Canadian singer-songwriter Kinnie Starr has been making music for nearly two decades. Known for showcasing her unique blend of folk, rap, pop, and poetry, she shares her newest offering From Far Away with fans today — a 10-song album displaying her raw and spontaneous writing. Ahead of its release, we spoke with Kinnie Starr to discuss working on a TV show, social media personalities, and her obsession with fitness. Enjoy the exclusive below:
AMBY: Hey Kinnie, welcome to our site. What have you been up to lately?
Kinnie Starr: Hi! I’m working on a TV show with a great producer. We are making a demo between now and January, and have been brainstorming concepts for two years. The show is a healthy media concept, aiming at looking at real, REAL lives; art, race, sex, media, love, health. I’m sick of unhealthy media like reality TV, and media that promotes hateful behaviour and competitive thinking. We all need more media that talks about love and truth. That’s the show we are making. I’m also working on a feminist documentary called PopPorn; this looks at how the methodologies of porn – body language, grooming, sexual stereotypes, aggression, misogyny, commodified behaviour – have entered music culture, and how those ideologies have impacted the way we make music, make media, and engage with one another. Then of course, I also just made a new album.
AMBY: You soon release your new album From Far Away, congrats! What was the experience like recording it?
Kinnie Starr: I made it at home, so it was peaceful. I kept the tracks I liked, and didn’t comp and paste passes. Left a lot of ‘the real’ in there. It feels good to engineer myself.
AMBY: What is the significance behind the album’s title From Far Away?
Kinnie Starr: Well, I’m interested in how we cultivate our personalities through social media, and what this cultivation has done to our self esteem and how we think of each other. I think we trick ourselves by bragging and posting selfie after selfie. I’m caught up in their false empire, like anyone else. From Far Away is a song about being tricked, and I think the expansion of social media culture is trickery to some extent, depending on how much we manifest falseness, which everyone does, to some degree; some do it better than others. An example of this is musicians posting crowd shots at national events where the audiences are built in. The audience is there for THE EVENT, but we promote the image as if that is OUR audience. This is a necessary part of selling the ‘dream’, but it’s false. From far away it looks dope, real up close, it’s fake.
AMBY: You continue to cross genres on this new release by spanning between folk, rap, and poetry. When it came to songwriting, who were your biggest influences or inspirations?
Kinnie Starr: Black Sabbath, De La Soul, Marianne Faithfull, TRex, Marc Bolan, Pharcyde.
AMBY: Outside of music, what do you like to do for fun?
Kinnie Starr: I’m obsessed with fitness because I’m a weakling. I’m the kid who can barely run and was underweight my whole life. So as an adult, I study bodies and try real hard to get muscle on my frame (it’s working – I’ve been boxing and kickboxing and even my mom says I look stronger). I’m also a hard core introvert. I get exhausted around people, and noise. My mom says my life path is music because it’s my biggest challenge, and that if I would have succumbed to being an introvert I would not have learned as much as I have by being on stage – my biggest fear. I also really like to swim, box, and wander around with no direction when I’m in new towns. I’ve stumbled on some amazing things by being free.
AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?
Kinnie Starr: Get outside every day, for at least an hour. And don’t take your bloody PHONE!!
AMBY: You’ve been creating music for nearly 20 years. What have been some of the highlights of your career?
Kinnie Starr: Opening for Meshell Ndegeocello. Her audience really got what I do. Literate, bohemian, primarily black, soulful audience. I’ve never played to an audience that so seamlessly ‘got’ my vice. Plus Gene Lake was her drummer, and that guy is my hero.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Kinnie Starr that nobody knows yet?
Kinnie Starr: Most people don’t know that I have a strong gift with elders, and animals. I’m gonna use that gift full time one day soon.
Thank you Kinnie Starr, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout