Meet Kenny Holland: Artist on the Rise
Kenny Holland is a 18-year-old singer / songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona who is really beginning to make a name for himself above and beyond the hot Grand Canyon State. He’s released an album entitled Heart & Keys and has opened for Aaron Carter as well as The Summer Set. In addition to his own inspiring compositions, you could find Kenny’s rendition of various cover songs on his YouTube page. Here is a recent interview we conducted the artist on the rise discussing the concept of his album Heart & Keys, opening for Aaron Carter, his imaginative Miley Cyrus cover, a rather memorable live show involving frogs during his freshman year in high school, and other topics of interest. Read on…
What was the name of the very first song you wrote, how old were you, and what was the song about?
This is taking me back a few years. The very first song that I ever wrote was – I believe it was in the 6th grade – it was called Make You Smile. Super cheesy song – super simple song – it was about a girl I had a crush on back in the 6th grade.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I am based out of Phoenix, Arizona – and I guess the music scene there is pretty much as dry as the weather. It’s not like L.A. or New York where it’s bustling with activity. There’s not a whole lot going on as far as the entertainment industry goes. But that’s kind of why I think it’s cool to be one of the first to come out of there. There’s been some pretty cool bands that have come out of there, but I think it makes it that much cooler to have the odds against you coming from out of Arizona to make it.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Heart & Keys?
There is actually. One of the songs off the album is called That’s That. One of the lyrics in the song says “I’m a slave to my heart and keys” – that’s where we got the title. Basically, what that line was written about is I am who I am – the heart being my emotions and the keys being my piano keys – the music side of me. So really, my life is driven by my emotions and my music career. We thought that was kind of a deep, cool concept, so we went with the name Heart & Keys for the album.
Select any two of your songs and what inspired the lyrics.
Probably my favorite song off the album is called One Day At A Time and I think the song pretty much anyone can relate to. It was actually inspired by my fans – and the main line is “We’re doing this together one day at a time.” So as long as I have them and as long as they have me, we’re kind off feeding off that mutual relationship with each other – and anything’s possible and we could do it one day at a time. And you can use that for any aspect of life – just take it one day at a time and don’t get too stressed about it. I definitely love that song. Maybe It’s Me is definitely another one of my favorites. It’s really a personal song to me. I wrote it about finding out who you are and sometimes maybe you need to change yourself to be happy and find love for those around you. I think those are two of my favorites that I like to talk about.
What was it like opening for Aaron Carter, and did you get to meet him or hang out with him at all?
I did! It was definitely one of my favorite shows to date – a really cool experience. Just to be able to play with a performer with such a notable name as the Aaron Carter was a cool experience. And I did actually get to hang out with him and spend some time with him after the concert. He was a really cool guy and really cool to me. I got to just talk him to him a little bit about my career and what he’s done – and he gave me a little bit of advice. It was an overall awesome experience – I totally love that concert.
What could we expect from a live Kenny Holland show?
What I like to portray to an audience and to the world through my music – I really like to hold this persona of being an inspirational role model to look up to. That being said, in my live concerts, I like to really try my best to feel the music – and in doing that, touch the crowds through my music – and hopefully they can relate to some of that, and be inspired and uplifted by the music I create.
What made you decide to cover We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus, and do you know if she’s heard or commented on it?
I don’t think she’s heard it, but if Miley is reading this, she should go and check it out! I decided to do that because I was actually just walking through the living room one day – my mom was on YouTube and I saw a big advertisement that her song was going to be coming out the next day. I always try to do the next big thing on YouTube to hopefully get more fans and views that way. It was definitely one of my favorite ones. It took like eight hours because I was having some annoying technical difficulties with my equipment, but it was cool to break it down on piano and put my spin on it.
Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at the show?
This is an awesome question! What I consider to be my most embarrassing / scary moment at a show was my freshman year of high school, I was performing at lunch for everyone in the field. This was before I’d even really started to pursue a career very intensely – but I was still performing. And I was singing at lunch, and it was kind of a mess – I was forgetting words and it wasn’t the greatest show. But I guess it was Dissect The Frog Day in biology – so as I was singing, about halfway through my set, someone in the audience got a brilliant idea to throw a couple of dissected frogs onstage while I was singing. It was pretty gross – there were guts everywhere. It’s something to laugh about now, but I was pretty stunned then onstage – trying to keep the show rolling with some dead frogs on the stage.
Ewww! Well the show must go on no matter what.
If you could open up for any band or artist any now or from the past, who would it be and why?
My answer to this question is always John Mayer hands down. He is my musical inspiration. I look up to him a ton, especially in what he does with his music. He’s an insanely talented guitarist / singer / songwriter. I love his music! His music has helped me get through some rough times in my life – like I’m trying to do for other people – inspire them that way. So I have a huge respect for John Mayer and my heart might stop if I heard I was ever going to perform with him.
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
My favorite kind of donut is a chocolate covered sprinkle donut. I guess we could relate that to the sprinkles being the fun, upbeat side of my music and then the chocolate being the dark, serious side of my music. Together it makes it pretty delicious! My music would be a chocolate covered sprinkle donut!
What’s up next for you? Any other show or recordings?
I’m always trying to keep grinding and furthering my career any way I can. I had an opportunity recently to embark on a tour on some different cities across the US with an organization I worked with earlier this summer – so I’ll be doing that starting December. Also, I’m planning to release an acoustic album at the beginning of December as well. I’m always looking for opportunities in ways to further my career, so I think that’s the main couple of things coming up for me.
Do you have any messages for people reading this interview who might want to check your music out?
Something I always like to close a discussion with is the fact that I’ve been blessed with some pretty awesome fans so far. They always say stuff like, “Kenny, thank you. We’re grateful for you and what you do for you do for us and for the music that you provide.” But a lot of times I don’t think that they realize that it’s the complete opposite – that I’m much more grateful to them than I think they are to me because they inspire me and they’re helping me to live my dream. I just want to thank the fans I have now and the fans I’ll gain in the future for their support.
(Interview by Ken Morton)
Kenny Holland on Facebook