As a former member of platinum pop trio Exposé, LA singer Kelly Moneymaker is an incredibly skilled musician with lots of experience in the spotlight.
Now she's hitting the UK with her brand new single 'Skippin Stone' taken from her album 'Stone'.
With intimate session performances throughout the capital in July, Moneymaker has a lot to prepare for. Female First got the opportunity to put some questions to the talent about her material, the future and much more. Read on to find out what she had to say.
First off how best would you describe yourself as an artist for those who may not yet have heard your sound?
Well, I'm kind of like a chocolate cupcake you've accidentally dropped on the ground--I'm a bit gritty, but I taste good! A mix of rock, funk, blues and soul blasted on my home stereo growing up so my sound reflects those influences.
What is it about music that you love?
I love the creative process, from the conception of a song to the final mastering stage. It's a wild ride because sometimes a song turns out completely different from what you expected it might be. Exciting stuff! And I love the communal aspect of music. Recording and performing with my backup band "In The Black" is a joyful experience. Traveling the world and being able to communicate with anyone, everyone by sharing a groove is a privilege.
When did your passion for music really begin?
I sat on my dad's lap when I was two years old and told him I wanted to be a singer when I grew up. I wrote my first song "Far Away" for my grandfather at age eleven. I think I'm fortunate to have known my passion at such an early age.
You were in pop trio Exposé, how does working on your own compare to when you were in that group?
When you're in a group, you share all the responsibilities and you also share a rich camaraderie. Exposé is a sisterhood I am grateful to be part of and I sub for them when they need me. I am deeply enjoying my journey as a solo artist though. Even though there are times I feel like a hat-rack because I have so many roles--songwriter, producer, publisher, newsletter/blog writer, photographer and social media fumbler-I feel I am growing in new ways every day.
What sort of creative process do you go through when you're making new material?
There are songs that come through me as a whole idea. Some tunes come in bits and pieces that will float around in my brain for weeks or months then suddenly, bam! - the song comes together in a flash. I also enjoy collaborating because chemistry with another writer can be magical.
How important is it for you to have creative control over your work?
When I form a project, it's a bit like birthing a child. I want to nurture and honor what's come through me, watch it grow, witness its journey into the world and feel proud when it reaches landmarks. It's also challenging to make a living these days due to streaming and the declining sales of physical product. Being able to license a song to TV, films, games, and movie trailers is one of the few avenues songwriters have left to generate income. Gotta feed the baby!
Tell us about your new single 'Skippin' Stones'.
'Skippin' Stones' is a coming of age song. I'm from Fairbanks, Alaska so I spent a lot of time flinging stones across the waters (I think eleven skips is my record throw). It's also a song about life and how we can either sink or skip through it. This may sound corny, but I think love is the key bit of energy needed to skip across whatever challenges arise in life. It also helps to have a healthy sense-of-humor.
Do you have any definitive aims or goals set for your solo career?
I used to set crazy-impossible goals for myself which was good because I worked hard and learned about who I am as an artist and person. It also caused a lot of unnecessary stress in my life so now I just want to embrace the audience, the experiences and the wonder of what I get to do every day-make music!
If you had the opportunity to choose anybody for a future collaboration, who would you pick and why?
That's an easy one for me because if I could write with anyone on the planet it would be Sir Paul McCartney! He has created a legendary body of work but he is STILL a vital performer and creative artist as was shown in Dave Grohl's documentary, Sound City. I had the honor of singing with Ringo Starr on his 2012 LP and the only way to top that would be to write with Sir Paul.
What are some of your best memories throughout your career to-date?
Well, singing with Ringo Starr was one of them but I've had so many incredible experiences, it's difficult to chose only a few. Hmm... one of my first live performances with Exposé was a televised Music For Our Children fundraiser. I remember standing back stage, feeling overwhelmed by this somewhat surreal experience when Bonnie Raitt came over and asked, "Who Are You?" When I told her my name, she said, "Moneymaker?!" then she took me by the arm and introduced me as her new best friend to Wynona Judd, David Crosby, Marc Cohn and many others. I will never forget her emotional generosity and I pay it forward when I meet up-and-coming artists. Last night, I had a performance in LA with my band, "In The Black" and it was one of the most special nights of my life! My love and respect for every single person on that stage is deep, the audience fully embraced us so it was a love fest. Those are the moments I live for!
Can you tell us about projects and things you'll be involved with in the coming weeks and months?
While I'm in LA, I'll be recording an acoustic Holiday EP with my guitar player, Gabriel Moses and Mike Krompass, who is also a wonderful player as well as producer (Smashmouth, Natasha Bedingfield). And I'm really looking forward to traveling to the UK July 21st through August 16th for acoustic performances and giant bowls of curry!
Kelly will play Fiddlers Elbow, Camden on July 30 and Spice of Life, Soho on August 1.