Kendal Conrad is a singer, actor, published writer, and award-winning songwriter.
I want my songs to mean something. I want to write about things that matter. I’m not a cliché, a stereotype, a follower. I’ve got something to say. I want to be that lyric you can’t forget, that melody you find yourself humming without even realizing it. I want people to hear my music and get a feeling, a vibe, an emotion, to recall a memory, to think of a lost love, to remember a relative who passed away, a friend who hurt them, a boy who should have stayed. Sometimes all we need is one person in this world to say to us “I know how it feels.”
What event led you to decide to create music?
I have a lot to say, and I just got tired of singing other people’s words.
You recently opened for Phil Vassar — what’s your favorite song of his to cover?
I actually don’t cover any Phil! But my favorite song of his is definitely “That’s When I Love You”.
Best takeaway moment from your first solo show at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC?
My music has allowed me to visit so many different places and meet so many different people, and sometimes I forget how lucky I am. I also forget how far I’ve come in my career, even if I haven’t gotten to the place where I want to be yet. So playing Rockwood definitely gave me a little reminder on both of those things.
You quoted author Margaret Atwood, “Whoever cares the most will lose.” How has that quote inspired your writing?
I don’t know if that quote has inspired my writing — more like my life. I’ve always put a lot of heart and soul into everything I do, and when life is disappointing I get really upset and frustrated. But not caring about anything and having nothing to lose? That’s a sad way to live.
Can you share the inspiration for the writing session for your new single with Anthony Gallagher and Sharen Conrad?
“Leader of the Pack” is ultimately inspired by every person I’ve met in my musical journey who bullied me and tried to keep me from moving forward in my career. Sometimes I write songs that I think I need to hear myself, so that was definitely the case with “Leader.” You are stronger than the cruel actions of inconsequential people.
What is the key to create great melodies?
Is it easy to sing along to? Does it have some sort of repetition? Does it get stuck in my head after the write? If it answers these questions, then I know I have something.
How did you choose the artwork for “Leader of the Pack”?
I wanted something in-your-face that made a statement but also carried some mystique. Everyone usually has text and their face on their single artwork, but I wanted to do something different, something that would “lead the pack” ha! I think that snarling wolf image really embodies the spirit of the song.
What are some good daily songwriting routines that work for you?
I know a lot of writers try to write once a day, but I don’t do that. I don’t like to force inspiration, so if I don’t feel like writing, I’ll watch a movie or pick up a book. Songwriting is storytelling, so it really helps my creative juices to lose myself in someone else’s story.
How do you find time in your day to get away, take care of yourself and recharge your creativity?
I try to drink a lot of water and eat some protein during the day. I also like to take hot baths just to relax, plus the steam helps with sinus congestion.
What life lesson have you learned from another artist’s song?
“The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. Self-love can be difficult sometimes, especially for me because I’m really hard on myself. But I think you have to learn to love yourself first before you can love someone else.
Which playlists are your favorites to listen to?
I don’t really listen to playlists! My friends post a lot of music to their Instagram stories, and that’s where I usually stumble upon new finds.
When can fans expect your upcoming EP to be released?
Not til after the holidays! But definitely expect more surprises. A ballad, a dance track. Got a few tricks up my sleeve.
Have seen a number of food posts on your social media. Who’s your favorite celebrity chef? What’s your favorite recipe of theirs?
I don’t know if I have a favorite, but Morimoto in Philadelphia was definitely a stand-out. The restaurant itself had a really cool vibe as well. Also a big fan of the M Street restaurants here in Nashville.
Favorite pancake recipe? Favorite restaurant to get pancakes?
I really like all of the Kodiak pancake mixes. Sometimes I’ll add my own protein powder or peanut butter to it. All-time favorite restaurant to get pancakes is Pancake Pantry in Nashville closely followed by Bea Bea’s in Burbank, CA. If we’re talking hometown pancakes, you can’t beat the oatmeal pancakes at Shorty’s Sunflower Cafe in Pottstown, PA.
If you could star in a horror movie remake which character would you be and why?
Not even a question — I would be Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street. She’s your typical good girl, but she’s also tough and smart.