As soon as I saw Kennedy Shaw perform at Sad Punk Press’ open mic night in January, I knew I had to shoot with her. At just 18 years old, she has a stage presence that draws the audience in and allows us to feel her emotions as she sings every word. That night I immediately reached out her and a little over a month later, we met up for this shoot! With just a $4 piece of fabric I had lying around my apartment and a cheap backdrop stand, we set up in a little park just a couple blocks from my apartment. The sun was shining, everyone was out & about enjoying the Spring weather (finally!) and there was an incredible breeze. It was the perfect day to just be outside and shake off the Winter blues. Of course, I couldn’t just shoot with this talented singer/songwriter without asking her a few questions so keep reading to learn more about Kennedy in her own words and check out the photos from our shoot!
Q: You just released your first music video, Heavy. What was that process like for you?
A: The process was so much more collaborative than anything else I’ve worked on, and more relaxed than i assumed. I’ve found that when you really respect and admire the people you’re working with, everything feels easy. The hardest part was sitting on it for so long i think.
Q: If you could summarize your sound in just a few words, what would they be?
A: Passionate, honest, and deliberate.
Q: When did you know music was something you were passionate about? How did you start making music?
A: I always knew ! I really wish I had a defining moment, but it was something constant since i could remember. I was a little kid thinking , “when i grow up and everyone knows my songs…” kind of thing, but it never stopped or seemed unrealistic, so I’m still thinking that now. I started playing piano at 7, I sang before that, and started performing my own music at 12 or so, at poetry readings.
Q: Who are your biggest influences?
A: so many! Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Nina Simone, Bjork, Joni Mitchell. I like to pull influence from other genres too, like Rage Against or Brockhampton.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I have a real love for poetry, W.B Yeats is my all time favorite. I also really love taking inspiration from visual artists. My favorite artists are my closest friends, Jesse Castor and Reed Santos. For me songwriting is like craving a burger, when it happens it just does, but I’d like to think being knowledgeable of other arts aids my ability to communicate a feeling through song.
Q: How do you know when a song is finished?
A: A song is finished to me when the weight of it is lifted. It feels very physical to write a song, and I feel lighter when it's on the page and the piano.
Q: If you could collaborate with another artist tomorrow, who would it be?
A: Matty Healy. No question.
Q: What projects are you working on now?
A: I’m releasing a single, titled “Boys” in May, and then a remix of that single with Zo, (@trannibalecter). I’m also recording my next LP!