Kendal Conrad is a name you’re not going to want to forget.
The Nashville-based singer-songwriter dropped her second single at the end of October and is already showing her diversity as an artist. Conrad’s songs act as a fusion of genres ranging from R&B to alt-rock, with a hint of country twang.
“I pull from a lot of different sounds as inspiration,” she tells Celeb Secrets Country.
CSC talked with Conrad to get the inside scoop behind her new music and what she hopes to achieve as an artist in the years to come.
Celeb Secrets Country: You just released your second single, Leader of the Pack! Can you tell us how this song came to be?
Kendal Conrad: “I had the hook written down for a while. (“If you throw me to the wolves, I’ll come back the leader of the pack.”) I threw it out in a couple of writing sessions in Nashville with some country songwriters and they all kept telling me that it wasn’t a ‘country lyrics.’ So I took it back into the archives and sat on it for a long time. Then, I was writing with a producer back in Philadelphia, Anthony, and he played me this loop-mix-track thing that he had been working on and it hit me. I was like “I think my leader of the pack thing kind of fits this weird, moody loop thing that you have going on.” After that, we knocked it out in about three hours.”
CSC: What inspired you to write “Leader of the Pack?”
KC: “For me, it’s about haters and bullies and people that betrayed me. People who are crappy. It’s like, you can’t let them win. I’m not going to let them win. So, this song is about if you throw me to the wolves, I’m not finished. I’m not going to be eaten. I’m coming back and I’m leading the entire pack. At the time, I needed to hear that so I think that’s why I wrote it. I needed to tell myself that was true because I just felt so disappointed in everyone.”
CSC: Was there a specific situation that sparked this idea?
KC: “I’ve had people I thought were friends in school tell people to ‘boo’ me when I sang solos and I was like ‘what?’ From that to people in the business who don’t get my sound and don’t get me. It’s not really one specific thing, it’s just that ‘Negative Nancy’ person that’s just miserable and makes everyone else miserable too.”
CSC: The two singles you’ve released so far, Leader of the Pack and Come to Your Senses, have been greatly perceived. Do you have plans for other singles to be released soon? Maybe even an album?
KC: “There are three more songs on the EP that we’re working on getting out. Each song is very different than the two I’ve already released. One is a ballad. One is a dance track and one is almost a 90’s R&B throwback. So, they’re all very different, but I feel like, sonically and lyrically, they all kind of vibe. They’re all in your face.”
CSC: Any touring plans in the works?
KC: “When I play shows, I’m solo. It’s usually just me and a DI box. So touring wise, I can really go anywhere and do anything. I’m starting to figure out who I think I would be a good fit with. I have a couple of request out to join tours as an opener.
I just opened for Chris Lane in Iowa and Trace Adkins in Pennsylvania and those were super cool things for me. These bigger shows are the ones that are the most fun because I can be loud and do more of my original music. Whereas, back home, I do these gigs for money and that’s mostly covers with originals sprinkled in here and there for fun.”
CSC: You’re just starting out in your career and there’s so much that still lies ahead. What would be the ultimate dream for you to achieve in the years to come?
KC: “The Taylor Swift Stadium Tour. It doesn’t have to aesthetically look like that, but I want that level of production where I have set pieces flying in and dancers and everything is exactly how I want it. I can create my own world and take it on tour every night.
Touring and playing my music is probably more important to me than having a #1 hit song. I used to think the #1 song would be the end-all-be-all of my life, but I don’t think it is. I want to sing for people and have that fan base that wants to come to shows and have a good time. I love how Taylor creates a very dreamy little world that you can escape into for two hours.”
CSC: Which artists did you grow up listening to? Are there any that influenced your songwriting and career?
KC: “My first ever concert was Hilary Duff so that kind of tells you all you need to know.
But also, Whitney Houston is my number one. Plus, Reba and Taylor. There are some that I don’t religiously follow, but have definitely influenced me, like Imagine Dragons, Twenty-One Pilots, Fall Out Boy– that kind of alt-rock/pop vibe. I pull from a lot of different sounds as inspiration.”
CSC: Is there anything people would be surprised to learn about after only listening to your music?
KC: “I’m just very honest and upfront and in-your-face with my music. I try not to hide with my music because, personally, I am that girl at the party who just stands in the corner and texts and doesn’t talk to anyone. It’s not that I don’t want to be there, I’m just very introverted. With my music, I want to do these ball-buster, in-your-face, confident songs. It’s funny because I’m not like that at all.”