A deeply introspective album of intricate storytelling brought to life with evocative instrumentation; meaningful lyricism and a golden voice, RED EARTH officially hails the emergence of one of New Zealand’s most intriguing songwriters and performers.
Moving effortlessly and seamlessly through a number of styles and genres, from dark country to true country; folk and chilled pop to bluesy rock, Kendall delivers an album packed with mood and personality.
Kendall chose the songs that feature on the album - including first singles already released ‘The Clock Tower’ and ‘Valentine Street’ - because they’re representations of her childhood growing up in Papakura, south Auckland. She explains,
Each song is based upon my memories around locations within the district. Most of the songs reflect important moments of my life that moulded who I am today.
“The whole album writing process involved a lot of introspection and processing of traumatic experiences, so it comes from a place of healing and catharsis. The songs also hold a lot of relevance to issues that not only I faced growing up, but that continue to be common societal issues today such as poverty, housing insecurity, sexism, sexuality, mental health, and how colonialism has negatively impacted our country.”
It is exactly this eloquent approach to storytelling that’s evident in RED EARTH’s focus track, ‘Kirks Bush’, written about a section of forest in Papakura with a dark reputation, which the Auckland singer-songwriter recalls from her childhood.
Everyone I knew could recite one story about something terrible that had gone on in there.
But for Kendall, who used it as a shortcut to school, it became a safe place of reflection.
“I would walk through there on my way to and from school each day despite the warnings of my parents. I would love the feeling of tranquillity and peace I would get as I walked further along the path and deeper into the middle of the bush.”
“These days the bush itself has been reclaimed as a community taonga (treasure) and is much safer,” says Kendall, who adds that ‘Kirks Bush’ highlights the inequality that women experience growing up - often being taught to take the long way around as a safety technique – but also metaphorically, as a way to prepare them for the gender inequality they will experience.
All songs on the record were written by Kendall Elise and recorded at Roundhead Studios (audio engineer - Paddy Hill; produced by Kendall Elise and Alan Meharry; mixed by Scott Seabright and mastered by Chris Chetland from KOG).
The release of RED EARTH will coincide with a number of live performances and a nationwide tour.
There are some artists, who when they sing, you feel like you are in a deep and meaningful conversation with them. On occasion, this is what Elise brought to her performances... it was intense, professional and beautiful to bear witness to - Radio 13
Kendall Elise is a consummate performer, who (alongside her band) has earned a reputation as a mesmerising live act, not-to-be-missed! This year alone she has played a string of gigs and opened for Gin Wigmore on her recent New Zealand Tour. In April she supported American roots, rock band Larkin Poe in Auckland.
May 4 - Kumeu Live - Auckland
May 18 - Ministry of Folk - Auckland
June 8 - Old School Arts Centre, Raglan
June 9 - The Hawkins Theatre, Papakura
July 12 – venue TBC - Dunedin
July 13 - Wanaka - Gin and Raspberry
July 26 - The Jam Factory - Tauranga