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Mary Kenyon – Interview

Karaoke Machines, Social Injustice, and Rooftop Bars

Mary Kenyon is a talented up and coming singer-songwriter who has earned much respect in the Savannah music scene over the past two years. Here, she talks about her frustrations with social injustice, differences between herself and her sister, the difficulties she sometimes encounters with songwriting, and much more.

I have really fallen in love with the sound of the electric. I love how somber it is

What are some of your earliest musical memories?

I’m one of five kids. Four out of five whom are musically oriented. Music has always been apart of the environment growing up, from my older siblings recording in our neighbors studio, “cool kids choir” at school, burning cds, Karaoke machines, my uncle’s band “16 frames.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Gregory Alan Isakov, Leif Vollebekk, Lauren Daigle, Noah Gunderson, The Lumineers, Maggie Rogers, and Brandi Carlile.

How did you get your start in the Savannah music scene?

My sister, Emily Kenyon, is a local musician. She was very helpful in getting me up on stage. She always encouraged me to make connections and go to open mics. She moved away for summer 2018 and passed down her weekly gig at The Ordinary Pub. That was my first gig ever and it definitely helped open some doors for me. Thanks, Em!

I’ve faced some challenges with people from my hometown, even with my family, in regards to my beliefs

What are the musical differences or similarities between yourself and your sister, Emily Kenyon?

As I’ve grown, I realize I’m very fond of indie/folk and she leans more towards 90s&pop. She’s definitely more upbeat than me. I like to play sad songs. Our genres differ along with our instruments. She plays acoustic and I, just within the year or so, have really fallen in love with the sound of the electric. I love how somber it is. I’m also starting to learn how to play down the neck to allow my sound to be more eclectic.

You’re an active voice for social justice on social media, how has the current social climate affected you personally and musically?

Coming from middle Georgia, I’ve faced some challenges with people from my hometown, even with my family, in regards to my beliefs. I have recently become active in social justice and it continues to be a passion of mine. I am still educating myself and trying to learn from others which I think is most important during these times. It all definitely encourages me and inspires me to write more.

Talk a bit about your songwriting process …

The first original I ever wrote was called “Ghost Town” it revolves around my anxiety. Personally I can’t force myself to write. It will usually come to me in some of my most vulnerable and difficult moments. I believe that is when the best songs come to life.

I love playing on the local rooftops

Are there any Savannah artists you have not worked with but would love to collaborate with?

I have jammed with Susanna Kennedy and Ethan Stewart at open mics and whatnot but would love to do some more professional stuff with them! I would also love to collaborate with Britt Scott, Jalen Reyes and Jacob Evans. I’ve always admired their styles and crazy talented vocals.

What are some of your favorite local venues to perform in?

I love playing on the local rooftops. The Grove, The Public, and The Perch have been some of my favorite venues to play. I like the aesthetic and vibe it suites my music. I did however just play at Starland Yard and that was a blast. I really like the set up!

I do however wish there were some more outdoor venues available for music

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Savannah music scene?

I definitely miss my favorite open mic on Monday nights at Abe’s on Lincoln, but I’m glad that people are taking appropriate precautions. I do however wish there were some more outdoor venues available for music, so people could still be safe and be able to enjoy themselves.

Any upcoming projects?

I’ll be hitting the road out to California the first week of September in hopes to inspire myself, get some writing done and collaborate with some locals.

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