Kendra Springer is a rising star on the solo piano front. Her first album, Hope, was released in 2009 and was very well-received. She released her second album, Faith, very recently, and I just love it. Like her music, Kendra is very warm and upbeat, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her a little better! In this interview, we talk about her music and her background. Enjoy!
KP: Congratulations on your wonderful new album, Faith! How is it doing so far?
KS: Thank you, Kathy! It's going well. I've been excited to share this album with my fans, as I feel it's much more personal than the last one because all the songs are original (Hope is about half original and half covers/arrangements). I've also grown a lot both as a musician and a person, and feel I have more to offer my listeners.
Your first album was Hope (2009), so is the next one going to be Love or Charity? Or are you going to surprise us?
Click the album covers to read Kathy's reviews.
KS: You guessed it! The next album is called Love and I've already written the first song for it. I'm hoping that it won't be three years between albums this time.
KP: How would you describe Faith?
KS: Faith would probably most accurately be described as my musical journal. One of my listeners wrote and said that they were surprised that not all the songs were “happy” given the title. However I feel that faith is a journey, a way of looking at life, a choice we make each day - more poignantly in the difficulties of life than the high points.
KP: I completely agree with that. Faith doesn’t guarantee that only good things will happen in life or that you’ll always be upbeat and smiling.
Fellow pianist/composer and Whisperings artist Michael Logozar produced Faith. How did you team up with him?
Michael and I met at a Whisperings concert last November that Michael was hosting. At the time, I had begun to record the first few songs for Faith on my keyboard as I had done for my first album. However David Nevue, founder of Whisperings, strongly encouraged me to record on an acoustic piano and to invest in the album to make it as good as possible. I'm grateful that he did.
Michael was finishing his recording for Time, his second album, and I learned that he had experience as a producer. I was impressed by his passion for musical excellence and his technical chops. We worked well together, and his polish and attention to detail added greatly to both my confidence in the album and the final outcome. He ended up producing, mixing and mastering the whole album.
Recording with Michael Logozar.
KP: I love Michael’s music, too. Time is one of my favorite albums of the year so far.
From what I’ve read, you’re mostly self-taught. Have you had any formal training?
KS: None on piano, but I did take two years of violin lessons when I was 8. Yet, I hardly feel it's fair to say I'm self taught - self-motivated perhaps, but I've been privileged to take advantage of a lot of fantastic resources out there. I've studied music theory, ear training, composition, styles etc. from different schools and performers via books, videos and cassette courses. It's exciting how technology has made learning and music so readily available.
I agree. There are many ways to learn music and an instrument. Your playing and composing are both very masterful and I’m always impressed when someone is able to achieve a high level of artistry without years of lessons and training. Don’t worry - I’m not one of those piano teachers who thinks there is only one correct way of going about learning to play - or of teaching!
When did you start playing the piano?
KS: When I was 12 years old, my aunt, who lived next door to my family, moved away and didn't want to take her piano, so she gave it to us. I immediately began plunking through the first pages in an old method book my mom had from her own childhood. I never looked back and was playing for our church within the year.
KP: That’s really amazing! Where did you grow up?
KS: I was born in Virginia and spent my childhood there as well as in PA, OH and Texas. I loved all the places I lived and moving around was always a fun experience.
KP: Are there any other musicians in your family?
Actually yes, my whole family is musical, and most of my extended family as well. For many years, my family had a local band and performed fairly often in our community. At our family reunions, we always have a huge jam session with styles ranging from bluegrass to CCM to the blues... It's fun, and we all look forward to those times.
Improvising with Michael Logozar and Louis Landon.
KP: No wonder music comes so naturally to you! Do you play other musical instruments as well?
KS: I began violin lessons when I was 8 years old. It was fun, but didn't last long as a serious pursuit. When I started the piano it clicked in me. I also play organ for my church, and occasionally will pull out my pennywhistle to lend some Celtic influence when I'm playing with others. Although I enjoy those instruments, I don't play them for anything but personal enjoyment. My musical dream is to learn to play Celtic harp. I love harp music and harp was my first choice before I started violin. However violin was a bit more accessible at the time. I still hope to learn someday.
KP: When did you start writing music?
Fairly recently. I wrote two song in my teens, one of which I used in Hope (“Hint of Dawn”), but did not begin to really try to write songs until 2009 when I decided to record Hope.
Performing at the Martha Luigi Auditorium in Rockport, TX.
KP: It appears that you perform in concert fairly often. Do you usually perform with other Whisperings artists?
KS: Yes, Whisperings is what inspired me to begin performing as a soloist. I'd often played in a band, for church or soloists, and as background music, but never had the confidence to perform as a soloist. Then last year I attended a Whisperings concert with David Nevue, Joe Bongonio, Michael Logozar and Philip Wesley. Needless to say, afterward I was super excited and pumped to join the fun. All of the Whisperings family has been more than encouraging, and performing with the other artists gives me so much more confidence besides being incredibly fun.
Whisperings has been such a phenomenal thing for so many pianists. I so admire and respect David Nevue for his vision and the drive to make it happen. Do you have more concerts lined up for this year?
Performing a concert in Corpus Christi, TX. June 2012.
KS: I'm scheduled to perform in Calgary, Canada on July 8th, with Michael Logozar and Chad Lawson. Two of my favorites!
KP: Mine, too! What inspires you to compose?
KS: A strong emotion, story, or thought. I can't just sit down at the piano and write out of the air because I'll just improvise forever and never get anywhere. I have to narrow the field and think about what I want to convey before I can begin to reach out for that emotion. So I usually choose the song title first and sometimes will spend some time writing my thoughts about the song before beginning to compose.
KP: So many composers have trouble coming up with titles, so this is a very interesting approach.
Are you a full-time musician?
KS: I think, like most musicians, I'm working toward that goal. Besides my solo music, I give piano lessons, play for parties,weddings etc. and any other music related opportunities that arise.
KP: Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
KS: I love pretty much every style of music, but in my teens Jim Brickman and Yanni were my inspiration for solo piano music.
KP: Is there a particular philosophy you try to convey in your music?
KS: Yes, absolutely! You might be able to guess, but my motto for life is 1 Cor. 13:13: “There are three things that remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.” With my music I hope to remind my listeners of the things that are most important in life, the things that will remain, and to enjoy the journey.
KP: I like that! What has been your most exciting experience or musical moment so far?
KS: Performing at Joe Bongornio's Piano Haven in Seattle, WA. The crowd was electric and much of my family comes from that area, so they came out to see me.
KP: Who are your favorite composers?
KS: Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Debussy. Passion, emotion and expression.
KP: If you could have any three wishes, what would they be?
KS: Hmm, now that's an interesting question. Are they supposed to be easy wishes or anything in the world? The obvious answers are along the lines of world peace, solving the hunger problems, and that all the orphans would find a loving home... But those are a bit unrealistic.
KP: Wishes can be whatever you want them to be!
KS: Ok, wow... That's really hard... I guess I'd wish that I would be able to love others perfectly in the way that they need, to share faith, and to know how to offer/inspire hope to those around me.
KP: What’s up next for you?
I'd like to make beautiful music that touches peoples hearts. I'm at a pretty transitional time at the moment so a lot of my plans are up in the air, but I always hope to continue making music.
From left: Joe Bongiorno, Philip Wesley, David Nevue, Kendra Springer, Michael Logozar.
For more information about Kendra Springer, please visit her website
and her Artist Page
here on MainlyPiano.com.
All photos courtesy of Kendra Springer.