Tuesday, 1 July 2014

It's My Kind Of Interview - Lili Kendall

We first came to hear the delicious pop sounds of Lili Kendall recently with her latest release and beautiful clip for her track 'Moonlight', but she's been around for a lot longer than that, being nominated for the Vanda And Young Songwriting Comp in 2013 and writing music since she was 11. And she's only 17! The lovely Lili recently sat down with (presumably a coffee?) and answered some questions for us...

Lili Kendall
Interview by Jo Michelmore

Hi! How are you? Let me introduce myself. I’m Jo, I like coffee, chocolate and a whiskey every now and then, I write on a blog called It’s My Kind Of Scene with a bunch of other cool people and I reeeeeeally like music. All sorts. Tell me about yourself! (But don’t admit the whiskey bit, I won’t encourage underage drinking.)

Lili: Hi!!  I am Lili and I too am unable to function without minimum 1 cup of coffee per day and surprisingly enough also really love music! I recently turned 17 and am a singer/songwriter from Brisbane Australia.

In a world full of labels, how do you describe your music?

Lili: A lot of people ask me WHO I sound like so I like a question when it asks me WHAT my music sounds like. This is because I aspire to make music that is unique, that stands out from the crowd enough that it wouldn’t be labelled as sounding like someone else’s. My music is in the pop genre but it has a twist to it that makes it a little different to middle of the road pop songs.

As a musician and songwriter you’ve been travelling to the US to work for a few years now. How did this type of travel come about?

Lili: My first trip to the States I was actually just tagging along with Mum and Dad when they went for business. Though we did make a stop in Nashville, where I got to work with Tom Jackson, he helped me with my own stage performance and getting comfortable up there as well as connecting with my audience! Over the years I started making connections with different people in the industry, one led to another and I have ended up making regular trips to LA and working with my amazing producer and mentor Cameron Jaymes!

Your fabulous first EP Beginnings was released early last year. If you could record it all again would you do it the same or re-work it?

Lili: I don’t think I would change the experience or the body of work. Everything that I have created has made me the artist I am today. When I was 15 and making that EP, the sound and direction of it was more the producer’s taste and style of music, not mine. When you are that young and trying to find your own sound it is hard, and you pull a lot of inspiration and style from the people that you work closely with. I hate listening to that EP now though (cringe), for some reason I struggle listening to older pieces of work.

I first heard your lovely sounds this year through your track ‘Moonlight’. Where did you record it? Tell us something about the track that we would be surprised to know.

Lili: When I went to LA in October last year I was really struggling to write anything other than depressing love songs about a breakup I was going through and I remember one day actually crying in a session and just telling Cam yes and no to lyrics between sobs (so deep). When I went back in January I wrote 'Moonlight' with him and it was kind of the song that signified me moving on and seeing who that person truly was after ridding myself of my feelings for him.

The clip to ‘Moonlight’ is stunning. Who did you work with to shoot it and how much of the concept was yours? Can you tell us a bit about filming day and who you shot it with?

Lili: We shot the 'Moonlight' clip in Palm Springs (two hours from LA in the middle of the desert). It was originally supposed to be a one day shoot in LA shooting 'Moonlight', but one day before we were due to shoot we changed it to a two day shoot in Palm Springs for two videos. Jory Lee Cordy is the mastermind behind the 'Moonlight' concept, the camera and the shadowed man in a brimmed hat! I had a lot of say in a few shots, my favourite shot I suggested was the slow mo scene of me walking down the hallway and also getting into the pool. Generally I just let Jory call the shots though, with the amazing pieces of work that he has produced, I have 100% trust in what he is going to make for me.

You’ve been writing songs since you were eleven. How has the song writing process changed as you’ve grown and do you foresee it changing dramatically in the future?

Lili: When I started writing at 11 it was 4 chords on a guitar, then I would write 2 verses, some chorus’ and a bridge! I co-write a lot now and find I write best with one person and myself in the room instead of multiple people. Normally in a song writing session with Cameron we will come up with a concept to write about, and then he will start creating a track while I write lyrics. Once he has made a basic idea of a track he goes through the lyrics I have written and then we write together. Cameron pushes me really hard with lyrics and my career in general which is why I love to work with him, I need that for my development. Because I am still young I struggle to always have topics to write about and will blank sometimes in sessions, I feel like in the future when I have a little more life experience that part of my writing will get a little easier!

Congratulations on being shortlisted for the 2013 Vanda and Young Songwriting Comp with your single ‘Blind Eyes’! A lot of incredible musicians have won that award. Are awards important to you and are you a big fan of any of the previous winners?

Lili: Thank you, thank you! It was pretty crazy to be shortlisted with artists like Josh Pyke and The Preatures. Being shortlisted with such incredible musicians was an honour so winning it would be just ahh absolutely incredible, I think that is why competitions like that are so important to a lot of artists.  Kimbra took first prize in 2011 I believe and I am a massive fan of her music, and of course The Preatures who won it last year!

I’m from Brisbane too! As you’ve traveled extensively the past couple of years with your music, tell us how your hometown affects your sound.

Lili: Well I guess Brisbane has its own little sound, a lot of the bands and artists out of Brisbane have this quality to their music that you could almost recognise as not only an Australian sound but a Brisbane sound. I love Brisbane music but I don’t think that is my music.

I feel like I have a sound that is very pop orientated and I like that, so my music isn’t really affected by the music scene in my home town. Though I think being in my hometown does affect my writing, I am a little more caught up with other things here (like the small task of graduating school) so I can get a little distracted. Different things also inspire me; instead of writing a concept that Cam and I come up with, I find I write more from personal experiences when I write back at home in Brisbane.

What’s the most important thing you think you’ve learnt so far about the music industry? And where do you see yourself in…one years’ time. Then ten years’ time.

Lili: I am most definitely still learning the ins and outs of the music industry. The best piece of advice I have been given in my career and the one thing I have learnt about the industry is that you need to be fearless. You can’t be scared to release your music or get up on stage because of how people will perceive you, make them perceive you the way you want them to. Be confident. Be fearless. Be hungry. You need to work your ass off in this industry, and I think the last year I have gotten to the age and place in my career where I understand that now.

And…I’m the artist you’re the blogger. What do you ask me?

Lili: Oh gosh.. I think that I would ask something completely unrelated to music. I like being asked really unexpected questions that I haven’t been asked before!

Maybe “What is your biggest fear?” I am not very good at asking the questions though so I would probably get nervous and blurt out something more like “Do you love Ryan Gosling as much as I do?” and embarrass myself immensely.

Thanks so much for your time! Can't wait to hear more beautiful sounds!

Lili: Thank you for the support, it honestly means the world! X

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