Kendall Elise is a gorgeous red-headed alt-country songstress from Auckland, who wears her heart on her sleeve and possesses more soul than you can handle. She has cut her musical teeth performing with local rock and soul bands The Situations and Thee Rum Coves (Baby Please is a Kendall Elise highlight!), and now is going it solo. I was lucky enough to work with Kendall this month on a special custom garment, made just for her and her performance at the APRA Golden Guitar Awards in Gore this Thursday. There’ll be more on the gorgeous garment later this week, but for now we get to learn a lil more about this doe-eyed woman; her loves and her dreams. And to top it off, enjoy her first official music video, for her award-nominated single Heart Full of Dirt, and a truly beautiful performance of If Love Is A Red Dress on bFM.
Photo by Kate Wark Photography
1) When you win the Golden Guitar for Best Country Song this weekend, what will you do FIRST to celebrate?
I would love to say if I am the lucky winner I will be pure rock and roll and go out and party ’til dawn… But the first thing I will do to celebrate is give my Mum, who is flying down to attend the awards – a huge hug and kiss. Then I would make the most of being in the heartland of NZ Country Music as a guest, at their biggest time of the year. It’s not very often you have the best of country all gathered in one place!
2) Who are your 3 most inspirational people, and why?
Joni Mitchell – For her amazing musical talent, and ability to face her personally traumatic experiences and convey them so honestly and convincingly through music.
Do I have to stop at 3?!
I also really look up to the women in my family; my Mum, Aunties and Nanas. They are all so brave, resilient, strong and bold. I often see their influence coming out in me, notice how it has helped shape myself as an individual, and I feel grateful to have such role models.
Photo/Artwork by Kate Wark Photography
Photo by Kioui Pix
3) What/where is your BIG BOLD GOAL stage; the one you swoon at the thought of playing on?
I always wanted to play a show at the St James. I started going to shows there from the age of 13 or 14, after I won tickets to a True Colours festival. Some of the best shows I have seen were there, and it’s such a shame it’s no longer able to be appreciated as a venue for all of its beauty and the talent that has graced its stage.
4) You’re a total bombshell, with great style to-boot! How do YOU describe your personal style?
Why thank you! I’m a huge lover of the vintage aesthetic and collect and wear both vintage and vintage-reproduction clothing. My personal style swings between very casual and very formal. On a casual day I lean more toward a 50’s feel with high-waisted jeans or a circle skirt with a cropped knit top or one of my collection of band t-shirts. I don’t tend stick to one era but do love anything that accentuates an hour glass figure — the Joan Holloway 1960’s wiggle silhouette works pretty well for my evening style, and full jumpsuits are another favourite of mine. One signature aspect of my style is that I will always be wearing red – in my outfit and on my lips!
Photo by Kioui Pix
5) If you could play onstage with anyone from history (past or present) who would it be?
My father Kenneth, who passed before I was born. I inherited his guitar and his taste in music before I even knew he had played. I think music has an amazing way of of transcending time, I feel a connection to my father through playing music.
6) What do you like to do in your down-time/time away from creating?
I like to go walking in nature. Last year I spent 4 days walking from Cape Reinga to Ahipara camping along the way, going down with the sun and waking up with the sun. It’s an awesome way to reset from the stress of the daily grind, and escape from technology!
Argh!! That voice though!! It’s undeniable that Kendall is a shining star, and I look forward to seeing what she gets up to next!
Up next this week is the stunning result of our design collaboration, and as it’s been a while since my last Devel Vs Project, I’ve been super excited to share this one with you! I think you’ll really love it, so stay tuned!