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Spotlight: kenzie

 WITH A POST-PROGRAM SIGNING

The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome kenzie to the Museum’s intimate 200-seat Clive Davis Theater for an evening including a conversation moderated by Billboard’s Lyndsey Havens discussing her recent release, “close to you,” her upcoming debut album releasing on July 26, biting my tongue, her creative process, rising career, and more, with a performance to follow.  

Confessional and captivating, kenzie’s left-of-center pop contains the kind of lived-in detail that immediately stirs up massive emotion. Whether she’s reflecting on a recent heartache or opening up about common struggles like anxiety, the 19-year-old singer/songwriter infuses every song with immense sensitivity, along with the same disarmingly genuine presence that’s earned her a major social media following. But as the Los Angeles-based artist reveals, gaining the courage to speak her truth took years of self-discovery and quietly building up confidence.

“When I was younger I’d go into songwriting sessions and feel like my opinions didn’t matter, even though I was the artist,” says kenzie, “but at the same time I was also writing songs alone in my bedroom, and it felt so therapeutic to get my feelings out. Finally I decided I wanted to start putting out music I’d written myself—I had a feeling that people could relate to what I was talking about in my songs, and maybe it would help them in some way.”

Signed to Hollywood Records, kenzie matches her unguarded introspection with a moody and mesmerizing sound that endlessly spotlights her spellbinding vocal work—an element she first began honing as a little girl in Pittsburgh. “My mom put me in voice lessons when I was six because I was constantly singing around the house,” says kenzie, who also started dancing at age the young age of two. “Once I learned how to sing, I ended up falling in love with music.” Soon after moving to L.A. at age 11, she began collaborating with hitmaking co-writers and producers, releasing an album in 2018. But it wasn’t until the depths of quarantine that she started to write songs that truly represented her as an artist.

Her debut single for Hollywood Records “100 degrees” unfolds as a dance-ready breakup anthem built on fuzzed-out beats and shimmering synth tones. “100 degrees” was created with an all-female team of co-writers, including her frequent collaborator/producer Lenii. Meanwhile, on “paper,” she offers up a stark but hypnotic slow-burner that perfectly captures the pain of watching the one you love move on. Kenzie went on to release ‘sickly sweet’. The record follows the rollercoaster of being in a destructive relationship – the addiction to the highs, and toxicity of the lows. The repetitive cycle all leading back to the same poisonous place. Last Summer, Kenzie shared the deeply intimate track, “anatomy”. It’s an emotionally powerful track about navigating your way through life in the wake of an absent parent. Written from deep, personal experiences, the song is also a love letter to her fans and those with similar stories.

Most recently, kenzie debuted her emotional new single, “close to you feat. ASTN” via Hollywood Records. Listen on Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify. Written by Mackenzie Ziegler, Ellen Murphy, David Bowden, Dante Bowden, Joseph Ruffin, “close to you” is about the feeling of love and loving someone so much that you would do anything and everything for them. Alongside the new track, kenzie premiered the music video which features kenzie and ASTN singing directly to each other in harmony. Watch it here.

As she continues to piece together her next body of work, kenzie has begun broadening her musicality by teaching herself to play ukulele and taking up both piano and guitar, in addition to sharpening her craft as a songwriter. “One of my friends got me a little journal and now I take it everywhere,” she notes. “I’m always writing down lyrics and song ideas, especially when I’m traveling—I love just putting on my headphones and going into my own little world; it makes me feel so at peace.” And as she delivers her most vulnerable output to date, kenzie looks forward to revealing even more of her vast inner world. “I’ve been on social media for so long and I still feel like there’s so much people don’t know about me,” she says. “I hope that by sharing my story, I’m able to show everyone that I’m a regular teenager who’s going through all the same things they’re going through—and I hope it makes them feel like they’re not alone.”

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Member Check – In: 6:30pm

Nonmember Check – In / Doors: 7:00 pm

Show Time: 7:30pm

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