Kay excited to start next chapter of career
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This article was published 14/07/2022 (329 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Kendra Kay can’t wait to see how the next couple months transpire.
Not only did the Elkhorn native recently sign with a new label, Willing Records, but she also released a new single today titled “Say It Again,” which she believes highlights her evolution as a country music artist over a short period of time.
“This music is very much a step up from where I was even a year ago,” she told the Sun on Thursday, explaining how she used the downtime brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to really hone her craft.
“Over lockdown, I spent a lot of time in the studio, and I really focused on my voice and my sound, and it really shows in this new body of music that I have. So I’m so excited to have it coming out.”
However, Kay’s journey is far from over, since she is also trying to finalize her first full-length album, “Homegrown Heart,” which is slated for release sometime this fall.
Compared to the shorter EPs that she has put out in the past, which contained six songs apiece, Kay said this current project is much more complex, since these 12 tracks have to be polished and present a coherent story from beginning to end.
“We were kind of hemming and hawing about just releasing another EP,” Kay said on Thursday. “And I just thought it was the time to do the debut album. We had the body of music. I have the sound that I’m looking for. We have the team. And I think it was just the right time for me … to really introduce who Kendra Kay is to the world.”
Outside of giving her the opportunity to work alongside a group of talented female songwriters — such as Madeline Merlo, Patricia Conroy and Meghan Patrick — Kay said this album also represents a culmination of all the hard work she has put into her music since she started singing at around eight years old.
After performing at fairs, community concerts and hockey games, Kay eventually released her first country single in 2014 before graduating from high school, having been inspired by a couple trips her family took to Nashville, Tenn.
Over the next couple years, Kay would slowly build her fanbase through releasing a steady stream of singles and EPs, resulting in her being named female artist of the year at the 2019 Manitoba Country Music Awards.
In terms of ongoing inspiration, Kay constantly draws from her own experiences growing up on a farm in rural Westman, where riding horses and barrel racing was a way of life.
The Elkhorn songstress said this theme is definitely going to carry over into her debut album, with her raw passion being filtered through high-profile country music producers like Karen Kosowski and Murray Pulver.
“It has that traditional feel with a modern twist, and that’s always what I’ve tried to do with my music, is to tie it back to my roots and keep true to myself,” she said. “And I feel like this album really does that.”
This Monday, Kay will have the opportunity to play for a crowd a little closer to home, since she is scheduled to perform at the welcome reception for the 2022 World Percheron Congress in Brandon.
For someone who has been largely touring across Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta since the beginning of the year, with only the occasional stop in Westman, Kay is thrilled to return to some of the same venues that originally got her started.
“After getting away from it for a while, I’m really grateful for when I get booked to play in Manitoba because it’s just a whole different ball game,” she said. “It’s home and the fans have known me since I was a kid out of high school, and it’s really cool to get to keep coming back.”
And while the next couple months will be fraught with challenges, both in and out of the recording studio, Kay is confident that all her hard work will pay off, especially with a new record label backing her up.
“A lot of people work super hard and are super talented and sometimes things just don’t fall in their lap,” she said. “And so I’m just really grateful that Bobby Wills took a chance on me and is kick-starting this next chapter in my career.”
» Twitter: @KyleDarbyson