It will make you cry. If you’re trying to be strong and not cry, it’ll make your eyes sting. Because Now We Know, the latest single from Jenny Kern, is one of those songs that takes your breath away and leaves a lump in your throat. Transports you back to that moment in time when nothing about a relationship was right, but you kept trying, unwilling to accept the ending. Before *smack*… you realise it’s over, and you begin to see clearly. The red flags, the mistakes (me? making mistakes in love? never!). Now We Know is a work of art; chillingly on point and wholly relatable. Take a listen…
Written at a time of self-realisation, Jenny Kern bares her soul in this softly sung, humbling song. The instrumentation is calm, a tune you could chill to, but matched with pure lyrics sung with such humility it truly is a poised and artistically executed nod to heartbreak.
Following her debut single Slow Burn last year, the New York-based Canadian-born artist is on a roll, gaining support as her vulnerable songs find homes in the hearts of listeners worldwide. Listening to Kern is a form of catharsis in itself, the piercing lyrics getting to the core.
After the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to the songwriter’s plans to visit the UK last month, we decided to catch up over the interweb instead. Read on to learn about Jenny’s decision to follow her passion, the heart-felt meaning behind Now We Know, and to listen to my favourite playlist to come out of quarantine yet…
Hey Jenny! We’re sorry to hear your trip to the UK was cancelled. What’s the situation like across the pond? How’re you finding the whole isolation thing?
Hi! Thank you. Yeah, I was really sad the trip got cancelled because there were so many exciting things planned, but it’s so important right now that we all stay safe and healthy. Things are difficult here in the New York area. People are scared. I won’t lie, I haven’t been taking isolation very well. Like everyone else, I’m in shock. The truth is I’m still processing it all, every day. Even with all this time I haven’t been able to be as creative as I want to be. But I’ve started showing myself compassion and journaling my thoughts. Maybe this isn’t the time to write that LP. Maybe it’s about doing one creative act each day. It’s about indulging in curiosity and ignoring the voice of pressure. Ultimately, I think the most important thing one can do right now is maintain their physical and mental health.
Well said. Perhaps the one saving grace is knowing we’re not alone – we’re all in it together. In the process of distracting myself, I’ve been taking a listen to your latest release Now We Know – it certainly tugs on the heartstrings! What was the writing and production process like?
Thank you! It’s definitely a personal song. Writing this one was different for me. I usually find a melody and the words follow, but with this one I wrote the lyrics first. Every line is literal (there’s nothing poetic really). The bridge is my favourite part of the song and to me the most important. Not including lyrics was intentional because it’s a moment of self-reflection. When I wrote the song, I actually had to take a break from writing because I started to cry. I found so much strength in vulnerability.
The song was produced by the masterful Andy Seltzer (Maggie Rogers, Chelsea Cutler, Valley). We spent three days in his studio in LA working on two songs and it was an amazing experience. Andy really helped turn my vision into a reality. He truly is a wizard. I really wanted this one to be atmospheric, blending subtle folk elements with nostalgic indie pop sounds. It’s sonically different from my debut EP but I’m excited about where I’m heading.
The high emotions you felt during writing have definitely been translated (I’ll admit it had me in tears too!) The beautiful thing about music is that once it’s released, it’s open for interpretation… finding homes in the hearts of many people for different reasons. But we’d love to know, what meaning does the song hold for you?
That is definitely one of the beautiful things about music. Interpretation. I usually want the listener to have their own experience while listening to my songs and I think they will with this one. But there’s definitely a strong meaning behind it.
This is probably my most honest song to date. I was working creatively with someone and we developed a close relationship. One founded on understanding and support. At the time, I was dealing with depression, health issues and change, which lead to mistakes I’m not proud of. I wrote this song shortly after we parted ways. I think learning to accept that something is broken and dealing with the fallout is incredibly hard. Ultimately this song is about self-realization, admitting to mistakes and accepting the end of a relationship.
An honest and extremely relatable response. I’m happy you got to a place where you were able to write the song and share it with the world. Stepping back a bit, you released your debut single Slow Burn at the start of last year and have received a huge response in that short time! How have the past 12 months been?
It’s been incredible. I had no idea Slow Burn would receive the response it got! To be honest, I was hesitant to release it because I thought it wasn’t good enough. But with no expectations I finally put it out and it started getting plays. Blogs were writing about it and then I was signed to a licensing company. Since then things have been a whirlwind. I went on my first European tour in Portugal, toured across North America and had songs featured on ABC, MTV and the CW. I feel very grateful that I have the opportunity to do what I love and connect with people around the world.
I guess self doubt is a huge obstacle to us all and only natural, but the song is more than ‘good enough’ in my opinion! And as you’ve seen, people love it! So, where did your journey in music start? I heard you were working in film and television before taking the leap?
Great question! That’s correct. I was working in the film and television business up until 2019. I’ve always had a passion for music though. When I was younger, I learned the piano, guitar, saxophone and listened to tons of records that my parents had. I’ve always been surrounded by it. But it wasn’t until 2018 when I wrote my first song. I fell in love with songwriting and haven’t stopped since.
Sounds like you’re creative by nature, and obviously a talented songwriter, so it’s great you found your true passion and calling! Any words of advice for those out there too nervous to release their own music?
Let go of the fear of acceptance.
Do what feels right to you and not just what sounds right.
Wise words. And what’s next for you? We hope you’ll come to London as soon as it is safe to again, but any new music coming to us in the meantime?
Hopefully I’ll be able to come to London soon!
I’m currently writing and staying as creative as I can in the most authentic way while exploring new sounds. As soon I’m able to, I’m going to get back into the studio to record more music. My goal is to release another record this year or early 2021.
We can’t wait! For you to visit and for new music!! So, we would love if you could give our readers 5 songs to chill out to – or dance around their room to – whilst in lockdown, and a few short words as to why you’ve chosen each?
I could recommend so many songs, but here are five that I would start with…
- Garden Song, Phoebe Bridgers: “This song is beyond mesmerizing. It cuts deep into your soul and calls for self-reflection. I can’t seem to stop listening to it.”
- Hats, The Blue Nile: “This record is, in my opinion, one of the greatest records of all time. The magic of this album is that it’s both euphoric and devastating. It paints the incredibly colourful pictures and shifts between moods transcending you to a different space and time. It’s a go to when I’m up late at night and I can’t sleep.”
- Back in my Body, Maggie Rogers: “This song has been one on repeat for me over the last year (along with the rest of the record).It’s about coming back into your own ways. Doing things your love in your own time. To just be you. And I think now more than ever that’s such an important message. Take the time right now to rediscover yourself and reflect.”
- Now I’m In It, HAIM: “This is a bop. But an emotional bop. And that’s the best thing you can ask for. It just reminds me that I’m never in this alone.”
- Alewife, Clairo: “One of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time. Not only is the production genius (Rostam and Clairo are both brilliant) but it tugs on your heartstrings in a really relatable way. It’s so beautiful.”
I’ve actually created an isolation mixtape that you can follow on my Spotify artist page.
What a beautiful selection! And thanks for linking us to this amazing playlist and for taking the time for this little e-interview! See you in London sometime in the future, and until then keep well and keep creating and releasing great music.
Thank you so much! Looking forward to seeing you in London sometime soon. Cheers!
Keep up with Jenny below:
Photo: Kaitlin Gladney