Singer, songwriter Kenny Foster spent a long time finding his creative voice, and taking the road less traveled. Now, there's no stopping him. His debut album 'Deep Cuts' was critically acclaimed he's been named as one of Rolling Stone's 'Country Artists You Need To Know', making Kenny one of Nashville's most exciting artists.
PG: WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU WANTED TO BE A SONGWRITER?
KF: I couldn't tell you. Honestly, I just found myself connecting with musical artists in a way that I didn't with anyone else in my life. They put forth their philosophies through their art, and I took it in and analyzed it. The ones that made me feel something stuck around. The ones that looked at life like me were the ones I gravitated towards for my inspiration. I had a record for every mood. I think at some point it occurred to me that to take up residence in someone's life through music was a highly impactful role to have. I guess I wanted to pay it forward and add to the lectionary, so to speak, of the ones who went before.
PG: ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT? - NEW ALBUM OR ANY OTHER PROJECTS?
KF: As it stands, I've been writing a lot with my artist friends to see if I can lend my voice to their story. That's been a great honor to me, and a lot of fun to boot. The Young Fables and I penned a tune that happens to be their first single, and their video premier is coming up in a week or so. I'm excited to see how that turned out. My wife has a television show idea that she's in the process of pitching that could have me playing a role as host, so this summer will be busy with that prospect/pilot as well. As for my own records, I've got more than enough material for several more albums at this point. I just need to figure out what needs to be said. Every new song I write gets better, or gets closer to the core, but Deep Cuts was so inspired that I want to feel the same sort of conviction for a record before we go in to finalize my thoughts in record form. It's an undertaking, and I want to make sure it's right before we jump back in again.
PG: YOU'VE BEEN ON QUITE A JOURNEY FROM MISSOURI TO NASHVILLE
WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU'VE LEARNT ON THE WAY?
KF: There's no substitute for time.
PG: I WAS READING YOUR BIO ON YOUR WEBSITE, IT'S A VERY THOUGHTFUL AND MATURE WAY OF LOOKING AT LIFE, ARE YOU A BIT OF A PHILOSOPHER AT HEART THEN?
KF: I majored in Philosophy and American Culture in university but I think I've always been a deep well, so to speak. My mom used to say I was 30 when I was 13. I wrestled with difficult subjects at a pretty early age, and always wanted to know more about everything. Theorizing, life hacking, improving upon current systems, these were all the nerdy things I liked to do. I guess ultimately I thought that philosophizing about our time here was the ultimate end goal for me, as in, it would serve me best when all is said and done. We all have to deal with it at some point. I guess I just wanted to get a head start.
PG: YOUR FIRST ALBUM DEEP CUTS WAS 14 YEARS IN THE MAKING, HOW DID IT FEEL TO FINALLY GET IT MADE?
KF: Transcendent. I knew it would be good. I knew the process would be so fulfilling. But I really had no idea the depths of it for myself. You just blindly wander through this world, and making the decision to stand up and make a personal statement to be scrutinized, picked apart, or ignored, is a difficult one. I was glad to have reached a point that, no matter what was said, I knew it to be intrinsically good. At its core, I knew the record would be what I wanted to say and knew that my producer, Mitch Dane, was the person whom I trusted most to help me say it. But in Mitch and I's first listens back after we got everything cut I was so overwhelmingly moved. The players that brought their talent to my songs was just something I can't explain. It wasn't just my statement, and I wasn't alone in it. I had everyone involved on my side. I was just overwhelmingly grateful to everyone and everything that went into making it.
PG: WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST AND WORST THING ABOUT YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
KF: I think the best is yet to come. Though playing the team dinner for Tottenham Hotspur when they came through Nashville last summer was a moment I will never, ever forget. It could not have gone better. A special, special evening for me personally. The worst thing has been how much I've beaten myself up waiting for my career to get off the ground. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't sitting idly by to see if it would happen, I've been actively working towards it and the amount of time it has taken to see the fruits of that labor was full of self doubt. As a philosopher and an analyst, it's easy to borrow people's ideas about myself when I'm unsure of myself in the process. I wish I could have enjoyed some of the build up a bit more.
PG: ON YOUR JOURNEY YOU ALSO MET YOUR WIFE, IS SHE MUSICAL TOO?
KF: She is, though she doesn't partake in a professional capacity any longer. When she was at university, she did a short run of shows opening for a band called Sixpence None the Richer at several schools. Now she's an expert shower singer, a great lyrical sounding board, and my muse. So yes, she's highly musical. She dances through life.
PG: WHAT IS THE SONG THAT SPEAKS TO YOU THE MOST?
KF: Ever?!? Come on. Highly unfair question. Right now: there's a song by Andy Gullahorn that destroys me in every way "If You Want to Love Someone" - It's the most authentic love song I've heard in a very long time.
PG: WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
KF: James Taylor, John Mayer, Garth Brooks, Counting Crows, Dashboard Confessional, Brad Paisley.
PG: THIS IS YOUR SECOND TIME IN THE UK, HOW DO UK AUDIENCES DIFFER FROM AMERICAN ONES?
KF: I think you all have a propensity to listen well. I don't know if its an intrinsically cultural difference, or what it can be attributed to, but when y'all listen to music, you really LISTEN. Discerningly, intently, fully. It can freak some folks out at first, but over here, a guy with a guitar is just as welcome as a full band spectacle. As if the experience can be just as good/meaningful. It isn't a sliding scale of production elements. Louder doesn't necessarily mean better. The audience is comprised of the same folks, same intentionality regardless of the scenario. I personally love it. It feels more like a conversation than a performance.
PG: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING WHEN YOU ARE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
KF: I love traveling, playing video games of any kind, playing soccer (football), watching Spurs, having good conversations with friends, and simplifying my life.
PG: WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION TO WRITE YOUR SONGS?
KF: Everywhere. It's all around us. Life is a great teacher. Listen closely, and she'll reveal everything in time.
PG: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANY OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE WHO THINK OF GIVING IT ALL UP?
KF: Go ahead. If you can live without it, you should. It's going to ask so much of you that the only path to success is knowing that you can't not do it. I gave it up several times down through the years, and yet, here we are. But if the thought of ending your pursuit of it, that living outside of the bounds of creation and tension, despair and delight, sharing and hiding away is one that you cannot shake, that you feel inexplicably called to: then shine on you crazy diamond. Let the doubts fall to rest. Use the energy you spend formulating your exit and reappropriate it into the inevitable success of your pursuit. If the birds and the flowers survive, then you'll make it okay. Just keep falling forward.
PG: ANY REGRETS?
KF: Of course. But I write my way out of them every day. Writing helps.