Talent on Tap – Kendra Kay is Winding Up For Her Wild Tour

Kendra Kay is putting Canadian Country music back on top of the charts! Her latest release, Wild, took off January 28th and I expect it to climb to the top at barrel racing speed. Kendra’s vocals are warm velvet with high energy that sing about an unabashed connection with your partner, celebrating your connection, your magic and bringing it to the next level for the sake of loving Wild. It will remind you why you fell in love with country and why you’re still in love with the one you call babe. Wild is as good as country gets and Kendra’s signature traditional country sound is layered throughout. It was co-written by country superstar Carly Pearce, Jeff Pardo and Molly Reed, and produced by Murray Pulver and Bart McKay. Kendra has an entire album of new music ready to release later this year. She says it’s different from her other music and she is incredibly anxious to share it on her upcoming tour. 

There’s a good reason Kendra Kay is a 5 X MCMA Award winner and this year promises to allow more live concerts and more grateful fans. The tour starts Feb. 5th  in Regina, as Kendra Kay opens up for Dean Brody at the Brandt Centre as part of the city -wide FROST events. After Regina, Kendra will tour Alberta, Sask., Manitoba and Ontario this spring. She and her band will be performing at Toronto’s famed El Mocambo where she’ll be headlining.        

Kendra Kay was my recent guest and I felt very privileged to speak with her about this amazing song. Every time I listen to it, the volume goes a little bit higher. She is incredibly excited to go back on tour with her band and it was written all over her like lyrics to a love song. Roll the tape! 


HNMAG “This new song, Wild is absolutely incredible. It was co-written by country superstar Carly Pearce, Jeff Pardo and Molly Reed. How did you find this song and make it your own?” 

KENDRA “The song was pitched to me from someone I was working with, Cassidy Peterson. She was doing some song searching for me and had brought this one to the table. I fell in love with it and I’m a huge Carly Pearce fan, so the connection was very intriguing for me. I love her style of writing and music; it was definitely an easy sell for me.”


HNMAG “At which form would you have received the track? Would it be, just lyrics or lyrics with music?”

KENDRA “They’ll send a full demo over, so it’s a scaled down production version of the song. It’s the songwriter’s way of showing how they envision the song with the melodies and the flow but when you take it into the studio, you can change it and make it your own. They always send direction along with the demo that might tell you it’s just an acoustic and a vocal, but then there’s the more established publishing companies and artists; they’ll usually provide a more fuller sounding demo with drums, guitars and often synthesizers – to cut costs, instead of hiring a full band.”


HNMAG “Are you still with the same band from the last time we spoke?”

KENDRA “Yes, we were together last night, rehearsing for a show coming up. They’re still the same group of guys and we have a lot of new stuff we’re rolling out in early 2022. It’s great because we didn’t have much last year, but were still lucky to have had a lot of performances last summer in comparison to many other artists out here. To see so much rolling in this early this year is great because we had to wait until summer, last year. With the spring filling up, it keeps me very optimistic for the rest of the year.”


HNMAG “How good does it feel to be booking much more performances this year?”

KENDRA “It feels wonderful. I have so much new music ready to go. I really can’t wait to get it out into the world. It’s all starting with the new single, Wild and I’m opening up for Brody in February, which I’m super excited for. From there, things really take off and I’m busy. For any artist, staying busy means that you’re doing something right, so I’m excited for what’s to come.”


HNMAG “When did you start the process of putting the new song, Wild together?”

KENDRA “I started putting the song together in the spring of last year when things were starting to open up slightly. I recorded the song with Murray Pulver in Winnipeg. He co-produced it with Bart McKay out of Saskatoon. They usually work closely together but there were travel restrictions, so it was a slower process. Murray played most of the guitars, put them on tracks, then sent it to Bart who put keys on it. He then sent it off for the drums and bass at their home studio and pieced it together. It’s a slower process when you’re doing it remotely, so we were lucky to do that. It was a good time to get it done. It’s so hard to promote new music when you’re not on the road. I’ve been sitting on so much new music and now that we have all these shows coming up, it’s a great time to share it – starting with WILD.”     


