…I think the twenties are freedom…and they allow us to get messy, and I really love writing about the messy parts that people don’t really like to talk about, and I think on our phones its really easy to be like,look at my amazing life in my twenties…but oftentimes what we don’t highlight is the transformative heartbreak that happens in a form of metamorphosis every two years in your twenties. It’s a lot of pressure on someone to be, and I wish someone would’ve told me before I went into my twenties. Try on every color and then once you’ve tried on every color you can figure out what you like but it’s ok, you don’t have to stay with just one color!
In a recent article, a writer described music as a celebration of pain…what do you think about that?
My album that’s coming out is probably that, which I wouldn’t have probably liked to say because it is very dark to think about, but then again, I think that humanity is a lot of overcoming pain. From conditioning to generational trauma, to heartbreak it’s like a constant metamorphosis…I actually like that phrase “celebration of pain” because it just means that humans are making light of a dark thing and the dark moments. My whole new album Note to Self is pretty much me bringing the darkness to surface from my twenties and finding the silver lining. I think music is a celebration of many things if you’re able to dance through the bullshit.
What are your expectations for your upcoming album?
The last two EP’s I put out didn’t have a plan, I just picked songs that I really liked making with my friends and scattered them out in the world, and I had put an intention that I was going to craft an album that I felt ultimately captured me right now as a songwriter and an artist and then the world shut down. I’ve had a lot of anxiety about it, but now I feel really thankful that I have this time capsule in lieu of a silver lining…now I have this thing to look back on and be like I made a really beautiful thing with my friends, and we pushed through and a lot of the songs I listen to even now I was like Woah… I was figuring out who I was in those really quiet moments. There’s a lot of relief having it out in the world as the first album that I was offering, and it has a little bit of my pop background in writing for other artists and my words and my songwriting and I’m very proud of it.
What would be your favorite lyric from any one of your songs, if you had to pick one…which would you choose?
My favorite lyric is probably from Note to Self…it’s the second verse and it goes…
“You don’t think that it’s a mess, it’s just glitter all on a dress that’s the power you possess inner child.”
I smile every time I perform that live because you don’t think anything is the worst thing in the world you just think it’s all beautiful…that’s really what the little kid in me feels all the time and I’m so hard on myself in my adult life, like if I make a mess, I’m always so pressured.
Do you think the pressure ever goes away?
No! I think people need the pressure to push through it, but I also am a really big advocate for mental health.
As an artist, what are your views on mental health?
Speaking from my own perspective, I am still on my mental health journey, and I wish it was talked to me more about as a kid, that there were places I could go to address certain things and I feel like we grow up so fast these days and so much is put on us at such a young age, especially with all the expectations on our phones and everything, and as an artist, I have to be on my phone all day, and only now in my late twenties I’m realizing how important it is to put your phone down and have social media etiquette and really live life. Living and internally doing the work of feeding myself with love and affirmations…figuring out the cocktail that makes me fill my cup so that I can go out into the world and contribute to being a positive person in society. I think after last year there are a lot of mental obstacles that are coming up and if someone’s driving slow just assume they have a goldfish in their car…just have patience with people because we are all going through it right now!
photos / Jason Lee Denton story / Alexander Mays
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