Today we’re joined by Kendra McKinley, a San Francisco singer-songwriter who we interviewed on our website last year after a cover song she recorded made us sit up and pay attention. Her music has been described as having a “striking musicality” and we think that’s a great way of putting it, so we were delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with her and learn more about where that musicality came from and how she goes about writing and recording her songs.

Kendra is a perfect example of a musician that will be called “talented” and whose music will make you think she has gifts that make it all come easily. But as you’ll hear in this interview, those abilities have come through dedication and very thoughtful pursuit of music-making, and the opportunities and projects she’s enjoyed haven’t been dropped in her lap by luck or fate, she’s been out there putting in the time and efforts and making it happen.

In this conversation we talk about:

  • Kendra’s musical upbringing and the one pivotal experience that made it suddenly clear that she wanted to be a musical performer as a career
  • The process of recording her first album, Treat, and why it turned out to be such a wonderfully varied “buffet” of songs
  • Her recent artist residency in Big Sur, an incredible and unique experience that produced a new EP and helped inform who she’s becoming as a musician

Kendra’s album, Treat, really lives up to its name, as being a treat for your ears to enjoy, and this conversation was no different. It was fascinating to get to speak with Kendra and understand where this music has come from and what she has coming up next, so we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

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Musical U interviews singer-songwriter Kendra McKinley on her love of music and how she translated it into a successful career as a recording artist.