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October 4th 2018

Kendra McKinley Musicians' Residency at Smiley's 10/1-10/6/2018

Kendra McKinley just returned from a whirlwind three-day artistic collaboration in Iceland. Today, she’ll be heading to Smiley’s Saloon in Bolinas to spend the week writing, refining, and performing her new album.

Kendra’s voice is prismatic: hold it up to the light one way and you get honeyed seduction; another, raw power; still another, a freshwater stream. Her songs are sassy, classy, and jazzy. Whether she’s creating a full choir using just her voice and a looping pedal, or backed by her dynamic funk band, her infectious music will leave you entranced.

Kendra will be in Bolinas for a Project AMPLIFI Musician’s retreat, designed to support the sonic and social work of brilliant, conscientious, engaged artists. While in Iceland, she was arranging songs for Ragnar Kjartansson’s  upcoming three day musical experience, Romantic Songs of the Patriarchy, at the Women’s Building in San Francisco (sold out), which explores how famous, innocuous-seeming songs actually have complex attitudes towards women.

Kendra is an active advocate for social justice, feeling great responsibility to serve as a role model for young people, especially girls. She knows that songwriting is a powerful tool for processing thoughts and emotions, and she has taught many people, young and old, how to transform their life experiences into music as a form of empowerment. She has performed in benefit concerts for Planned Parenthood, Bay Area Women and Children's Center, as well as performed concerts for the special needs campers at Camp Krem (Santa Cruz, CA).

While at Smiley’s she and her band and other collaborators will be developing the new album through a fluid, Steely Dan--esque approach by inviting fellow musicians to attend demoing sessions, where they are encouraged to vocalize or even track their ideas on a given song. Kendra explained that the philosophy behind this album cycle is to treat album production like a semi-permeable membrane: welcoming new ideas from a broad cast of musicians friends, whilst still being selective about what makes it onto a given track. Oftentimes records are created in total isolation, only being released once they are polished and packaged for consumption. She wants to abandon the preciousness and privacy that characterized how she made the last album, TREAT, by enjoying the process, celebrating people and innovative music-makers.  

While in Bolinas, Kendra will continue to write songs, the band will continue to explore production ideas, the ladies will work on their dazzling choreography, and we’ll showcase our works on the Smiley’s stage Thurs, Fri, Saturday night.

Posted by Leila Monroe


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