kenzie on TikTok, The Sims, and “Happy For Me” [Q&A]

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Today is the day that the song that has been stuck in my head on REPEAT for weeks is out. I had the absolute pleasure of hearing kenzie's "Happy For Me"  pre-release and to say I've been highly anticipating the official drop of the track is an understatement. 

"Happy For Me" carries a clear message message of hurt and heartbreak, but as you listen and pay closer attention, you begin to hear the true meaning behind the lyrics. Surrounding the thematic journey of breaking out of a place of darkness to arrive at a place in your life where you can be truly proud of yourself, Kenzie's latest single is wholly relatable and heartfelt. 

Kenzie has recently been paving her way as an enviable rising talent; leaving behind a major label to embark on the journey of making music on her own terms. "Happy For Me" is only the beginning for this young rising artist, and an exciting beginning at that. 

With an EP, the forthcoming 206, in the works and hot off the heels of a standout single, we had the chance to catch up with kenzie.

Ones to Watch: Congrats on the release of "Happy For Me!" For those who may not know, who is Kenzie?

Kenzie: That's a hard question! I grew up dancing and started at two years old. I got into music when I was about eight doing voice lessons at my dance studio and I just fell in love with it. That's when I started making music, which was terrible by the way… no one go and listen to it. I just knew it was something I wanted to pursue and now that I get to finally record my own songs and write my own songs, it's just so amazing. It's like my dream.

What message do you hope people take away from "Happy For Me?"

 I mean it's really all about self-love. When I was first writing it, it was mainly about a relationship and how I had a shitty ex and how now I'm in a happy relationship but really, I was listening back and was like this is actually about me and how I am happy for myself now. How I'm going on this self-growth and self-love journey which is amazing. I think I just want people to take away that they can relate to it and go on their self-growth journey as well.

Going off of that… when you started writing for "Happy For Me," did you realize that it was about yourself or did that the realization come later down the line? 

Yeah, I was writing it with Lenii and Bill Maybury and we were talking about what I want to write about and I was like "I just want to write about how for all these years of me dating terrible boys, I am finally in a great relationship and I want to write it about him." Of course it's about my boyfriend but if you listen to it, it is really about how I am happy for myself which is really cool because that wasn't our intention at all.

What was the writing process for the track like and how was your songwriting impacted by the pandemic?

Yeah, I wrote this song on over Zoom before I met them which is so weird and in quarantine, it's so unmotivating to write songs… like I'm sure all of the songwriters think writing on Zoom is so weird. You can't feel the energy, you can't hug everyone and can't feel entirely comfortable. It's weird getting up and just sitting in my bed writing a song… Lenii actually moved here [from Ireland] so I get to meet her and work with her all of the time which is great but every other song I wrote, I have never met these people in real life and I'm so close with them over Zoom which is so weird.

How do you deal with heartbreak and what's your best piece of advice for someone looking to move on?

 My last relationship I was in… it was super hard for me. We broke up, but I got over it really fast because I was constantly hanging with my girlfriends. I wasn't just laying in bed because that's something you should never do when you're going through a heartbreak. I was just trying to be as social as I can be (this was right before the pandemic hit.. thank god). I was just like, I know I can't sit in my bed and it just made everything great. It helped having my friends come over and cheer me up and do normal things. I would just say try to be as social as you can and don't sit in your bed because that's when you overthink.

Can we expect more music soon?

I'm actually working on an EP right now and a lot of other music that I'm so excited for. I actually just played my music for my sister yesterday, which was so weird because I've been making music for a long time. She was like "why have I not heard any of your music before it comes out?" I played her everything and whenever she gets excited about something it makes me so much more excited because I know she loves it. I just trust her with everything and she loves it all and that makes me so happy… like I have gotten the best response from my friends, my sister, and my mom. It means so much.

How does being so big on TikTok and being in the public eye affect your music and overall self?

I'm obviously so grateful for everything I have like I would not be able to make music or everything that I'm doing now without a platform but I think for everyone - even if you don't have a lot of followers, social media can be so draining. I've had to take so many breaks off of Instagram and TikTok because everyone is so mean. I can't just let these people walk all over me, I need to just shut it out because I will and I do read everything. So I think a lot of my music is not like hatred towards social media but it is just like… I feel like I always have to look so perfect on social media and that's toxic. I should just be posting whatever I want. I think on TikTok it is way more acceptable to not wear makeup and be weird, and that's why I love TikTok. You can make the funniest videos and everyone's like wow you're funny.

What other things are you doing outside of music?

My sister and I are doing a podcast which is so exciting. We have always wanted to do this and so many people were asking for it. We have the funniest humor together and we're so weird. We can talk for hours on hours so we decided to make one but it's called Take 20, so it's only 20 minutes of your day and we kind of just talk about important topics, like having struggles with mental health, relationships, or having a sister, what it's like. We just wanted it to be very relatable and not scripted, not anything! We just sit together and talk for hours and everyone is like, okay time to stop talking!

What's one thing people don't know about you?

I feel like I'm very transparent on social media. I feel like everyone knows everything about me but I don't know if this is something everyone know about me, I love video games. I will sit in my room for hours with my boyfriend and we will play games together. I am the biggest game nerd.

What's your go-to game right now?

I love to play The Sims, that is my game. And my boyfriend always makes fun of me and is like… what do you even do and I'm like "I'm building a family." And also, my boyfriend and I used to play Among Us, which was a huge game but now we play Roblox… he will probably kill me for telling people this because he's so embarrassed that he plays it.

If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would it be?

Ok well… Justin Bieber. I feel like he was everyone's crush when they were younger and I still love him. I remember crying at one of his concerts because he didn't pick me to be his one less lonely girl… I was literally eight. Another one would be Billie Eilish because I look up to her so much and she's so talented.

Who are your Ones to Watch?

I've really been loving Steve Lacy recently, I think he's so cool and different than everyone else. I think he also records everything on his iPhone which is so interesting! I also just love SZA, I know she's more mainstream but I’ve been loving her recently.

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