Interview: Kendra Erika Breaks Down Her Process
The "Pure Love" singer sat down for an exclusive interview with Popdust
Kendra Erika describes her new hit track "Pure Love" as "the bonafide cruise control song."
"It's excellent for a spontaneous drive," Kendra explained to Popdust, who premiered the track back in April. "'Pure Love' is for anyone that is looking for something smooth to listen to and vibe on. It sets a real nice tone, and puts you in a state of fluidity to start the day or unwind at night."
The singer stopped by Popdust for a candid interview on her rise to stardom and touched on her background, her next moves, and finding happiness.
How did you get into music, and where has your musical journey taken you so far?
I started at a young age with a deep yearning to get into music. It just felt impactful and inspiring to utilize my voice and to send a message, so I got involved with my school theater. From then on I started performing in local Floriday lounges and restaurants singing covers, and I really wanted to explore my own artistry and how to make my own music. I got into writing and recording with some people in Miami and then just from there every person I met was just like a door, to a window, to a door, to another window. Now I'm working with Damon Sharpe and Mark Mangold, and all these guys.
How did you specifically connect with your producers like Ned Cameron and Damon Sharpe? What did they bring to the table creatively when making "Pure Love?"
I got introduced to Damon Sharpe by my Billboard dance promoter. He took me from my artist development firm and asked me to write with some of his writers in Los Angeles. So I went out there, and from there we recorded "Oasis," and that process alone spoke volumes to me. The chemistry was profound. It really helped generate more hits *laughs*. Then I just started working with other people, and even during the pandemic, I was still able to do what I needed to do virtually. I feel good about what's to come.
What's next for you this year now that things are starting to open up? How are you planning to move forward?
I been collaborating with a good friend of mine in Pittsburg, and we wrote a song called "Rapture" together. The title alone just speaks rage, so I wanted to amp up the fire aspect of my hair color *laughs* That's just for visual aesthetics. This one is...wow. I'll just let it speak for itself when it comes out, but I'm gearing up to shoot the music video for this next week and that will be released in about July or August. I have another song releasing on the 21st of this month called "Gemini" and we're releasing right at the start of the Gemini season. It's just a groovy, bouncy, playful track, kinda touching on both sides to Gemini. It's the sequel for Parent Trap *laughs*.
Kendra Erika - Pure Love (Official Lyric Video)www.youtube.com
Is this part of a bigger album?
I'll be releasing an album early next year, but for where we're at I'm just putting singles out. Touring has stopped, so the game is being shifted and strategies are adapting more. You can't really release an album cause that's what you tour on, so we're just making sure that we're still active, and showing the fans that we're still doing stuff. When the world opens back up, the album will drop.
What have you been doing to keep your fans engaged?
Social media is a big component to that. Instagram, TikTok's... I've done a lot of live streams. I've done a weekly live stream on either Tuesdays or Fridays. Before the pandemic, I had residencies here in South Florida and those kind of came to a big permanent pause. So to fill that void, I started doing live streams just to keep the instrument going and keep the fans engaged.
Tell me about "Pure Love." How did it come about, and what does it mean to experience pure love?
If it's not on anyone's "Cruise Control" Spotify playlist I urge them to put that on now, not just for me but for your overall self. You'll feel really good. It was written by Mark Mangold, and I recorded it a few months before everything shut down. He presented this track to me and I was singing on top of it to see if it would be good, and my God, it just fit like a glove. It was made for my voice.
How did you discover Oystershell Music? What do you see this label becoming that's different than labels of the past?
I value my independence as much as possible, so that's why I created Oystershell Music, cause my music is an aphrodisiac *laughs*. It just came together, because being an independent artist is the name of the game now. It's the way of the future. I'm a big advocate for having that freedom, of not being told what to say, how to look, or to conform to a cookie-cutter industry-standard kind of mold. I stand for independence for the freedom of creativity.
What kind of freedom has having your own label given you?
It's not like I've been barricaded into anything before, but after hearing other horror stories from artists about how they signed to labels and had their authentic self stripped from them, I kinda just realized, "I don't wanna have that happen to me." So the universe presented me with an opportunity to take preventative measures and maintain that artistic freedom. I've been able to just be happy while going through this process. That's the number one thing, you need to be happy. Why destroy yourself in the process?