Jenny Kern is a New York-based, Toronto-born indie singer-songwriter. Her debut EP came was released in April and since then, her song Slow Burn has been a huge hit in the indie music scene. She went on tour to promote her EP in Europe and North America, and is now starting to record music for her next project. What you may not know is that Kern left her successful job as a producer for television to pursue music as a full-time job. Read an excerpt from our interview below, and scroll down to see two live performances and our full interview!
PR: Who are some current artists that inspire your sound?
JK: I would say a huge influence on my record was Fleetwood Mac, which is my favorite band of all time. Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker. There’s so many bands that I’m now discovering and in love with like Dizzy the Band from Ontario, Clairo, Maggie Rogers, boygenius. Phoebe Bridgers dropped an album in 2018 that was unreal and everything Julien Baker writes is some of the best lyrics that I’ve ever heard.
PR: Your debut is EP is very emotional and raw, is it hard to be that open?
JK: I didn’t really know what to expect when it came to songwriting, I didn’t realize how much of yourself you have to put into it for it to really come through. When I started doing it, I found this catharsis in being super open and I realized if I’m incredibly vulnerable and I tell you exactly as it is, you can’t make me feel bad. I’ve told you everything about me, I’ve told you all the truth.
PR: What are some of the themes in your EP?
JK: I think one of the big ones is anxiety. I was going through a really hard time when I wrote a couple of those songs. I kind of just didn’t know where my life was going, felt broken, like I wasn’t good enough and I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was one of the first times that I connected with words to express those feelings and it opened my eyes to those feelings of uncertainty and confusion. All I want is for people to know that life is really hard, and the path is different for so many people. We all go through these periods that are hard on us, whether that’s depression, anxiety, losing someone, having a relationship fall apart. We all go through these periods but we make it through. Some people say my songs are sad, but the point of the stories of each of those songs is that there is this conclusion that it can be better and it is okay to feel that way.
PR: I want to talk about Slow Burn. It’s taking off into the streaming atmosphere!
JK: I’m really humbled because I swear to you, I said to myself, “You know what? I’m going to get 1,000 plays by the end of this year and that will be my victory.” And then 24 hours later I looked on my Spotify for Artists account and I saw 1,000 plays in 24 hours and I was just shocked. It’s just been really incredible that it’s blown up in the way it has, but more importantly, I’ve received some really amazing messages about how the song has made them feel, or how much they’ve loved it, how it’s helped them through a tough time, and that beats any streaming number. I’m really just in shock, I did not expect it to do as well as it has been. I’m humbled and so happy that it’s going to so many ears. It’s such a special song for me, I just want it to go to as many people as possible.
PR: I’m obsessed with Carousel. It’s a great song! Can you tell me a little about it?
JK: Carousel is actually one of the first songs I ever wrote. I kind of always thought it was a little too cheesy. I wrote it about being in love with someone from my past and thinking, what if we gave it another shot? I mostly want people to not make the same mistake that I did! I still haven’t even told this person I wrote this song about them. It’s more than about love, I think in theory that was the inspiration. I want people to feel like they can take a chance and try something again. Whether that’s a big life thing, or just me taking up piano again. Go for it again, take another chance.
PR: You also went on tour for this EP as well.
JK: I did, and it was kind of weird how it all happened. My first European tour was in the beginning of May, right after the EP came out. I got reached out to by a blog called Where The Music Meets. They’re the most amazing team. They were like “hey this would be amazing for our balcony show.” And I thought… “Are you asking me to come to Portugal?” So I went there and played a few shows, played a show in London, came back and did a North American tour this summer.
PR: Do you have any more shows planned yet?
JK: Nothing lined up at the moment, I love playing SoFar Sounds shows in the city and meeting new people and meeting new artists. Nothing really, except I am set to record new music next month!
PR: Is this for a future EP or full length or just going to see how it goes?
JK: We are going to kick it off with a couple singles and see how those come out and see if the vision comes through. I hope a full length record but I’ve gotta keep writing! If I’m gonna put out a record I want a story to be there and I want it to be relatable.
PR: Are songs already written or do you usually write them with your producer in the studio? What’s your songwriting process like?
JK: They are written, I’m mostly a write on my own type of person. I’ve definitely had co-writing sessions with people, and it’s really interesting because I’m very introspective when I write. But mostly it’s me and I write my own material and bring it to a producer and we fine tune a lot of things. I’m super pumped about it, and I’m still writing leading up to it. Because who knows? Maybe I’ll write something next week and we’ll use that one.
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