Hailing from Nashville, Kelly Hoppenjans isn’t perhaps working within the sounds the city is synonymous with. Kelly started playing guitar aged just 12, yet with a lack of female role models in the media at the time, Kelly was initially cautious about being loud. It was letting go of that idea, that inspired much of Kelly’s debut album, OK, I Feel Better Now. It’s a record that takes concepts of occupying space and being loud and runs with them, kicking off society’s expectations that she be polite, quiet and unobtrusive and instead embracing the physical presence creating sound gave her.
The resultant record is one that isn’t afraid to be loud, yet thankfully doesn’t fall into the somewhat cliched idea of a rock record. Kelly has managed to combine an array of influences, from Riot Grrrl to introspective folk and most things in between. Lyrically, OK, I Feel Better Now, is an album that probes at the stereotypes that still greet women, questioning everything from the damaging, “crazy” ex-girlfriend tag to the reclamation of the power of femininity. OK, I Feel Better Now, is a record about growing up, seeing the world isn’t how you want it, and then refusing to accept that; a modern rebellion and every bit as exciting as that sounds.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Kelly Hoppenjans?
I’m an indie-rock singer-songwriter, influenced by the riot grrrl spirit and the storytelling of folk singer-songwriters. I’m also a voice teacher specializing in healthy vocal technique for belters and the intersection of singing/songwriting voices. My goal in everything I do is to empower people to find their voices and use them to express themselves!
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
I remember it very well! I was living in NYC, fresh out of college and trying to be an actress. I’d started writing songs and I only had 3 originals, so I paired up with a friend from college named Andi Alhadeff and we did a set together at Rockwood. I remember vividly the feeling of people telling me they related to songs I had written, and how I much I loved that I had made those people feel seen. And I was obsessed with writing after that!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I think it comes from my love of singing, which has been my biggest passion since I was little. I love the expressive power that the voice has–it can be raw, vulnerable, strong, and subtle, and convey so many emotions. Feeling my voice fill a room is an incredibly empowering feeling.
FTR: What can people expect from the Kelly Hoppenjans live show?
A roller-coaster–sometimes loud guitars and powerhouse vocals, sometimes quiet, intimate introspection and raw, honest lyrics. You’ll also hear some spoken word poetry that I weave into my songs!
FTR: What’s next for Kelly Hoppenjans?
I’ll be releasing a single or two in the next year, touring, writing as many songs as I can, and diving further into writing poetry.
They Listen To…
Deap Vally – Smile More
Speedy Ortiz – Villain
Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness
PJ Harvey – Dress
Cayetano – Age of Consent (New Order)
OK, I Feel Better Now is out now. Click HERE for more information on Kelly Hoppenjans.