HNMAG “Do you see most age groups relating to these lyrics?”

KENDRA “I think so. It’s more of an intimate song but even young love will be able to appreciate it. It’s about your first love and falling hard, which I think people will be able to relate to. For people that have been in relationships for many years, they’ll be able to go back in time, where they finally gave in to the person they were with. In that sense, I think it’s a pretty open-ended song that many people will be able to relate to.” 

HNMAG “This song doesn’t get released till January 28th, but have you had the opportunity to play it in front of a live crowd for any feedback?”

KENDRA “Yes, I actually played this song live in London at the CCMA’s (Canadian Country Music Awards). I was part of their annual after party-mixer and the band and I were performing a bunch of new music in front of the CCMA crowd. A lot of industry people got to hear it first hand. I also performed it at a few of the more intimate showcase events that I had around the CCMA and it was so cool to see people’s reactions. It’s been a while since I’ve had a radio single and this is the first big radio push in a long time. People are really responding well to the music I have ready to go and I’m excited to see what everyone thinks about it and how the fans react, how the radio listeners react.”     


HNMAG “You’re opening for Dean Brody in Regina at the Brandt Center. Are you also going to be touring with him?”

KENDRA “He’s not on tour, so it’s a one-off show that he’s performing. The bookers invited us and although I grew up in Manitoba, I only lived 10 minutes from the Saskatchewan border. Regina was one of our bigger, closer centres we would perform at. It was only a 2-hour drive, so I was there a lot. I have fond memories of the arena we’re performing at because they always had the Agribition there every year and my family’s very involved in livestock. I’m super excited to be performing at a place where I grew up going to often.”


HNMAG “You’re also going to be performing in Toronto at the El Mocambo, which has hosted acts like the Rolling Stones and U2. How does it feel to perform at a famed venue like El Mocambo?”

KENDRA “I’m so excited for that show. We have several other dates we’re doing out in Ontario and for a band to break into the East, especially in Toronto is very cool.”


HNMAG “After your band opens for Dean Brody, where do you go next?”

KENDRA “We had some shows booked in February, but they’ve recently been postponed due to new Covid restrictions. We’ll be heading out to Ontario through March, then to Alberta and back to Manitoba for a run of dates. It’ll be great to hit Ont., Alberta, Sask. and Manitoba all in the spring, then leading into the summer festival season. A nice busy year on the road.”


HNMAG “There’s a lot of country music fans in BC too. Do you have any BC dates you can mention?”

KENDRA “I definitely want to go back to BC for some dates. I was there for Funfest in Victoria in 2019 and played at the Roxy and a few other venues, the year before that. I have been to BC a couple of times, so we’re hoping to come back real soon. We’ll see what rolls in for the rest of my dates.”


HNMAG “I know that you also did some barrel racing last year. Do you have any competitions planned for this year?” 

KENDRA “Yes, definitely. Out here they call them slot races and there’s only a limited number of slots available. Instead of a full rodeo, it’s strictly barrel racing. I have my name in a few of those this year, so that will be exciting. It’s always fun for me and as long as they don’t fall on a weekend I have a show, I can almost guarantee that I’ll be off barrel racing somewhere.”


HNMAG “I’ve been to a few rodeos and barrel racing has a measure of injury. Do you ever worry about getting hurt and having to postpone a concert?”

KENDRA “I believe there’s a slightly higher risk of getting hurt on a horse than getting into a car accident, but even when I wasn’t barrel racing, I had a show booked at the Red River Exhibition (large fair) and the day before, I got bucked off a young horse. I think I might’ve had a concussion but didn’t get it checked out. I was a little sore but still did the show and you wouldn’t have known it. During the show, the pain went away, so the show must go on, even if I’m in a cast or arm sling, I’ll still perform.”


