It was February of 2020 and Kendra Erika was in great spirits as she watched her current single “Break the Wheel” climb the Billboard dance chart into the Top Ten, her fifth track to do so in 36 months. The song had the prophetic chorus of “I’m so over it”, a month before the world changed forever. A week after the track peaked the Covid virus hit, and hit hard, and suddenly clubs and the dance charts were no more and traveling for tour dates and recording sadly disappeared from Kendra’s world and the entire music community.
Never comfortable sitting still, and while quarantined in Boca Raton Florida, Kendra decided this was her time to focus on creating new music. In conjunction with a new management team of Paul Fishkin, Scott Ross, and Marcus Peterzell who have worked with a wide range of hit artists including Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Todd Rungren, Poe, Leslie Odum Jr. and Andy Grammer, they devised a plan to have Kendra start writing and recording with top producers across the U.S., albeit all virtually. Within a month Kendra connected with a bevy of Grammy winning producers including Charlie Midnight (Billy Joel, James Brown, Joni Mitchell); Jan Fairchild (Elton John, Mary J Blige); John DeNicola (Hungry Eyes and Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing); Damon Sharpe (Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez); Ned Cameron (Kid Ink, Lil Wayne); Mark Mangold (Cher, Michael Bolton); and Luigie “LUGO” Gonzalez (Janet Jackson, Madonna, Barbra Streisand). According to Kendra “It was hard at first to co-write with these amazing producers via my computer, but since I didn’t have to travel I was able to collaborate more quickly, focus on my vocals, and I am thrilled with the results of these new tracks”
Kendra spent the next three months virtually writing and recording with these platinum producers via zoom. Then it came down to capturing her vocals, and luckily Kendra connected with Lazaro Rodriguez – sound engineer for the famed Gibb family, who had a studio minutes from her home, where each producer could supervise the sessions from thousands of miles away.
The result is a collection of haunting and engaging songs to be released as a new album in 2021. The first single “So fly” co-written by Gerina Di Marco and Luigie “LUGO” Gonzalez and produced by Luigie “LUGO” Gonzalez will be released August 28th via Kendra’s label Oystershell Music via a new distribution deal with industry leader Symphonic distribution. According to Luigie “Kendra had a voice with no limit that needed to be unleashed, and we felt ‘So Fly’ was the perfect vehicle; this is going to be a hit!”.
We get to discuss with Erika about the new single, the video and stay til the end to watch a behind the scenes of the new video!
Hi Kendra, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
– I’ve been doing wonderfully, thank you. Despite the current state of the world around us, KE has been keeping up the momentum and putting some good vibes out there.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “So Fly”?
– I wrote it with Luigie Gonzalez and Gerina Di Marco. Luigie has worked with more than a handful of really notable names, such as Ricky Martin, Barbara Streisand, Madonna and Donna Summer. And, Gerina I’ve enjoyed working many times before since we are both from south Florida. This song, in my agreeable ears, is that global endless summertime smash that just brings out the fun side in everyone. The lyrics are edgy and have a spice to them, and the production is quite bold, so overall it’s very flavorful.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
– There wasn’t a particular situational inspiration when it came to why I wrote “So Fly”. Once the track was heard by my team and myself in the studio, that was the one that peaked all of our interests, executively mine at first. Then, I was having a conversation with Luigie and Gerina, along with the team, and I said I wanted this to go in a very global direction, because when you limit yourself to an appeal, you’re only stopping yourself from realizing the sky is the limit. I’m also a super fan of European house music and that tropical sound merged together.
How was the filming process and experience behind the music video?
– It was wonderful for me because it got me out on the field again, so I felt alive the entire time while filming. Tolga Katas, the producer, and his delightful team made sure my best was brought to the forefront. Everyone was great to work with, and the studio and the location we filmed at made the experience something to smile about.
How was the recording and writing process?
– The writing and recording process was fun. It was my first time working with Luigie, but Gerina had worked with him before so I enjoyed being a part of their rapport and vibing off of that chemistry and connection. They made sure my vocals were up to par with the spiciness of the song.
What was it like to work with Luigie “LUGO” Gonzalez and how did that relationship develop?
– It was the first time working with him, but we had a very fun time joking around and making music while doing it.
How much did he get to influence the song?
– He produced the whole track “So Fly” is based on, so it’s pretty safe to say he influenced a pretty good amount.
What role does Boca Raton / Florida play in your music?
– Boca Raton is my hometown and one I am happy of being from. The love and support Boca has given me has given me great mental tenacity to create and thrive.
How has our current times with the quarantine influenced your writing?
– I came up with this saying. “The noise had to die, so the music could come alive.” Even though the world has quieted down, I feel I was/am able to hear ideas more clearly, and since we’re in revolutionary times, I have always wanted to make a genuine and pioneered difference in our generation, so I’ve found myself in a very paralleled position creatively.
Does this new single mean we can expect an EP or LP in the future – if so how’s that coming along?
– If the earth really shakes in 2021, you heard it from me first.
Are there any tentative release dates or titles in mind for your future project?
– I have some ideas in mind for sure.
What else is happening next in Kendra Erika’s world?
– I can’t wait for the actual world to open up again. As far as my world goes, everyday is “So Fly”. Hashtag download it.