“Whenever I do acoustics of my own songs, it allows for me to show how the song sounds like in a “little black dress” form,” says Deep House/pop artist Kendra Erika. “Deconstructing it is like decanting a bottle wine. It opens it up so you can smell all the flavors and hear the lyrics and tones more.”
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Kendra talking about her latest single, “So Fly (Acoustic Version)” – premiering here at American Songwriter on August 31. As its title states, this is a stripped-down format of her pop hit “So Fly.” That original version, she says, “is produced to the nines, which is wonderful when making a bold smash,” she says. But for an artist who has become known for her lush signature sound, it is perhaps and even more striking when she scales things back and lets the song’s “bones” show.
“My goal for this song was to be global, flavorful, and spicy, and having these two gorgeous gems in the creative frequency was very valuable to make the goal come to fruition,” Kendra says about co-writing the song with Luigi Gonzalez (LUGO Gonzalez) – a Grammy-nominated producer who has worked Ricky Martin, Barbara Streisand, Madonna and Donna Summer – and Gerina Di Marco (who Kendra says is “the next Shakira in my eyes”).
Kendra recalls being immediately captivated by this songwriting team’s creativity. “I was brought into the studio to take a listen to the library of tracks Luigi had in store. As soon as I heard the track which “So Fly” was going to be created from, the boldness and attitude it brought really stimulated me, so therefore the executive decision was made by me to go for it,” she says. “When it came time to craft the lyrics and melody, Gerina and I, being that we’ve collaborated before, had a very good idea of where I was at artistically. So, with that on the brain, the two of us were able to get Luigi on board with this whole aesthetic.”
With this acoustic version, Kendra is expanding on the dance sound that she has created with great success since 2015, when she emerged from the Miami dance scene with her EP Hostage. She followed that with Billboard-charting singles “Oasis” (2016) and “Under My Skin.” Last year, her single “Self Control” hit the top spot on the Billboard Dance chart. Along the way, she became a voting member of the Grammy Recording Academy.
Kendra believes that her music connects with listeners because she doesn’t have an ulterior motive with her work: “I don’t write or create with a social or political agenda, and subliminal propaganda,” she says. “I feel that’s what makes it more meaningful. For any artist, this approach to writing is what will allow for one to stand out with authenticity and integrity.”
Next up, Kendra plans to drop another single, then a full album, continuing her a career that began with classical training and is increasingly evolving into an increasingly international profile.