Indie pop's KINLEY Expresses Her Heart on New Album (premiere) (album stream)

Photo: Denis Duquette / Courtesy of Auteur Research

Acclaimed singer-songwriter, string player, and activist KINLEY comes full-circle with her sophomore LP, reflecting on several outstanding moments in her life.

While Kinley Dowling may be best known as part of the world-touring indie rock ensemble Hey! Rosetta, the Canadian singer-songwriter is also a prolific solo artist and activist. Operating under the KINLEY moniker for her indie pop project, she is following up on her solo project's 2016 album, Letters Never Sent, with a suitably self-titled sophomore outfit due to release on 21 February. The glue that holds KINLEY's songs in a cohesive whole is the artist's adventurous heart. Decorated with lilting tones of textured folk, rock, and pop, KINLEY feels fully realized on the project's self-titled effort. On each track, she reflects, "My songs are always very personal. I write as if it's my diary."

Reminiscing further, KINLEY shares a track-by-track reflection with PopMatters. Album opener "Run With You" is a dedication, "to a musical hero, thanking her for her music in my life". "Tuesday's Child", meanwhile, is "a letter to my high school self reminding me whatever is bothering me to dance it off".

Regarding "Lightworkers", KINLEY says, "I wrote this song for my best friend Chrissy and her fiance Ryan. It's their love story, combined with Ryan's cancer journey."

"Take It From Me", KINLEY tells PopMatters, "is a reflection of a past relationship. It was a secret relationship since he already had a girlfriend. I thought it could work out. I was naive. This song is a piece of advice to anyone thinking they're in love in a love affair. 'You're better off waiting for the real thing."

Regarding "The Quiet One", she says, "I was selectively mute as a child. I was always shy and quiet. I had a couple of close friends I would whisper to, and they would speak to everyone else for me. Now I've found my own voice through songwriting."

On "The Man in the Sea", the artist states, "This is about a tragic event that happened over Christmas time last year. I showed a friend who teaches songwriting, and she said it could be viewed as a song about love lost."

KINLEY reflects on "Washington". "After attending the Women's March in Charlottetown on 21 January 2017, a friend of the family told me I should go write about what we saw. I went home and watched hours of live footage from the Women's March in Washington happening the same day. I wrote this song to do my part in the fight for equality."

Lastly, on "I've Got Money Coming", she says, it's "a mantra to myself that there is money coming. Being in the music industry, or any arts industry is a difficult one but so rewarding. Especially when a cheque arrives! Haha."

"Initially, I just wanted to have a theme, but in the end, naming the album KINLEY was perfect. The songs are about things in my life that have happened, and I am excited to invite people into my mind and life."

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