So, let's see what happens when Kirsten Kirk visits Section 36 Music!
I loved your recent single “Texas”. What can you tell me about it?
I started writing Texas at 2 am on a night when I was feeling particularly homesick, and consequently almost guilty as a queer individual for missing a place that infamously doesn’t support and sometimes hates my identity. The song has a lot of mixed emotions for me - I talk about the things I could have done differently, when I really don’t regret too many of the choices I’ve made that have gotten me here. I talk about my family, who I love very much, and there are some spiritual elements from religion I no longer identify with. I think it’s one of my most honest songs - it’s not just about my feelings, or experiences. The song is just who I am.
With live shows happening again, what’s your favorite part about performing in front of an audience?
I love recording in a studio, but there is nothing like performinglive. I love playing with my band, being able to feed off of each others’ energy along with the energy of the audience. I have a background in musical theatre, which I think definitely impacts my performance onstage versus in a recording studio.
You are currently attending Berklee College of Music. What’s the biggest thing Berklee is doing for your career?
This is super difficult for me to pin down - I think a lot of students came in with a lot of experience and knowledge of the industry, and the most popular answer would be “the connections” or “the community” or “networking”. I came to Berklee having gone through high school with the intention of being a neuroscience and applied mathematics double major, and then took a gap year in which I was an assistant teacher in a 3rd grade classroom while I applied to schools for musical theatre and aerospace engineering. So for me, Berklee has taught me almost everything I know about music and the industry, or at least presented me with resources or peers/professors who had resources that taught me anything and everything I wanted to learn. I don’t know if I can pin down the biggest thing Berklee is doing for my career, because I would not even be pursuing this career if I had not applied to Berklee after being rejected from Boston Conservatory.
Who or what would you consider your biggest musical influences?
Sara Bareilles, Carrie Underwood, Janet Jackson, Emeline, Alanis Morissette - I try not to limit myself to a specific genre, but I am so drawn to the powerhouse, incredible women who are just knockouts in their fields. I look to them as inspiration not only when I’m writing and composing, but when I’m deciding how I want to present myself and interact with other professionals. I don’t think I would be the artist I am today without any of those five women.
What would you say is your biggest career challenge?Long-term? I’ve already found it difficult at times to be takenseriously as an engineer, a self-managed artist, and just a non-male in the industry as a whole. I’ve been asked where the engineer/producer is on sessions that I am running. I’ve had male members of my band asked questions that are clearly meant to be directed towards the frontman. I’ve been told that it’s “awesome [I] got into such a male-dominated major”, rather than just being congratulated for being accepted into a competitive major. It’s difficult to not be immediately dismissed as an assistant, or a token, or just a try-hard who will never be as successful as my male-presenting peers.
Short term, I would just say time - I definitely struggle to write/compose, schedule gigs and rehearsals, record/engineer my upcoming album, and of course stay on top of my schoolwork, all while giving myself enough time to sleep and eat and at least try to get a little sunshine every day.
What are your immediate career goals?
I want to continue putting my name out there as a Boston artist. I am trying to gig more this Fall/Winter (plans were unfortunately pushed back due to a horribly timed case of mono). I am also working on a self-produced, self-engineered album that I hope to release in 2023. I want to work with more artists as an engineer or producer, and I want to connect with Boston artists outside of Berklee.
Sounds like a lot of great things on her plate!
I'm sure you’ll all want to follow along with her to see what she's up to. I would definitely follow her on Instagram and/or Spotify. In fact, go do both right now!