Up and coming folk/pop singer songwriter Mo Kenney will set a high standard for the 2013-14 Blenders concert series when she kicks of the new season on Sept. 25.
Kenny has been generating significant buzz lately on the strength of her debut 10-song, self-titled CD release. Earlier this month she won the Galaxy Supernova Award at the Ottawa Folk Festival, collecting a $2,000 bursary after being voted as having the most outstanding live performance among up and coming talent at the Festival. That accolade is icing on the cake after a year where she won the 2013 SOCAN Songwriting Prize for her single Sucker. She also recently received a quartet Music Nova Scotia award nominations, while earlier this year she was nominated for a CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for Rookie of the Year, an ECMA for Rising Star Recording of the Year, and she made the iTunes Best Singer Songwriters of 2012 list.
"It's crazy the kind of stuff that's been happening. I feel I'm so lucky. It's just one good thing after another," Kenney said this past week before taking to the road for the first eight stop on her 10 date Canadian tour.
The Nova Scotia native admits 2013 has been a whirlwind since the release of her debut album in Sept. 2012.
"I've been doing a lot more touring that I was before, which is great. I've been keeping really busy, so the thing that's changed the most is just how busy I am these days, which is awesome."
The strength of her debut material has also provided her with a series of performing opportunities, including appearing at the Iceland Airwaves Festival.
"It's been awesome. I've got to tour with Joel Plaskett and do stuff like that with him, which is pretty awesome. Not a whole lot of people get a chance to do something like that with someone like him. It's been great. It's been very helpful for me opening up for him."
She credits both Ron Sexsmith and Plaskett for giving her a career push with their efforts and guidance.
"It's an honour to be recognized by these people, like Ron Sexsmith and Joel (Plaskett), it's really cool. It's nice to hear from people who have been in the business for a while and have been successful. It's nice to have their blessing I guess, knowing they like what I'm doing. It makes me feel like I'm on the right track and that I should keep going."
After touring Saskatchewan in support of both Plaskett and Sexsmith, she will now be rolling through the province for her first headline tour, making the trip west along with a backing band. She said her fans can look forward to hearing a richer sound thanks to this backing support.
"It's obviously not as sparse as it would be with me and my acoustic. I feel like I have more freedom to do some cooler kind of things because I can rely on them to kind of fill it out."
She is also looking forward to playing an electric tour, as she first starting playing an electric guitar while growing up.
"I can't wait to go out and rock out a little bit more with my new Gretsch. I like being able to kind of move around a bit more."
Kenney noted that much of the material on her debut release, recorded on Plaskett's New Scotland Records label, are songs which she has been working on since a teenager.
"A lot of the songs on the record have kind of been kicking around for a while. I've been writing all my life pretty much. So when Joel and I went into the studio to do this record, I'd already had a lot of the songs laying around, and it was just a matter of picking from all of them I'd written."
After taking a while to figure out how to write a song, she feels she's unlocked her creativity and has been particularly inspired lately.
"I'm always thinking about songs. I'm always thinking about writing. So I always have that in mind. I'll be out in the world doing something else and then sometimes a melody will pop into my head, or a phrase, and I kind of race home and write it down or record it, and try to extend on that. It's been happening a lot lately where I'll be out and then think of something."
Kenney's Sept. 25 concert at the Lyric Theatre will also feature opening act Julia McDougall. Doors open at 7 p.m., with music starting at 8 p.m.
Any remaining tickets are available at Pharmasave or by calling Shann at 306-778-2686 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org