Get to Know Bre Kennedy [Interview]

Kieran Kohorst

The avalanche of new music releases and pop culture fodder can leave little room for the non-seismic projects of yesterday. Carving out a place in this cascade is Bre Kennedy’s sophomore release, Scream Over Everything: an album of great magnitude to the artist that resonates shock waves to listeners with its confessional songwriting, deliberate pacing, and careening vocals. The album earned its title as Kennedy “wrote these songs about screaming over all of the noise around me, whether it’s social media, the chaos of the world, or the stories I've been telling myself,” reads a press statement. “The whole record feels visceral and alive. It's about returning to myself now. Previously, my writing was very nostalgic—this album is intentionally very present.”

The weight of the moment becomes a theme across the music, never overwhelming but more looming, driving Kennedy to write without restraint. Born from her personal growth during the writing of Scream Over Everything, the resulting tracks bring as much clarity (“Retrospect”) as they do struggle (“Faultline”), incite dance (“Hello”) as often as they inspire introspection (“The Vase”). Here, we find Bre Kennedy at her purest and most refined, a place she couldn’t have gotten to if it was not earned. 

After the grace of the holidays and the turning of the calendars, Kennedy graciously took some time to step out of the present and reflect on her past year of creating Scream Over Everything, performing her music live, and growing on all fronts.

SHEESH: You were writing this project for about a year, where I’m sure there were plenty of changes and revelations along the way. I’ve read in your press release why you landed on the title, but at what point was it obvious you wanted to name the album Scream Over Everything? 

BRE KENNEDY: I love this question. I had forgotten that moment and this sparked that memory. I was on my couch listening to the album down and I thought, “should I call this (album) Retrospect or Hello?” and then “Keep Going Back” came on… with that growling, loud, screaming guitar and then “Scream Over Everything” came on the shuffle after it… and it’s the quietest, most meditative song on the album… and to me it speaks the loudest. Writing “SOE” - the song - was the first time I acknowledged I was hurting and needed to make a change. I let that scream out loud with these songs. That is why it felt right to be the title track.

What changed the most over the course of making this project? That could be about the music, yourself, or anything really.

Everything. When we start to write the truth of where we are at .. and it starts pouring out… we can’t go back. I changed and grew so much as a woman, artist, songwriter by showing up and carving these songs and getting to work with and learn from my producer and co-writer, Davis Naish. My whole life changed. I left a long relationship and began a new chapter as I wrote and recorded and released this album. I am so thankful for its influence on my life.

This is your sophomore release, and I’ve often heard that the second LP is the more difficult one to put together. How was your experience working with expectations this time around and having already put a lot of yourself into your past album?

Great question. My first album was written and recorded during the pandemic. So, it wasn’t even something I thought about creating intentionally as a project when I started it. I just HAD to create in that time with the people I loved to let hope and joy come through in that time and realized that … I had a body of work that captured all of the growth I had done in that time with myself so I put it out with no plan of anyone hearing it. Scream Over Everything was an intentional effort in creating a body of work that I wrote and recorded all in one place. There was a vision in crafting this album and a freedom now that the world was moving and I was able to fluidly create outwardly.

Another luxury of having experience is that you were able to play the music live, and I’ve seen that you’ve opened for Sheryl Crow, Joy Oladokun and others. You were also able to head out on a headlining tour earlier this fall. How has performing live influenced how you work with your new music? Are you paying any kind of attention to how these songs will play in concert? 

Oh yes! I’ve gotten to grow with these songs by being able to play them live a ton this year! They’ve taken on a new life on stage and that’s been interesting and life giving. Performing live is my FAVORITE part of what I do. It’s the heart of it for me and getting to perform these songs live and bring them to life with my listeners has been incredible.

I’m sure your release shows for Scream Over Everything made the moment even more special for you. How were those events, and did you learn anything about the music by seeing people react to it in real time?

The release shows to celebrate the album coming out were MAGICAL. Genuinely, it blew my mind that everyone was singing these words that I wrote to get me through the changes in my life. It felt like a celebration of letting go and a new chapter starting in my career. I saw these songs make people smile, release & celebrate & in turn it did that for me as well. 

One of those shows was in Nashville and the other in Los Angeles; does your physical location in those two places have an impact on the music you make or the stories you tell?

Definitely. I started my musical journey in LA after high school. I used to play a venue called “Pig & Whistle” and would play for anyone who would listen to my songs and to have a sold out room to celebrate this album was such a beautiful moment I will never forget. I created Scream Over Everything in both Nashville & LA. So it felt right to have two celebrations honoring each city that helped bring these songs to life. 

The time in your life you were creating this album has been described as transformative, a “phoenix-rising moment” for you on all fronts. What themes or couple of words do you think would best describe your past year you’ve had making this record? 

Heartbreaking, heart opening, humbling. Growth, letting go, self & surrender.

With the end of the year approaching, do you have any goals or things you’re looking forward to in the upcoming year?

2023 was one of my favorite years yet. I got to go on my first ever headlining tour, release this album, travel all over the world & now I can’t wait to continue to share this album out on the road & see where it brings me too next.

Copy Link

Related Articles