East Coast artist Wren Kelly talks new album 3:33 & the pursuit of happiness
Wren Kelly is an R&B singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia that brings a hip-hop twist to her music.
Her latest album 3:33 just dropped and I was lucky enough to sit down with her and talk about life, music, and the pursuit of happiness.
“A great look for R&B in The Maritimes.”
3:33 starts with a smooth track about the death of romance. Wren sings about laying in bed with someone and having listen to all their mental garbage. This track has a really cool vibe and leads perfectly into the next song “Bitch I Was Before.” The beat is really nice on this one and is hella relatable content wise. “You taught me not how to love,” is a line that stood out to me because it shows the loss of her innocence and the learned behavior of cruelty.
“Down” gets a bit more funky and showcases Wren’s vocal range with a lot more low end and a rich contoured chorus. She seems alot less jaded on this song and more focused on the possibility of finding someone loyal and how she would down for them if they were down for her. “I Guess” is a great track about ending a toxic relationship and saying good bye to a selfish partner.
“Smoke & Mirrors” is my favourite track. It deals with the facade we present to the world around us and the death of individuality, It asks the question who are we really?
Overall, 3:33 is a really cool album with polished vocals and deeply emotional content mostly dealing with matters of the heart. A great look for R&B in The Maritimes.
3:33 is available for streaming on Spotify and various other digital streaming platforms.
You can check out the album and my Q&A with Wren below.
Q&A: Wren Kelly
HipHopCanada: Where are you from?
Wren Kelly: I’m from the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in the fishing community of Jeddore. Raised on Jeddore Harbour.
HipHopCanada: When did you first get into singing?
Wren Kelly: I remember singing always, but my lack of self esteem and other issues always made it seem impossible to pursue. It wasn’t until I entered a YTV show The Next Star at the age of 12 that my musical journey really began. Until that point, my own parents didn’t even really know the extent of my musical abilities.
HipHopCanada: When did you drop your first album?
Wren Kelly: I released my first EP through Cymba/Chapter Two in 2012. I recorded it in Vancouver when I was 14 years old.
HipHopCanada: How does it feel to be a woman in a male dominated industry?
Wren Kelly: Honestly, I have never considered this to be the case. But I generally feel more comfortable around men/in “male” settings so I guess my answer would be that I feel comfortable. And I think it is an advantage, because being female I am automatically set apart.
HipHopCanada: What does the title 3:33 mean?
Wren Kelly: 333 is considered an “angel number” that suggests you are headed in the right direction, and that there are powerful “angels”/”spirits”/”guidance” helping direct you and encouraging you that you are on the right path. It is actually pretty eerie to me that this is the meaning behind it, as it was not intended for the project to consist of three sets of three songs with three themes. Yohvn Blvck (Who I collaborated with on his first project release Icarus) deserves full credit to the title. He suggested it, and when I looked into it’s meaning I was floored. No other title could suit it better.
HipHopCanada: What was the inspiration for this album?
Wren Kelly: I wrote this project over the course of a year. I had lost many friends both through life and death, I had lost many jobs, homes, and was feeling extremely lost. When I settled on the nine songs I wanted to record to be a part of one project I realized I had somewhat of a theme, but in three groups. Three songs I wrote about being in extreme emotional pain after the loss of intimate relationships. All three of those songs are painful, but have a trace of strength, hope, and general “moving on regardless” kind of message. Three of the songs were written from a place of incredible grief and mourning. One is about a childhood best friend I lost to complications caused by long term opiate addiction; Another is about a friend I lost to suicide; and the third was a combination of friends who’ve passed away, but was prompted by my realization that I had to become stronger to carry on after a friend died in a car accident.
Three of the songs I wrote during a time that I was very low, very lost, but holding on tight to what hope I had, which happened to come from a relationship and the realization that self doesn’t really exist, and can be changed at any given point in time. (Jim Carey actually inspired much of this revelation within me, along with Abraham-Hicks). It wasn’t apparent to me until the completion of the album that the overall message is to keep going, and to find strength and ideas in even the most painful times. It reminds me of sitting very still in a forest fire knowing the rain is coming.
HipHopCanada: Do you have any advice for women trying to breakthrough in the music business?
Wren Kelly: It can be discouraging when you see your numbers. They will sway upwards the prettier you present yourself, and in those times the numbers are often from the male demographic. Keep going. You don’t have to pretty, just keep making art. Don’t listen to men who tell you to write happy songs. That’s the equivalent of a man saying, “Smile! You look much prettier that way!” Fuck that. If you’re sad, make sad art. Men are praised for their openness and honesty with emotions, so why not us too?
HipHopCanada: How did you connect with your producer Dane Richard?
Wren Kelly: Honestly, we’re both just kind of sad, introverted, underdogs. But also heavily opinionated, intelligent, and talented. We butt heads, but we get it.
HipHopCanada: Do you do any voice exercises or routines?
Wren Kelly: I don’t! I know, I should. I will start. Tomorrow, maybe.
HipHopCanada: Do you have any upcoming performances or projects on the horizon?
Wren Kelly: I will be performing in September at a Candlelight Vigil for Suicide Awareness in the town I went to high school in, Musquodoboit Harbour in honour of our beloved and missed Shaymus Higgins. The exact date and time will be posted on my social media outlets in the near future. I have a song in the works with Jeffrey and Chad Hatcher which will be a single release in the near future, it’s kind of a melancholy love song, melodic and catchy which is very Jeffrey and Chad. Other than that, I plan on recording more in the coming fall season and releasing singles throughout winter of 2020.
You can follow @WrenKelly on Instagram.
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