As June of 2020 begins, Helotes, Texas native Kathryn Legendre is enjoying some of her greatest success to date. Here singles “Sit Here & Cry” and “Making It Up” are quickly approaching 75,000 combined streams on Spotify, she is nominated for 2020 Honky Tonk Female at the Ameripolitan Awards and has found a new level on confidence in both her artistry and her songwriting.
While the first five months of the year have altered the plans of many artists, Legendre is continuing to keep stride, releasing two new singles, “One Long Sad Song” and “Waiting in Line” at the end of May as she shifts her focus to honing her songwriting craft as the world navigates through the strange times we are living in.
We chatted with Legendre about the success she’s found over the past year, gaining confidence in her craft, all about her new singles and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Kathryn Legendre: George Strait has always been my #1; he was my first introduction to music in general, and his sound is a constant in my life. As a kid, the Dixie Chicks inspired me to write songs. When I picked up songwriting more seriously after college, Guy Clark became the standard I wanted to pursue. These days, Brennen Leigh, Noel McKay, Kelsey Waldon and James Steinle are just a few of my songwriting heroes.
PC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
KL: I’m not sure I’ve fully realized it. When I began playing music, I made a vow to only continue as long it remained fun. Since then, songwriting has become one of the most fulfilling things in my life, so in the future, I want pursue that feeling more and do less standing in my own way.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your album Old Soul?
KL: I was really excited to record and release a record. Before then, I never thought that opportunity would have been possible for me. At the same time, I was very nervous to expose myself musically and lyrically to people for the first time, including my own family.
PC: “Sit Here & Cry” from your 2019 EP Making It Up has gone on to become your most streamed song on Spotify to date. What do you think it is about that song that has allowed it to connect with listeners the way it has?
KL: That song was written from a very real and personal perspective, so unless people just really love a sad song, I think it’s because there’s something very relatable in the emotion and feelings behind the song.
PC: “Making It Up” is a song that discusses traveling down an uncertain path and finding your way as you do it. How autobiographical in nature is that song? Why did you decide to make it the title track of its EP?
KL: The song is very autobiographical, right down to the line about Mexican beer. The idea came to me during a Terry Allen concert. During recording, I was originally thinking of calling the EP “Sad Songs & Waltzes.” However, after the songs were finished “Making It Up” really stuck out as a reoccurring theme, and seemed to invoke my whole approach to music, songwriting, and (sometimes) life.
PC: You’re just over a year removed from the release of Making It Up, where you had your greatest success to date. How encouraging is it for you to see your success building as you continue to release new music? Is there a level of pressure you feel to match or surpass the success of your previous project as you’re working on new music?
KL: It’s extremely motivating to know that people are connecting with my music, and I’m so thankful that I’ve had any amount of success come from it. However, I believe most of the pressure I feel is self-imposed, so it’s important to keep in mind that I’m only (mostly) doing this for myself at the end of the day.
PC: Your new single “One Long Sad Song” is one of our favorites in your catalog! Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
KL: I tend to find a lot of comfort in sad songs; without explanation, it’s like the music knows exactly how I feel; sometimes I’ll play something on repeat until I feel better. However, I have to be careful when letting that emotion heal me, rather than consume me. Ultimately, it’s a song about leaning into your feelings and finding understanding there.
PC: The subject matter of your second new single “Waiting in Line” feels as if it could be a sequel/response to “Making It Up.” Do you see it that way? If so, was it done intentionally or was it something that came together naturally?
KL: I actually never thought of it that way! To be honest, these songs were nearly finished before physical distancing went into effect in March. Instead of sitting on them, I figured they’d be a natural follow-up to my 2019 EP, and wanted to put them out during a time when people were accessing more digital content/outlets.
PC: The releases of “One Long Sad Song” and “Waiting In Line” come nearly seven years since you debuted yourself with Old Soul. Over that time, what is the the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself along the way?
KL: I’ve definitely gained confidence, not only on stage, but as a songwriter. Over the years, I’ve been able to shape my craft and progress. Plus, I’ve been able to refine and work on goals for my own music (like trying to get Lee Ann Womack to record one of my songs, haha).
PC: You were nominated for 2020 Honky Tonk Female at the Ameripolitan Awards. What does that kind of recognition mean to you? Is there a certain level of validation that comes with earning that nomination?
KL: I was surprised, but so honored to receive that nomination; not only to have the consideration of Dale Watson and his team, but to also meet and be in the same category with musicians I really respect. As far as validation goes, the Ameripolitan scene is one that treats people like family, and I’m thankful to know I have a place there.
PC: 2020 has altered many of the plans of artists so far. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
KL: Though 2020 altered my plans (and many others’), it’s made me realize that I want to spend most of my energy and the rest of this year on songwriting, my main passion.
*Images courtesy of Kathryn Legendre Facebook page*