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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Kendra Morris
Monday, October 23, 2006

Emerging from a cluttered closet filled with instruments Kendra Morris exits her “studio.” “It’s a pretty messy cubby overflowing with instruments and clothes,” she says with a laugh. Morris recorded her entire debut album in there on an 8 track, the basic feeling being the lyrics should be what’s complex, not the recording process. And not the stage show either. Many have caught Morris performing in and around New York City with nothing more than her guitar plugged into a boombox. Born in St. Petersburg, Florida and now living in NYC Morris grew up being heavily influenced by a wide range of artists including Aretha Franklin, Liz Phair, David Bowie and PJ Harvey to name a few. Now, equipped with her guitar, boombox, and 8 track, she’s setting out to influence a few folks of her own.

Adam Bernard: You describe yourself as a "drunken soul singer who loves rock and roll, boomboxes and long walks on the beach." How do you incorporate all of these aspects of yourself into your music?
Kendra Morris: Whether it’s the inflection in my voice or the words in my songs, I'm a soul singer. Soul music comes from a mysterious and sacred place. Sometimes it’s an amazing, a powerful or a sad voice, sometimes it’s that haunting guitar riff or those words from the grave. For me, my soul is when I’m singing, making songs in my closet, and the syrupy words come out and I hit that note and I feel something coming from a hundred miles inside of me. For me that’s my soul. I've also always dug rock n roll, it keeps me pumped. I love that it always has something to say. It follows its own drum. Everything about it, the "fuck off, gimme my freedom!" Yeah... I like that. Don’t fuck with rock roll. It’s just like this big and spastic orgasm.. mmm...rock n roll. I play my guitar, a 69 Fender Mustang, through this beat up 1983 Sharp GF777 Ghettobalster that I stumbled upon at the flea market. I was feeling experimental around the apartment one day and realized that my guitar plugged right into it. It sounded awesome!!! It’s got this great vintage boom to it. I’ve been playing through it ever since. Can’t do a show with out my box. When it comes to the beach, I grew up on the beach in Florida but really took it for granted until now. Now I have to go back as much as possible because the winters can get pretty depressing in the city.

Adam Bernard: How did you first get into music? What was your path to where you are today?
Kendra Morris: I grew up around music. My parents are musicians. They were always in various jam bands together when I was growing up. All their buddies would come over and they'd have jam circles at least twice a week late into the night. I was constantly reminded about the importance of music. It also helped that the parents had some pretty damn good taste in music. Nothing like discovering Tower of Power, War and Jackson 5 before you turn eight. I remember how I used to write and record songs on my shitty karaoke machine in my closet. It’s funny, I still write my best songs in my closet to this day. Something about closets. Growing up I was always in other people’s bands, but I got sick of playing to everyone else’s tunes so I decided that I was gonna get my shit together and do my own thing. I went out and got a guitar, learned it and loved it.

Adam Bernard: What do you hope people get out of your music?
Kendra Morris: I know I've been to see a great show, or heard an amazing album, when I feel something inside me change. It’s those shows, and those albums, where you walk away and go "Yeah.... that’s what it’s all about". You just know. That’s my favorite feeling in the world. You get it a lot when you're on stage or recording something great but to transfer that feeling into your audience. Yeah, that’s fucking amazing. That’s what I want.

Adam Bernard: According to your bio you used to sing in the church but kept getting into trouble. What kind of trouble were you getting into?
Kendra Morris: I grew up in the church, I’m a youth group kid. I was always involved in a choir of some sort. In high school I toured around playing old folks homes and loony bins in a gospel troop. The only problem is that I am not so good at shutting up when I’m supposed to, I can get pretty obnoxious. I always like to prance to my own tune. I didn’t like being told what to do, and that was that.

Adam Bernard: Finally, other than the cliche and the obvious, what advice do you have for other singer / songwriters out there? Things they should do, or specifically avoid?
Kendra Morris: I got some advice; don’t be a lamb. Don’t do what’s hot in the moment, what everyone else is doing, that’s not what music is about. The greats are the ones that are true to their heart and soul, that aren’t afraid to just lay it out there. In the end you're gonna sleep a whole lot better knowing you were real.

You can check out Kendra’s music at myspace.com/ckendrago and give her a shout at kendwahxo@hotmail.com


posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:20 AM  
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