An Interview With The LA-Based Alt Singer-Songwriter, KEMME, On Her Legendary Uncle Tom Petty, Her Newest Music and More!
Posted On 19 Apr 2018
Meet the LA-based alternative singer-songwriter KEMME, whose uncle was the late, great rock icon Tom Petty. Despite that musical link, she doesn’t feel the pressure to follow so directly in his footsteps and has instead crafted her own unique path, thus laying the foundation of her very own legacy.
Her debut single “Poof,” which Galore magazine calls “sonic liquid latex” that “drags you into the upside down where you are captive to Kemme’s ruthless appetite,” is a testament to her strengths as both a storyteller and vocalist. “Poof” anchors her debut EP, expected in early June.
Listen to “Poof” via Spotify here.
Kemme is an artist pushing and blending the lines of medium, identity, and genre; and her timing couldn’t be better. Her relationship to her uncle, the late Tom Petty, has informed her passion for songwriting and authenticity in entertainment from an early age. After graduating from NYU with a degree in Music in Film, Kemme returned to her hometown in Los Angeles to apply her newly gained passion for film, storytelling, and progressive culture to the commercial music scene in which she grew up. What resulted was a visual EP titled, “My First Great Movie.”
Kemme has had a long standing relationship with the music industry and progressive culture. Prior to scoring and music supervising multiple shorts that won viewers’ hearts at Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, she worked along side world renowned music supervisor, Randall Poster. Her experience with film and film music inspires Kemme’s highly unique and thoughtful mode of storytelling and producing, resulting in impassioned pop music that could appeal to any type of listener. Plus, the music is just damn good.
Learn more about Kemme in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I just finished recording a doo wop song and after I finish this interview, I’m going to watch Famous in Love with my friend who just moved back from New York.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was the beginning of it all where I did nothing but work so that I would have heaps of content to release in 2018. A big goal for 2018 will be to have successful and timely releases for all of the things I’ve been working on surrounding “My First Great Movie,” but more importantly to continue to work and create after the releases.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would?
I never imagined it any other way.
I have to ask what were some of your first musical memories with your uncle? Were you always able to appreciate his music and the kind of songwriter he was?
When I was younger, I thought pop punk was the pinnacle of music genius, so anything that lied outside of that I kind of took for granted. But obviously, as you grow so does your taste. I’ve always loved “Free Fallin’,” though.
How big of an influence was he on your career?
Having had Tom in my life, I feel compelled to avoid any type of bullshit or phoniness in my work and those with whom I choose to work.
I am curious to know how your past experience with film music has changed the kind of musician that you are today?
I think the biggest influence comes from my thesis paper I wrote as a senior at NYU where I explored how music is really the primary element that affects viewers on a personal and emotional level when watching film. So for my EP, “My First Great Movie,” I wanted to create that same type of music, but one that can exist without an image. In general, though, I think my interest in film music has really compelled me to create and embody a world in each of the songs I write and record, just as film does.
Let’s talk about your debut single, “Poof.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it prepares listeners for more music from you?
It’s kind of a fucked up track to start with because it’s jarring and off-putting and not necessarily the music that I usually make. However, I did start with it because it’s a really strong introduction to anyone: where the listener hears you for the first time and you’re telling them you’re coming to get them. It’s the first track off my EP that follows a girl falling in and out of love and so the story starts before she totally loses herself, where she’s this femme fatale character in complete control of her surroundings and destiny. That’s what “Poof” is.
When do you hope to release more music and an EP or full-length album of new songs?
I’m released my second single, “Too Deep,” on April 13th. The accompanying EP will be released early June. After that, I’ll probably just release an eclectic collection of singles over the course of a year or so.
Do you have any upcoming live shows you would like to tell our readers about?
No upcoming shows, yet! I’m still in the process of putting a band together and such.
Where do you find that you sing the most these days, in the shower, in the car, in the studio or elsewhere?
I’m HUGE on singing in the car, that’s where I think of most of my lyrics, too.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
There’s so much to write about right now, although I can’t imagine I’d ever write something super politically charged on purpose. I’m at least grateful, though, to be in a field and live in an environment where I can express myself when I need to. I think under the Trump-regime, artists are going to push the line of what can and can’t be said or done because there’s so much working to censor them.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I’ve always been a die-hard Bon Iver fan (or anything Justin Vernon); his lyrics, melodies, instrumentations are pretty much as good as it gets to me. But I’m also super inspired by primarily contemporary artists like James Blake, St Vincent, Portishead, Nicki Minaj, FKA Twigs, Feist, Massive Attack, Erykah Badu. I’d love to work with a rapper like Young Thug or YG.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
If people feel enlightened or moved in anyway, I’ve done my job.