elsa kennedy is not to be taken lightly.
And frankly, the twenty-four year old singer-songwriter from Cincinnati, Ohio, doesn’t want to be. Upon first meeting, Elsa is buoyant, with a quick, contagious smile; naturally disarming, she exudes a sort of mischievous lightness, which especially blossoms when she is onstage. Her music, however, is strikingly serious. Elsa seems to transcribe raw, unfiltered emotion, be it sorrow or hope, directly into melody and prose; her songwriting teems with stalwart honesty, as does her soaring, often haunting, voice.
It’s also just really, really good.
In 2014, Elsa moved back to her hometown of Newport, Kentucky. She arrived with a portfolio of countless, remarkable compositions, birthed from years of coping with an acutely difficult life. Her only constants were time, fighting to survive, and composing music, and by the age of nineteen, she’d run the entire United states ragged; everywhere she went, whether it was somewhere within herself or a few states over, she wrote. And when she found herself back home, she dove headfirst into refining her craft, with the drive and stamina of a survivor.
In 2016, she released a full-length, live album, ‘Atrial Fibs’; every song was recorded in one take, within one weekend (Subcat Studios, NY). ‘A-Fibs’ was Elsa’s sporadic, musical testament, to the darkness she had spent so many years battling. Shortly after releasing her album, she began attending the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM). She spent one year there, and during that time, her sound matured into something magnificent: focused, piercing, boundary-breaking, and lyrically stunning. It was at CCM that she met Ric Hordinski, an internationally known musician and owner of the Monastery Studio (http://monasterystudio.com/), who would eventually become her producer and guitarist.
After leaving CCM, Elsa began recording a few songs at the Monastery; over the next 18 months, the recordings turned into an EP, and the EP turned into a full record. Renowned musicians came and played for her studio sessions: exceptional bass lines by Byron House and Viktor Krauss; J.S. Bach-esque cello, by Ted Nelson of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; the percussive genius of Joshua Seurkamp, along with intricate electric, acoustic and 12-string guitar, by Ric Hordinski himself. And in the middle of it all, there was Elsa, writing, singing, making the music, into what is now her explosive, yet-to-be-named, debut record.
The record is currently awaiting release. In the meantime, you can find Elsa playing live shows around Cincinnati + The Midwest, and constantly composing.
By R.W., © 2018, Cinti, OH, 45209
‘—— it’s so simple to disregard the way we suffer for the idea
that somewhere far away, we would
be cherished. ——’
- elsa kennedy, ‘mt. vesuvius’
eyes in tandem with the monsoons in my mind
elsa kennedy, ‘INFJ’.