HNMAG “I think the crowds at the concerts could be larger this year because of the long wait for live performances. Do you ever get nervous in front of a big crowd?”

KENDRA “I’ve never really felt that way. When I was younger and performing in ElkHorn at the fairgrounds/rodeo I may have had a bit of the jitters. However, after having a year off and performing at the Calgary Stampede and being on that stage, it reaffirmed that this is exactly what I want to do and it felt like no time had been missed. I hope the crowd is packed and I hope they have high expectations because I’m going to bring them my all.”

HNMAG “Is there a big difference between Canadian country music and American country music?”

KENDRA “A lot of the mainstream country music is the same because we play so much of it on our radio stations here. I do think there’s a different market in the US that Canada doesn’t have. They have a lot of acts that aren’t necessarily household names but they’re huge touring musicians that’ll play that outlaw or folky Americana type stuff. That’s a huge market in the US that supports that but we don’t really have that in Canada. As far as mainstream country music on radio, I personally think they’re hand in hand.”


HNMAG “What are you looking forward to the most this year with more shows?”              

KENDRA “I think just playing. Putting new music out is also exciting.”


HNMAG “Do you and the band have a little ritual that you do before stepping out onto the stage?”

KENDRA “Nothing set in stone but the guys and I will do a fist bump and tell each other to have a good show and kill it. We don’t get into a huddle and pray or do a little speech though, it’s mostly telling each other to have a good show and to kill it out there.”


HNMAG “Many bands will sometimes have their drummer or guitar player perform a solo. Do your performances sometimes include solos?”

KENDRA “We do try and make our shows unique and something that sets me apart from other female artists in the industry, is that I always have my fiddle player on stage with me. Many times, we’ll let him take the reins and fiddle out. One of the songs that’s always a crowd pleaser in our set, is Devil Went Down to Georgia. A lot of female artists wouldn’t pull that song off and there’s a lot of bands that wouldn’t do that song because there’s rarely any fiddles in bands anymore, because of the way country music has changed. I love incorporating that sound into my music and he’s incredible. Both he and my acoustic guitar player, Mike and Troy have been through it all with me. With songs that don’t have fiddle in it, together they’ll write pieces for it. When there’s an acoustic set/solo, Mike will turn it into a fiddle solo to fill the air. We do a lot of that and I think it really sets us apart from other bands, as well as amplifies the type of music I’m making.”


HNMAG “How long of a concert can the crowd anticipate?”

KENDRA “For the show that I have coming up, it’s an hour but after that it will all be different. Sometimes they’ll ask for 2 sets with two 45-minute sets and a break in between or a 75-minute set. We’ll change our show based on what the venue wants and how they want the night to flow. We’re pretty easy and we’ll have a list of different sets for different shows that we do. This year we have a brand-new set we’ve been working on with all new music that’s completely different from anything we’ve done before. For anyone that’s been following me for the last few years, it’s going to be exciting to hear the new stuff.”


HNMAG “Cowboy hat or no cowboy hat”

KENDRA “I don’t wear a cowboy hat on stage. I like big hair, so I usually have big curls. I move around a lot on stage, so I think it would fall off anyway.”


HNMAG “If you could tour with anybody in the world, who would it be?”

KENDRA “If I could pick anyone in the world, it would be George Strait. Even though he’s not touring anymore, that would be my pick for country music. His crowd would be the same people I would want to hear my music. I grew up with that type of storytelling in music and it’s what I love.”


HNMAG “What’s your favourite meal to enjoy?”

KENDRA “I’m a good ole farm girl at heart, so steak and potatoes is probably my favourite (laughing).”


HNMAG “What would you consider your biggest fear?”

KENDRA “Letting down the people I’m closest with.”


Kendra Kay is Canadian gold and her music should be all over country radio very soon, like yesterday soon. She and her band are just incredible and you really need to hear them to appreciate them. When you give it a listen, you’ll be hooked and want to thank someone… so, you’re welcome!


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