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A Dirty Dozen with HADLEY KENNARY – October 2021

| 31 October 2021 | Reply

Photo credit: Jason Lee Denton

According to a recent press release: “Nashville-based indie-pop singer-songwriter Hadley Kennary is set to release her EP, Crooked Roots, on October 29, 2021. She is planning an EP release show at the High Watt in Nashville on November 20th. Recorded in Nashville, this collection of five new songs finds Kennary tipping her musical hat to the early-2000s songwriter-pop she was raised on while introducing a fresh take on raw songwriting. On this EP, Kennary makes her own musical collage: personal, multi-faceted storytelling rife with poetic prose, contagiously catchy melodies, hooky guitar lines, and undeniable pop sensibilities. With these songs, Kennary teeters on the line between poking emotional trigger points and full-on dance-party-in-your-bedroom euphoria. A song like “Orbit” is the perfect soundtrack for a windows-rolled-down, summer drive, while the nostalgic title track, “Crooked Roots,” tugs at the heartstrings woven into the growing pains of growing up.” We get Hadley to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

My latest release, Crooked Roots, is a collection of five songs I’ve written over the past few years. It’s a personal exploration of a few of my own roots that have taken shape. Something that a listener might not get on the first few listens are some echoes of my previous projects in these newer songs. I definitely include some of the same language from songs I’ve released in the past, and I think there’s something beautiful about that through line.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My first memories of music were my parents’ CDs playing in our house growing up. Neither of my parents are musicians, but they love all kinds of music, so I was exposed to a pretty wide variety from a young age. Growing up, I took piano lessons, started playing guitar when I was 10, and I was in choirs and musical theatre through high school. I don’t remember the exact moment I realized I wanted to be a musician, it was just one of those things that I couldn’t ignore along the way. When I wasn’t in choir practice, I was learning my favorite songs on the guitar and starting to figure out songwriting. When it came time to choose what I wanted to do after high school, I knew regardless of where I ended up, I’d be trying to do music in some form. A decade later, here I am, and I haven’t looked back.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The singer-songwriters of the ’90s and early ’00s are truly my bread and butter. From artists my mom loved like Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin, and Natalie Merchant, to ones I discovered myself along the way like Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch and Sheryl Crow, watching women sing and write their stories through different phases of my own life really informed my style as an artist and a songwriter.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d really love to work with Jack Antonoff. I think he’s made a signature mark on pop music over the past decade, and I’d love to collaborate using his color palette.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I love exploring Nashville. Whether that means trying a new brewery, eating at my favorite restaurants, or walking around my neighborhood, I really love finding ways of being present in this city while I’m here. I love traveling and going on the road, but one of my favorite things about Nashville is that I really miss it when I’m gone.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d say my sound is left-of-center pop-singer-songwriter: so girl with guitar meets drum loops and synthesizers. For a while, my music was being labeled as a shade of country. It didn’t make me cringe; I have so much respect for country music, but that’s not the space I’m trying to take up with my music as an artist. I also think genre is a metric that is becoming less vital as more niches/crossovers are being explored. Good music is good music, regardless of what space it does or doesn’t fit into.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I think we all can take on each of those roles from time to time! When we’re all hanging together, whether it’s after rehearsal or on the road, I think we’re all just stoked to be in the same room again. Between the isolation of 2020 and the whirlwind that has become 2021, my band has become a place of exhale for me. Whether we’re hanging out, making music, or subscribing to a singalong after a few beers, I’m so incredibly grateful for them.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I don’t remember the last time I was starstruck. But one time, in my first or second year in Nashville, I waited on Chris Stapleton. I just remember: 1) being very aware that an incredible artist was very close to me, and 2) I really didn’t want to mess up his order!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is getting to connect with people for a living. Growing up, and still today, music made me feel less alone – hearing artists’ stories and feeling like they’re telling my own. It’s such an intimate, yet completely universal experience. It’s a wildly incredible creative force to be a part of. If I couldn’t be a musician, I’d love to explore a different medium of creativity — maybe being a photographer, an author… some shade of storytelling.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’ve always wanted an interviewer to ask what my desert island records would be. I feel like it’s a question people ask each other in conversation so much that it has almost become a cliché, but I always think it’s interesting to hear about records that people never exhaust. For me, in this moment, those records would be: Blue by Joni Mitchell, Rites of Passage by Indigo Girls, Something To Tell You by Haim, and Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves. Conversely, I’m tired of answering what genre I am. People are going to listen or they won’t, they’ll like it or it won’t be their thing. I find that me telling them what box they should put me in makes very little difference on someone’s opinion.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I studied music business in college. I don’t regret choosing that major nor the school, but I wish I had taken the opportunity to take more classes in things I was even remotely interested in: some production, more songwriting, performance, etc.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Hands down. This record is one of the reasons I’m a songwriter. To be a fly on the wall for that process… I can’t explain how much of a gift that would be.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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