"I've seen the country music festival lineups for this year, and the lack of female artists is angering" We chat with Kendal Conrad
Following up her two 2019 releases with her new single 'Bodyguard', Kendal Conrad is busy laying the groundwork for her upcoming EP. We had a chance to ask her a few questions about her music, supporting some genuine superstars (hello Keith Urban!), and how women are treated differently in the music industry.
Hey Kendal, how’s your day going?
Good! Finishing the fourth season of Riverdale today.
So... where are you right now?
I'm with my parents in Pennsylvania.
Tell us a bit about you, what do you do for fun?
I like rollercoasters, PlayStation games, horror movies, and eating. Yes, I consider eating a pastime! I think it's fun to try new restaurants and foods, especially if you have great company.
You released your last single, ‘Leader of the Pack’, a few months ago, what was the background to that song?
Leader of the Pack has become my personal anthem. I took all the pain I felt from being betrayed and bullied, and I poured it into this song. It's about staying strong in the face of adversity.
And what can you tell me about new music?
I have a new single, 'Bodyguard', I've just released! It is so different than my previous two singles, so I'm excited to hear what people think.
What’s the process you go through to figure out what songs to record, and then ultimately what you release?
What do I want my listeners to know about me? That's really what it boils down to. The song needs to tell a story that is worth sharing. Once those songs are chosen, then I look at which ones have the catchiest melodies.
You’ve toured with some huge acts, what have you learnt supporting some of those artists?
Be good to not only your fans, but the people around you, too. These artists have such respect for their crew - it's incredible.
What has been your favourite moment in your tours so far?
Singing on stage with Keith Urban is my all-time favorite moment. But honestly, the fact that I get to bring my mom to these shows with me and experience them with her? Priceless.
You’re doing a live streaming show for us soon, what streaming shows have you played so far and how are you finding them, fun or slightly weird?
I've recently played shows for Discover Lehigh Valley and Martin Guitar. I do two or three shows on my Facebook page every week. I'm finding them a little of both! It's weird that I have to stare at my own face instead of actual people, but it is fun to be in the same "room" with my friends and fans.
I usually ask, what have you got planned for the rest of 2020, but I’m not sure any of us know… so, what’s the thing you’re looking forward to doing most when things settle down?
Putting out more music! I have two more songs off of my EP that I am stoked to release. I'm also excited to travel again! Already this year, I visited Washington DC, Boston, New York City, Nashville, and Clearwater, FL to sing the National Anthem for Philadelphia Phillies spring training. I am dying to go to Maine and maybe catch a glimpse of Stephen King.
Social media… is it a massive pain in the butt, or a vital tool for communicating with fans?
I really enjoy social media! I love communicating with fans, but I also love to see people post their favorite recipes, movies, and music. I've gotten a lot of great recommendations from my followers.
Wikipedia tells me - and I know you shouldn’t always believe it - that you had an endorsement with Corral Boots, so, how do you choose a good boot?
Easy: you pick the flashiest one! (And maybe one that feels good and doesn't give you blisters is a good choice.)
You’ve had some success with your music on TikTok videos, that’s a weird platform isn’t it?
I grew up in the Vine generation, so when TikTok exploded, I had a little bit of a leg up in understanding the platform. Short-form videos are catchy, simple, and quick, so I can see why it took off like it did. I don't really make any TikTok videos myself, but I've greatly enjoyed seeing all the creative ways users use my music!
Your Twitter bio says “horror movies”, so which is your favourite?
The Ring is one of my favorites. It's frightening and sinister like a good horror movie should be, but it also has a great storyline.
What’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
I'm expected to jump through hoops and put in twice the work to reap maybe a quarter of the benefits that a man would get putting in half the work. I see it every day, and it's disheartening. I will never understand why the system is broken, but I'm not going to let it stop me.
Have you noticed a difference at all in the last couple of years?
I've read so many articles talking about how the "situation" for women is getting better, but I haven't personally noticed any differences. Women need more radio airplay. We want to be heard. We want to be given the chance to be tour support for a national headliner. I've seen the country music festival lineups for this year, and the lack of female artists is angering.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Ooo, just one? I've been really digging Bea Miller!
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What is one word I'd use to describe my next single? 'Shattered'.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?