Interview: Jenny Kern

A silver lining of heartbreak is that it provides an opportunity to know ourselves better. To understand the mistakes we made and where we went wrong, to recognise our needs and desires and how best to fulfil them, to realise which parts of the relationship most left their mark on us and which moments were taken for granted. In essence it’s a chance to reminisce on the memories shared and a chance to learn and grow as a person moving forward. That’s the message at the heart of Your Heart Knows – the bittersweet new EP from Canadian-born Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Jenny Kern, and her most enchanting collection of songs to date. Having followed her career from the introspective folk of her debut single, to the stunning cinematic synthpop of this latest release, it feels like high time we got to know this Belwood favourite a little better too.

Thanks for your time! You’ve just released your new EP Your Heart Knows, how does it feel to have it out in the world?
Thank you so much! It feels amazing! The amount of time and energy it takes to create a record from start to finish is a lot but it’s worth every second. I love the feeling of letting it go because it now belongs to others that might need it.

It’s very much a break-up record, but one with a hopeful undercurrent that looks at the special memories and lessons learned. “better to have loved and lost etc.”. Was that an attitude you wanted to express from the outset, or a feeling that developed while writing these songs?
Absolutely! There are a few songs that embrace heartbreak more for what it is (‘I Should Lose You’ and ‘Resistant’) but I think overall the record is meant to have that hopeful undercurrent. We always think about heartbreak in a negative way but I think there’s something really beautiful to it. It helps you grow, understand yourself and your needs and make you realize that what you have when you have it is special. Feeling every emotion around love is what makes us human.

In the spirit of holding on to happy memories, what was the highlight of the whole writing and recording process for you? The part that will stay with you the longest?
Writing ‘Miss Somebody’ with Jacob Neverhill and Nora Bart in the UK was a really amazing memory. We talked about some of our positive memories around love and that’s when I came up with the hook “it’s really nice to miss somebody,” which is my favourite part of the record. Then taking it to Carson Cody who helped me bring it to life was even more amazing. He really gave it the special touch it needed. It might be my favourite song I’ve ever made.

Your style has really grown and changed over the years, with the new EP boasting some gorgeous synths and big pop hooks. Is this a sound that you’ve felt yourself working towards, or one that grew organically?
I think it’s a bit of both to be honest. I’m always trying to challenge myself and grow when it comes to music but I think I knew I wanted to tap into more electronic elements and write more pop hooks. I felt like there was a real sense of freedom with this EP exploring these new sounds.

Your honest and open lyrics have been a constant throughout however. There’s a lot here for people to connect with and relate to, and there’s a lot of comfort to be found in songs that can offer that. What songs did you relate to and find comfort in while making this record?
I found comfort in all of them!! That’s kind of a constant for me when I write my music, it allows me space to work through things. “Feel it Again” helped me realize that there are a lot of ups and downs in relationships, “I Should Lose You” and “Resistant” helped me figure out the best way to try and let someone go, “I Need You” made me realize how much you can lose yourself in love and desire and “Miss Somebody” helped me see how important it is to appreciate the beauty of heartbreak and that it’s okay if something doesn’t work.

I understand you used to work in Film and TV before making the jump to music? Now you’re a few releases in, has the change been at all how you imagined it would be?
Not at all. Every day is something new and different and challenging. Some days are easier than others because I realize how much more I have to grow. What I do know is that I made the best decision for myself and I don’t regret it for a second.

If both worlds collided and you could choose anyone to direct and/or star in a music video for one of these songs, who would you pick?
Tough call because there are so many talented directors out there. I would have to think on that one.

Now that you have another EP to your name, what’s next for you? What do you hope the future has in store?
I hope to continue to grow as an artist, play more shows and eventually work on writing my debut LP. 

Many thanks to Jenny for her time! Her new EP Your Heart Knows is out now!