Kenna Talks Living in East Nashville, Female Pronouns, and Being Gay in the South

With her golden retriever, ‘Isabelle’ at her side, Nashville-based singer songwriter Kenna has some stories to tell. Originally from Maryland, Kenna’s devoted to writing deeply heartfelt and creatively inspired songs, but remains simultaneously focused on a healthy and balanced life.

After finishing up college in Boston in 2016, she says, “I followed my heart and moved to Nashville to pursue a career in the music industry! I’ve been writing songs and connecting in Nashville for about two years.”

In April, she made the decision to launch a Kickstarter, and was humbled by the response of her followers:

“It totally blew my mind to see how uplifting and responsive the community was. I ended up funding past my goal – it was incredible! Since then, I have been hard at work in the studio and behind the scenes, preparing for my record to release in the fall.”

Check out Kenna’s latest, “From the Grave”, off her upcoming album here:

In an industry that can be uncompromising and vicious, Kenna says her love of the music hasn’t wavered. We asked how she keeps it moving and she dropped a line about how making music has always been a safe place, and that the support of her momma doesn’t hurt either. “My mom has always inspired me to always do what I love. Never for a second has she ever doubted my dreams. She’s super special,” she said.

Many Americans believe we have reached total equality as far as the LGBTQIA+ community goes, with marriage equality legalized in the United States, but critics often raise the point that we are no where near equal representation in the entertainment industry. Kenna, who self-identifies as a lesbian, says that taking a label has historically made her uneasy. She told Girl Gang Music: “I was always scared of labels, but felt like I still wanted one to hold onto. I think it was within the last two years that I finally felt comfortable to identify that way, but it was so important that I took the time to understand myself first, before putting a label on it. After all, it is just a word.”

Shoulda Known Acoustic

loved making this video with Jared Anderson and Adam Dobkin.words & music by Mckenna Flaherty and Jared Anderson

Posted by Kenna on Monday, May 7, 2018

As we dove further into discussion with Kenna, we raised to her how artists like Halsey or Lauren Jauregui are openly bisexual-identifying, but only recently have released a song with a female pronoun.

“I actually will be releasing a song on my upcoming record that has a female pronoun in it – for the first time! I have written songs about girls before, but it was always from the “you” perspective,” she said.

The song is called “Haunted (Somewhere In The Grey)” and will be featured on her album when it releases this fal. She says, “it’s all about feeling like nothing in life is truly black or white, one way or the other, right or wrong. It’s about learning to understand how to be comfortable in the in-between, because a lot of life exists in that space. In the second verse, I talk about falling for a girl. It felt like my heart was telling me it was so right, but my brain was programmed to think otherwise, causing me to push her away.”

Excerpted lyrics from “Haunted (Somewhere In The Grey)” read:

“But my mind took over

said “you don’t even know her

and what would people think?

so I resisted and you fell distant

it happened in a blink”

Kenna says that the Nashville music community and her “tribe” have been endlessly accepting of her sexuality, but that thins can get dicey in the South. “If you take it about 20-30 miles outside of the city its like time-travel. Confederate flags and stuff. People still hating gays. Racism. It’s gross and unbelievable to me. But, it exists… and we can’t ignore it. My music falls under the genre of more pop/indie/Americana, which is becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Living in Nashville, she notes, there are a ton of country music professionals, yet still very few out country stars. “In the end, as a community, we have to keep the conversation going. The more we talk about it and stay strong about what matters and what is right, the better it will become. We just gotta keep workin’!”


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Kenna’s Girl Gang Music Picks

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