Upcoming Welsh singer-songwriter Honey McKenna has just released her debut EP ‘1:11’ that incorporates a variety of musical genres & looks set to produce a statement within the current music scene.
Honey has kindly taken the time to speak with Fierce & Fabulous Revolution about her debut EP, along with getting to discover more from the artist behind the music. Check out what she had to say below.
Hey Honey, thank you so much for this interview. Can you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself?
Honey: Thank you for having me! I’m Honey, I’m from South Wales and when I’m not making music I’m doing a variety of creative things – usually video editing!
When did you first discover your passion for music?
Honey: I think I was about 2 or 3 when I started doing ballet classes, and apparently I had one of those little microphone things and would put on those living room concerts. My whole family is very musical and my grampa Pat especially was always encouraging me to express that.
Have you always known that you wanted to pursue a career within the music industry?
Honey: When I was a younger teenager, definitely, I started making little songs and putting them on MySpace and got on the local BBC Introducing, I was really involved with local theatre and pantomime, but then I lost my confidence a bit around the time I was in 6th form. I went to Cardiff Uni to study English thinking I was going to pursue screenwriting, but then I ended up joining the street dance society ‘Slash’ there and got really involved with dance again, which kind of re-ignited my passion for performing. I think that’s maybe why I’m so influenced by “dance music”. I think people sometimes dismiss it as frivolous or superficial but it really is like its own world within music, there’s so many genres within “dance” and really rich culture and history to go with these styles.
How would you describe your musical style to someone unfamiliar with your music?
Honey: Uptempo, danceable, ‘poppy’, eclectic influences!
You have just released your debut EP “1:11”, which sounds amazing by the way. How did the idea for this EP come together?
Honey: Thank you so much! Well, the tracks really came about in very different ways. I think One is the oldest track of the three, I have demos of it from the middle of last year and I’d kind of abandoned it, then ‘Never Be Free’ arrived in my head as a fully formed chorus much later in autumn – couple of weeks went by and it was still in my head, so I did a demo in Ableton to work on it later. ‘Please Don’t Tell Me Who I Am’ is the most recent. I was sat in the car park of our local supermarket and “one face, two face” popped into my head and I made a demo that night in Garageband to send off to the session musicians who feature on the track (@csevemusic, @davericebass and @elenacostadrums, highly recommend all three!). ‘Never Be Free’ was the quickest to actually produce from start to finish, ‘One’ went through the most changes – even the title and topline changed completely – and some of the lyrics were written right before I recorded them.
What are some of the main influences behind the creative process of this EP?
Honey: I’ve actually just been making a playlist this morning of some of the influences! I’ve been greatly pleased with the fact that disco has made a strong “comeback” lately (even though it never went away if you’re a disco nut like me). Some of my favourite albums last year were Jessie Ware’s What’s Your Pleasure, Kylie’s DISCO, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia. Apparently, I was in the top 0.5% Lady Gaga listeners last year, so evidently, I liked Chromatica a lot ha! And, Rina Sawayama deserved at least one Grammy nom for her last album, it is a masterpiece. There’s really a lot of excellent pop music out there at the minute and the thing that unites all the music I like at the minute is it’s really unapologetically ‘itself’, there’s an element to it that’s kind of off-kilter, or breaks the rules. That’s really exciting for me.
How did your family & friends react to your EP?
Honey: So far my friends’ favourite track is almost unanimously ‘Please Don’t Tell Me Who I Am’! Mine is ‘Never Be Free’ – my mum’s favourite is ‘One’, I think my Nana likes that one too! They’ve all been very supportive, especially when I’ve been doubting myself, as I often do. I think all creative people do, to be fair!
What does this release personally mean to you?
Honey: Well, the title itself and some of the lyrics of ‘One’ come from this idea – and this sounds wacky but bear with me – of ‘angel numbers’, aka, repeating numbers that you might start to notice around you, online or on clocks etc. I read about it and thought “lol, okay, sure”, but then of course I started noticing them, and particularly 111/1111, which apparently means that it’s time to start manifesting your thoughts into actions, and also to let go of negativity. I like a healthy dose of scepticism with any spiritual stuff like that, but during a year when it was otherwise very easy to slip into a sense of helplessness, it was nice to feel like there was some kind of ‘sign from the universe’ that I can do this if I put my mind to it, and to stop telling myself that I won’t ever be good enough.
What message would you like listeners to take from this EP?
Honey: Well, ‘Never Be Free’ in particular is about how actually, if you just go with the flow, while you might not ever stop having feelings of self-doubt, you’ll be able to live with them, or even channel them into something good. It’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway, like the book, lol. Stop telling yourself that you’re not good enough because the only way you’ll get better at anything is by trying and failing at it… and then trying again.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Honey: I really do listen to a lot of music – usually making a playlist of some kind, or compiling an idea for a DJ set, finding new tracks for a mix. I’m writing a lot and making lots of demos, right now I’m working on a track for my friend Cherie, and I really want to remix her latest single too. Failing that I’m usually watching something random on YouTube, or rewatching some season of Rupaul’s Drag Race.
If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you choose & why?
Honey: The artist I want to work with the most is Nile Rodgers (the guitarist and producer of CHIC fame). The fact he continues to work with new artists and collaborate in different styles of music is really inspiring. He’s continuing to innovate and elevates new artists along the way, which is so admirable to me. Also, I really do just love disco! I love classic disco, I love nu-disco, I don’t understand people who don’t like at least one disco song. Disco is joy, it’s everything. I’d love to make a disco-dance track with Nile Rodgers. That’s the goal, lol! I also really admire the DJ and producer Honey Dijon, her remixes, in particular, are sublime. I want to manifest a Honey-Honey collab, lol.
What song do you always keep on your playlist & why?
Honey: ‘Red Alert’ by Basement Jaxx. That’s like, my personal anthem. If I had to pick one song, you know. It’s been one of my favourite songs for most of my life, but then 2020 happened, and “red alert, it’s a catastrophe/but don’t worry, don’t panic/ain’t nothing but history”, and “the music keeps on playing” somehow manages to get through to me every single time. It’s a rough time for people in music right now, but I think we’re also some of the most resilient people, and I really, really hope we can all bounce back, and that people will support their local scene after the pandemic gets under control!
What was the last film you watched & did you enjoy it?
Honey: ‘Paris Is Burning’, the documentary about the early ballroom & voguing scene in NYC. I’ve seen it before, but I was showing it to a friend who had never seen it. I think it should be required viewing. You see exactly how much that particular scene in the LGBT community influenced what we now consider ‘mainstream’ slang, plus the hardships that the community has faced, which it is still sadly facing, but it’s also just a beautiful insight into that subculture and a great starting point if you’re into drag or voguing and want to learn more about the origins & history behind it. (It is on YouTube!)
If you could possess one superpower, which one would you choose & why?
Honey: I feel like teleportation would be the most useful. Flying is cool but you’d draw too much attention to yourself.
What is one item that you can’t live without?
Honey: It’s basic of me, but I love my iPad. I can do so much on it! I make most of my social media stuff on it, I can make demos in Garageband, and it’s super portable.
What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Honey: I just asked my oldest friend, and she said “original, headstrong, loyal”.
Finally, is there a message that you would like to share with the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?
Honey: ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. And support your friends’ creative endeavours! It’s hard out there!
You can check out the full EP on Spotify below or purchase on iTunes here.