Bre Kennedy is a name that isn't afraid to get up close and vulnerable with her words. She knows where she's been and where she's going, now she's doing what she does best and owning her truth. Kennedy's new album ‘Scream Over Everything’ is out now, after much anticipation from her fans. Featuring songs she's written over five years ago, to recently recorded hits, ‘Scream Over Everything’ encapsulates the essence of time as a twenty something navigating through life.
At the beginning of the writing process, Kennedy had no idea what she wanted to say. Everything around her was so loud, she barely understood what she was feeling. “I didn't know what I wanted to say. I just knew I wanted all of the things that were inside of me and changing, to scream over everything.” After acknowledging that, putting words to the growth over the past few years came easy to Kennedy.
‘Scream Over Everything’ is Bre Kennedy 2.0's debut. The Bre Kennedy that acknowledges heartbreak is a part of life yet still makes room for healing. The Bre Kennedy that finally caught up with herself after so many years of trying to be perfect. The Bre Kennedy that, despite cruising through her 20's is still experiencing those coming of age moments that inspire growth.
Growing up in California with a Blues and Rock musician for a father, Kennedy grew listening to strong, belting women like Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, and Bonnie Raitt, who would one day inspire Kennedy to let her words take control and literally scream over everything.
Photo by Hannah Hall
Now, Kennedy talks with Teen Magazine about the inspiration behind the album, and using music to connect with people.
Marissa Courtney: I know you have one particular song called 'Ahead of Myself',' but I feel like the entire album explores the theme of getting ahead of yourself and taking the time to slow down, catch up with yourself and just navigate through life. Where did that concept come from?
Bre Kennedy: You hit the nail on the head, that is what so much of the record is about. ‘Ahead of Myself’ was created when I thought to myself, ‘I have so many heartfelt songs, and I just want to write a banger. We need a fast paced song. I went in and I said, ‘I feel like I get ahead of myself in trying to get ahead of myself’.
I'm not quite where I want to be yet, and I get ahead of myself in future projecting. It keeps me from being present in the now. I want to be the best version I can for myself, my friends and future partner, but sometimes I spend too much time doing that instead of appreciating the moments in the present.
MC: I also noticed a theme of coming of age and adolescence within your songs on the album and songwriting as a whole. How have your experiences growing up impacted or inspired your songwriting and lyrics today?
BK: I grew up with a single dad and younger brother and sister, and it was very much like moving around a lot. My dad was a really young dad, so it was a lot of witnessing my parent grow up too. I like to write a lot about having grace for ourselves because I had a lot of grace for my parental figure growing up.
I grew up in California too, so I was around a lot of music. I think because I had to grow up really fast, I've always asked myself these questions about how to be the best version of myself. A lot of my lyrics are about real life stuff - some people in my family struggle with addiction and depression - and I just wanted to write about the beauty and mess of growing up.
MC: Growing up in California, and being surrounded by music, did that have anything to do with your love for it?
BK: Yeah, definitely. There were girls in my school that were auditioning for Radio Disney and Disney channel. And I was just like, whoa, this is crazy.
I remember how it all started, I was in the bathroom at my middle school, and I was singing and this girl was like, 'oh my gosh, I love your voice. You should audition for this showcase in Hollywood'. And I remember I went home and I was like, dad I have to go audition for this thing and I did and I ended up meeting my manager at the time.
MC: So going back to your album, ‘The Vase’, first of all, I love that song. It's very metaphorical. I love the concept behind it.
What experience influenced that song? And what was the creative process behind it?
BK: 'The Vase' is a special one to me, because I wrote ‘The Vase’ like six years ago. I always knew I wanted to put it out, but I was like, it’s not the right time yet. I wrote the song about perfectionism and how it's the killer of self.
The should haves and the could haves keep us from growing and growing is messy, but it's supposed to be messy. I remember telling my friends I never realized I was in a garden because I wanted so badly to fit in a vase. That is how we wrote the song from the perspective of a flower that's been picked from the garden and is in the windowsill watching the rest of his friends grow. He just tries to sit there perfectly, you know? I think as artists - and honestly, anybody, all of us - the idea of perfection that we see curated online, it's just not real. Humans are real and human is messy, and that's beautiful.
MC: What does that phrase "I didn’t realize I was in a garden because I wanted so badly to fit in a vase", mean to you?
BK: I heard the phrase, ‘Gild the Lily,' which is a southern phrase. To gild the lily is to like cover something that is already naturally beautiful, in gold. I remember loving that phrase and asking what it meant?
And my friend told me, and I said, ‘Why would you put gold on a lily?’ Like it's already so beautiful and it [gold] stops the flower from growing. It just brought on the conversation of, I sometimes go into bouts of trying to be perfect and there is no such thing. I can only be who I am and I can only be the wildflower that I am, and that's beautiful, and I want to celebrate all the wildness and things that I might call flaws, I just want those to keep growing.
Photo by Hannah Hall
MC: Another song from the album that I want to talk about is 'Navigating'. It gives me the vibes of a coming of age movie. That carefree, I want to go where the wind takes me kind of song. Where did the concept for that song come from?
BK: I wrote that one in January of last year. It was at the very beginning of the writing process for ‘Scream Over Everything’. That one is special to me because it's inspired by my little brother - he's my favorite person ever.
He called me and he was having a really hard day, and he asked me ‘How are you so happy all the time? How do you do it? How are you so perfect?' And I was like ‘Dude, I just finished my morning cry. I'm just navigating in real time, just like you. Some days are better than others. And some days look like laying in bed with ice cream. And some days look like showing up for myself even if it's hard, you know?' That conversation with my brother inspired me. So I went in the studio with my producer and my friend, Emily Hackett, and I told them what I told my brother, you know, we're all just navigating. We came up with the idea of sitting in the car with your fear and saying ‘Hey, I got this, I’m the driver and I'm gonna take it from here.'
MC: Do you feel as though this album represents a path - lyrically and musically - you want to take from now on? Or do you feel like you're still growing and experimenting?
BK: I think I'm still growing and experimenting. ‘Scream Over Everything’ is definitely where I feel I'm at right now. I can't wait to see what being playful and allowing myself to explore does for the next album.
MC: So you're kind of using music to express what you're feeling in the now. You're always experimenting because what your feeling is always changing.
BK: Definitely, I get to create these time capsules. I feel like when I'm singing I can find the words that are hard to say out loud. Writing songs helps me express the things that I don't know how to put in words.
It helps me dig deeper into my subconscious. Anytime we share our stories on a micro level we find that even though our stories seem very different, they're all very similar. It makes me feel less alone when I share something with somebody through a song. It makes people feel seen in someway.
Photo by Hannah Hall
Keep Up With Bre
To Keep up to date with Bre, be sure to follow @iambrekennedy on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. You can listen to her discography - including Scream Over Everything - on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music.