Don’t let someone define who you are. Know who you are. — At the start of my career, I dropped a gospel EP that received a lot of backlash from the church. A lot of people would tell me that I would get banished from the church and how what I spoke about wasn’t in line with the teachings. That was my first lesson in staying true to myself and speaking from my mind.
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kendre Streeter.
Kendre is a singer, songwriter, and producer. Adopting the motto “Music Is Life,” Kendre’ channels that mantra into a unique blend of styles and genres intertwined with an inspirational message to create songs that are truly electrifying, refreshing and uplifting.Currently, Kendre’ lives in Los Angeles. He has just released a Single, “U Stay.” His past releases include “A Change,” “Mess in The Morning,” “LIMITS”, and “That Love.”https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/0d1b67cd86510ef2eb6f1e5186ca604a
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
Hi Authority! I’m so excited to be here and among such incredible people.
I grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee. It’s a small town but a big city at the same time. Growing up, I basically spent my entire life in church, which is also where I learned how to play instruments and sing. When I was young, my sister and mother passed away. After my dad asked me to perform a song that I wrote for my mother at her funeral, I started writing and performing more. A lot of my lyrics and messages evolve around family, love and instilling hope in the world. I have my dad to thank for that; he showed me how to be a good man and how to treat the women in his life.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was younger, I really wanted to become an athlete. After a knee injury in college and losing my scholarship, I went through this time where I didn’t understand what was happening and what resonated with me. I had dedicated my entire life to becoming a pro athlete and I never saw myself as the person that could work a 9–5 and music was always a part of my life and my hobbies. No matter what happened, I always went back to music — after a long day, a long weekend, whenever I could.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
While on tour in New York City, my fellow bandmate and I took the subway all the way to Manhattan because the rest of the group left before us. After a 30-minute ride, we realized we were on the wrong train while we were holding our musical equipment. We almost didn’t make it to sound check but it was a really interesting and fun experience getting lost in New York.
Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?
When I first started out, I joined a group called “Blended 688,” which consisted of my Store Manager and myself as Assistant Store Manager at Dollar General. We played a mix of pop, soul, and country music and even created a CD that we sold. After one of our shows, I met a guy who told me that he thought I was a really talented bass player. He invited me back to his studio — and come to find out, that was the night I met Tim McGraw and began working with him on some projects.
Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.
There are two things in my life that I love the most: music and the delivery of music. And though this seems really small, it’s really not to me.
A memory that I have is going to the Ascend Amphitheater after it just opened up and seeing Jill Scott’s concert. If you know me, you know I love me some Jill Scott. To this day, it’s one of the best concerts I’ve been to and the sound of the concert and the theater is out of this world. I still have a recording of the concert and I refer to it any time I need inspiration to create. The energy and being able to see her perform and the production of it was incredible.
I also love being surrounded by the most talented musicians and producers in the world. Pre-covid, my favorite thing to do was going to Acme Feed and Seed on Broadway and being able to go into all the different bars and concert halls and being able to experience the amazing music, vocals and productions.
Going to Acme is a hidden treasure where you experience some of the best musical acts in the area. I was able to perform there and a lot of the underground artists too.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Something that I never thought I’d have to learn about was being business-minded.
When I first started, I would just write songs without putting music behind the lyrics. After having a really great idea, I went to a well-known producer at a record label whom I worked with before and told him about the idea behind the song and the beat. He told me that nobody was interested so I left it alone. A month-and-a-half later, I heard my song on the radio. Of course, I couldn’t prove that it was my song because I gave my lyrics on a piece of paper with no extra copy.
So, while funny now, it was a good lesson for me to learn how to do split sheets and how to get credit for your work.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am so blessed by the community of people who really believe in me and invest in me, my company and my music. And they do that based on who I am as a person. I don’t think there’s just one person that I can credit for my whole success, but I have two that I am the most grateful for.
One person is my aunt. She’s like my second mom. We were never so close until six years ago, and she keeps everything going for me. She supports me unconditionally and helps keep me on track.
My dad is another person. He didn’t want me to go through the same thing over and over again, and he stepped in to help me prosper. He’s helped me steer the ship ever since I started and has done so much to help me grow and support me. He’s also been such a great role model for me and the kind of father, person, and community leader I hope to become.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I recently dropped “U Stay,” which is a single about wanting to meet the love of your life.
Before then, I released “A Change” in the summer. It’s crazy, because I’ve reached over 500,000 streams and my Spotify page has gained over 33,000 monthly listeners and over 4,000 followers. This has happened very rapidly. At the beginning of the year I didn’t even have 10% of that.
This single will always be memorable for me because I got to perform it at the March on Washington in August 2020. Performing it for the people and with the people and seeing how it resonated for others was so touching.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Don’t let someone define who you are. Know who you are.
At the start of my career, I dropped a gospel EP that received a lot of backlash from the church. A lot of people would tell me that I would get banished from the church and how what I spoke about wasn’t in line with the teachings. That was my first lesson in staying true to myself and speaking from my mind.
2. Study your craft.
You’ll feel the freest when you know your craft and you can practice and succeed with it. Being able to sing, produce and write my music allows me a lot of freedom when creating my music and also allows me to know what I’m looking for when I create.
3. Whatever industry you’re in, know your industry. Learn. Be knowledgeable.
Make sure you’re aware of the business of the industry. I used to be so nice and so naive and had to learn the hard way that some people will take advantage of you.
4. Build a great team. You can’t do it alone.
Before getting help from my family, I used to spin my head in circles and waste a lot of time on things that didn’t help me further my career. Since asking my family for help, I’ve grown my career tremendously as each person can focus on different things, like technology, social, public relations, business negotiations. That way I can be an artist and focus on my craft.
5. Owning your masters.
You should have full ownership of your songs and any part that you had in creating music. Don’t learn the way I did, be smart about it.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Take a break. Go relax. Especially in the creative world, we work so much on songs and we’re dealing with business and it’s exhausting. You can’t keep working and forcing yourself to work and getting things done because it never will. You have to make sure to enjoy life because that’s when the ideas and the spark of passion comes back.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Acceptance. If we would just accept one another even if we might not agree with how another person is living, that would solve a lot of problems in the world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Music is Life. No matter what I went through in life, I always came back to music to help recover from the world, to take a break and to rejuvenate. I fully believe that anything can be made better with music as long as you let it in.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast with Dr. Dre, Jay Z or Jeff Bezoz. I’d love to just pick their brain about business and their ideas about the future and innovations.
How can our readers follow you online?
Email & Bookings: [email protected]
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you for including me in your series!