Kendal Thompson is a singer and songwriter born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. She began singing at the age of three making up songs as she went along. In her early teens, Kendal was shown a new light, being almost solely inspired by Lauryn Hill, began her journey of musical expression. She adopted a guitar her father had purchased years earlier for $10.00 at a local auction and the added musical outlet and freedom of expression took her writing to a whole new level. In 2007 Kendal took a leap and moved to Toronto where she found a home in the folk and indie circuit. Endless shows and several projects later she connected with producer, songwriter, and musician Mike Schlosser of Little Noise Records, and the musical results have formed that basis of all her music since.
Her first EP “One” is available on Apple Music and Spotify and has helped her gain the attention of other Toronto artists, and landed her a feature in John Orpheus’ song “BUTTAHFLY”. 2017 saw the release of the single “Human Feel” with a video by Dylan Mitro (The Zolas), which explores the song’s themes of universal love and acceptance, both of self and of others. In 2018 Kendal released “OK Cool”, a deeply personal collection of songs that picks up where Human Feel left off.
What passion project are you working on these days?
As I am waiting for my new work with my producer, Mike Schlosser to get mixed I have been using this period of space to connect with other artists around the world. Currently, I am working on a couple of tracks with AGGA, a hip hop artist from the UK. I have also been working on a video project collaboration with Caley Holmboe, a visual artist currently living in the Uk as well. I love being able to connect and collaborate with other artists and try to do it whenever I can.
What first inspired you to become a musician? What was your training?
I was naturally drawn to music and expressing myself musically came naturally to me as well. I think my first idea of wow I could actually pursue this was when the Spice Girls came out. What they were doing was so inspiring to me, they made it look like so much fun too. Once I decided I wanted to pursue music as a career then everything really opened up for me in terms of inspiration. I decided I should take singing lessons when I was 12, even though I was too scared to perform. I knew that if I wanted to do this then taking those lessons would be the best first step I could take in getting over that fear. My guitar training began in High School. I was very inspired by Lauryn Hill’s unplugged album and took the guitar class my school offered so I could learn, after that, I followed up with some lessons.
What are some challenges that you have faced while building a career in the arts and how did you overcome them?
A lot of the challenges I have faced in my career had to do with me, I have been very good at getting in my own way. For a long time I wasn’t able to properly self parent which caused me be irresponsible in terms of my choices when it came to practicing, performing and recognizing and seizing opportunity. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I was so full of fear and emotional pain that it was actually hindering my ability to be successful. For me, what helped best was stepping away from friends and the nightlife to turn inwards and discover why I had been self-sabotaging all of these years. I have been working on my music career for a very long time, I have a talented and supportive team, and I’m very naturally talented when it comes to music itself.
Over the years I have put a lot of things at risk because I was living through my pain instead of dealing with it and healing it. I still struggle to make sure I am listening to myself and choosing to take positive and intuitive action towards my goals, I have let members of my team down over the years and I have let myself down. Now, each day I wake up and I ask myself what I can do that would be a positive step for me to take towards my goals and I do my best to make that a priority. Sometimes it’s just writing a poem, or maybe dedicating 30 minutes to playing guitar, I don’t try and overwhelm myself with it being something big all the time, I just choose things that will help me stay open and creative and help me to continue developing my skills. I know that by doing this when I am faced with an opportunity I feel confident I will turn towards it as opposed to away from it out of fear.
What lessons have you learned that has proven the most valuable?
Trusting myself and patience have been the most valuable and at times the hardest lessons I have had to learn. It’s really easy to get caught up in what other artists are doing and what worked for them, we have more than just ourselves at times to worry about and it can be about pleasing our team and pleasing ourselves and what the best business decision would be. The times when I felt something wasn’t right and didn’t listen to myself, I learned from that instead of succeeding from it.
It’s good to be open to the ideas of those you trust around you, but ultimately if you really feel like something isn’t a good decision or just not the right time it is important to listen to that. On top of learning to listen to my inner guide, having patience has always been something I struggled with, but over the years I’ve been able to see that when you’re made to wait, it’s for good reason. Keeping that constant flow of energy of giving and receiving is really important, we can’t give and give and give to a project, it would just exhaust us, so sometimes after we give and wait to receive that energy of work it sometimes takes longer than expected and it can be a struggle to accept that it is in fact coming.
What is your WHY? (why do you do what you do?)
I do what I do to build connections and community. Music has that amazing ability to make us feel seen, heard and felt, when we feel those things from another then we feel connected. I want to build on that not only with my music but with every presentation I make, whether it’s through social media, live performances, or just being in a room. The real reason I felt inspired to choose a career in music was that I felt inspired by connection. A connection was made with me and that showed me that I could do this or anything else I choose. To me, the connection is a spark ignited within someone. If I can connect with you or anyone else through my music then it would go on through you and touch others. When we feel connected by being seen, heard, and felt by others then we can build community and when we build community anything can be achieved and everyone can be a success in their own right.