Catch up with Nashville-based singer-songwriter Hadley Kennary and watch the video for her single "Painkiller" off her Momentum EP, out now.
What got you interested in music?
Hadley: My parents always had music playing in the house when I was kid; everything from my dad listening to Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones to my mom showing me Joni Mitchell and James Taylor and the like. I was always singing as a kid, I was really into movie musicals, and then that spawned into musical theater in middle school and high school. Once I got a guitar, I started playing it and never stopped and just started writing when I was in high school.
Do you remember the first album you had?
The first album that I bought with my own money, that I chose, I think it was Come On Over by Shania Twain. It holds up! [Laughs]
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
Really, a lot of the singer-songwriters from the '90s. Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter - those really strong women in songwriting. And women songwriters today like Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Anna Nalick. Those are my big ones.
Is there a woman singer-songwriter you're most excited to hear more from in 2017?
I'm not sure if Sara Bareilles is putting out new music this year, but I'm just a huge fan of everything she does, so we'll see [laughs]. I think it's just an awesome time for women in music in general 'cause there are a lot of artists that I've been really excited about digging into their music. I've been really into this band Joseph; it's a trio of sisters who just create these beautiful songs with really intricate harmonies and amazing lyrics.
How would you describe your own sound to someone who hadn't heard it?
I typically just describe it as the singer-songwriter genre but a lot of people don't really know what that means, just 'cause it is a pretty broad term. What I like to call it is Americana folk pop. I think it draws from all of those different genres, everything from hooks or catchy melodies in the pop world to really heartfelt, intricate lyrics in the folk and Americana genre. Somewhere in the middle of all that!
What were your inspirations behind your single and the video for "Painkiller"?
"Painkiller" I would say is the most straightforward, even pop rock a little bit. I wrote it originally with another artist in mind, just writing for the sake of writing, not necessarily telling my own story but, the more I sat with it, the more I realized I was. It's about being so attracted to someone that it's almost like an addiction and you just need to see them or be with them again to fulfill this need that you have. When we did the video, I wanted to make it really bleak in that there's only one thing that can satisfy that fix or craving and so I wanted to make it bleak and straightforward and really moody and wanted it to be like I was almost going through some kind of withdrawal in a white room, like going a little crazy [laughs]. But it was fun to shoot. A couple of my friends from college and I shot it at a studio in Boston and just had a lot of fun with it.
Could you tell us more about your Momentum EP?
I think "Painkiller" is a good representative of the EP as a whole, because it definitely is a little bit more pop-minded than some of the songs, but I had excellent players on the entire record and a lot of them are definitely showcased in "Painkiller". The Momentum EP is a five song EP that has a variety of different songs, everything from the more rock style of "Painkiller" to an acoustic track at the end to a little bit more of the Americana vibes with my songs "Nashville" and "Speak Fondly". I think it's definitely a variety, but it's still cohesive in that I just had great players for everything and it's all coming from this place of wanting to keep the drive and move forward and really keep the momentum at this phase of my life and my career.
Now that the EP is out, do you have a favorite song to perform live?
One of them is definitely "Painkiller", just because I don't play guitar for that song so it's cool to just use the space; for awhile I was really uncomfortable not being with my guitar, but I've come into it with more practice and performance of it. Another one that I love is my acoustic song "24 Hours". I kind of kick the guys off stage and just do it by myself and so it creates this nice moment where either people are going to talk over it and ignore it and I'm just going to have this moment by myself or it creates this really nice moment where everyone is just silent and listening to one person just play the song. It's really special to me.
In one sentence, how would you sum up Momentum?
Oh geez [laughs]. Telling my stories of love and loss as honestly as I can and moving forward from that.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I hope that people take away that to be an artist means that you encompass a lot of different styles and genres, it doesn't all have to be the straight-up pop song or the acoustic ballads. I think to be a well-rounded artist, and songwriter especially, you have to have a lot to offer. I know that people can get stuck in writing the same kind of songs or doing what they think people like but, as long as you're doing what's true to your artistry, people are going to respond to that and really notice the passion in it.
Is there anything you want to add?
Just that the music is out, it's available wherever music is sold and streamed, and that I'm going to be playing a lot more in 2017; although the album is out, we're not slowing down by any means.