Is there a backstory as to why you named this album Songs For Flight?
Kenna: Yea, on the last record I had taken a ton of flights trying to finish the album it was taking a long time and I was getting frustrated and I was listening to one of those pre-flight security recordings and they were saying that there will be turbulence ahead but that it’ll pass. They were talking about how you have to help yourself before you help others when your doing the oxygen, all these interesting kind of things that are necessary for your safety in-flight. And it kind of just became a correlation to me, like the rules of life if you want to reach great heights and Songs For Flight just came out. I just wanted to figure out how to take flight, how to actually do it independently how to do it without relying on others and in the sense of the industry relying on the industry, but being able to ally with others but Songs For Flight came from that. I recorded all these like lyrics and I was going to put it in the beginning of Make Sure You See My Face that’s kind of the intro to Daylight but then I kept it.
To really answer that question though as I thought of it while I was taking flight I decided that I will create a runway to an album that I was going to call Songs For Flight and I created the Land 2 Air Chronicles series and that was basically the runway and each one of those EPs came out to teach me how to do what I’m doing now so I learned a lot about what you put on a record and when you use the social world and the digital world, what happens when you just put it out, what happens if you’re an independent artist, as you do what would happen if you work with digital companies or this or that or brands or whatever and I literally built those EPs so I could learn a great deal so I can launch this so all the music from the Land 2 Air Chronicles which I’m still finishing. I’m just going to finish that before I go to the next album and that’s the runway for Songs For Flight. Songs For Flight is about putting your dream into reality and that’s what this whole thing has been, how do I take flight, how do I help the world while I do it, how do I inevitable find myself being heard.
There’s a level of complexity in your songs that keep fans interested. Where do you draw the inspiration from for your music?
Kenna: Honestly, that comes from something greater than me. I consider myself as something Pharrell said in the studio once that “I kind of just adopted and stolen from him” but he said “that we both agreed to be co-creators that there is something greater than us that’s partnered with us” and for him he writes in a very conversational way and he takes it from day to day life and he partners with the universe in conversation … For me my partnership with the universe is a little more broad … and you and I might have this conversation, and you might say “I will be heard” and I’ll say “From your lips to God’s ears” and then I will find in this conversation that the universe is saying that “I will be heard and a lyric might be heard” and another lyric might be from your lips to God’s ears. For me it’s something that becomes tangible in a very broad sense of what it means to be on a journey. The answer to your question is I have no idea but I’ve been trying to figure out where it’s coming from but I will tell you this much when I tap in it’s like a hacker or a coder when they plug in and get the headphones on and they’re blasting whatever in their ears I’m gone, there is no pulling me out of it and I will only come out when I have written that code … My first two albums, I have only written exactly the amount of songs that are on those albums and whatever else I’ve released as singles are really just a couple of extra songs here and there. Most cases every album I have written to about 15 songs, the Land 2 Air Chronicles series windup being 15 songs, the next album will probably end up being 15 songs and I literally do not write any more than those 15 songs. I don’t write a 100 to figure which 15, I write 15 songs so it’s very much a gift that’s been given to me, the music is a gift and the songs when they’re done, there usually a gift.
What is your preferred method of writing and creating music?
Kenna: That’s the thing there’s no formula for me. I might walk into a room and someone could be playing something that inspires me or I might build off of a melody that I’ve come up with in the car and I’ll write it out and then go in the studio and work around it. Most cases it’s me and a piano, it’s something that just comes from just me being able to kind of pull my self into whatever the zone is. Piano is the default.
You do a lot of activism work around the world. Are there any new initiatives you plan to be apart of?
Kenna: One For One is my focus right now because I think there’s a way to bridge the gap where I can do well and be well and I can actually make my philanthropy an everyday part of my life without me having to go to a chicken dinner and fund raise on weekends and you know, have to climb mountains all the time. I want to just be kind of natural and everyday and the people involved with me know when they are supportive of me and my music and the world. That’s what the premise is, this is my main initiative, this is the main thing that I’m working on. I constantly am building different things . I’m working with someone right now who, I’ve been helping her develop a program that just got instituted into every high school in Texas and helped her kind of build the program it’s called ‘Protect Her’. It’s basically a curriculum for athletes in school (high school to colleges to major sports) to educate them on how to be a better man and how to be a protective man for women and empowering men to be protectors of women. I work on things like that, I’ll help develop programs like that. I’m apart of the Arts and Policy Round table for Americans For The Arts , I work with advocacy of the arts, I work with the UN Entrepreneurs Council, and development of ways to shift the world that we live in through social entrepreneurial ideas like one for one. I’m involved in a few things all the time I just keep it as a part of my life but right now I have to make an album and I need all the focus to be on writing.
What are the best songs you’ve heard recently?
Kenna: You said your saving the hardest question for last? [ha ha] Mura Masa – Lovesick Fuck, Rationale – Fast Lane, Theophilus Martins – Leaving for Fordham, The Physics – Sleeping Alone. But here’s the thing when I started this whole conversation, I was talking about explorers, discoverers, and spectators. I’m an explorer and I try to find great music, the problem we have is that there is so much information, there’s so many people making so much music now, and anyone can make it on there laptop. I think it’s something crazy like in the mid-2000s’ like 8,000 albums were being released per week in America domestically, now its like something crazy I don’t know the exact number but I’ll tell you it’s probably in the realm of 70,000 albums released in America per week. How is anyone supposed to know who to listen to and quite frankly when you get to the radio, radio is like we don’t even know where just gonna play the ones the major companies tell us to play and we’re gonna double down on it. It gets really hard for artists that are great like the ones I just named, to be heard. So the other reason I’m doing One for One is because if you don’t know who to listen to and you don’t necessarily listen to the radio and you’ve gone back to buying vinyl and your collecting vinyl all day of old ass records, wouldn’t be great if you could know that at least there’s a world of people where dope artists were actually doing something great for the world at the same time. That maybe you could just happen to back? And that’s my idea at the end of the day, I just wanted to differentiate my music from everything else that’s out there. That doesn’t mean it won’t rip, it doesn’t mean that I won’t be reckless with what I’m making.
Watch the recap of his LA, Tokyo, and Hong Kong trip below:
To learn more about Kenna and how you can be involved, click here.
Listen to Kenna’s new single, “Sleep When We Die”