Florida-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist Kendra Morris. As a musician, Morris can trace the origins of her music career to discovering the joys of multi-tracking and harmonizing with herself on a karaoke machine in the closet of her childhood home. She then went on to play in cover bands in her home state before relocating to New York with her band, which played her original material. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Around that same time, Morris was one of my bartenders at The Library Bar on Avenue A in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Also Megasus is the best bar mascot ever. Megasus forever.)
That band split up and Morris dealt with the aftermath by writing material alone on an 8-track in her closet. Sometime after, she met longtime collaborator and producer Jeremy Page and signed to Wax Poetics, who released her full-length debut, 2012’s Banshee.
Morris self-released 2016’s Babble and went on to collaborate with the likes of DJ Premier, 9th Wonder, MF DOOM, Czarface, Ghostface Killah, Dennis Coffey and Dave Sitek among others. And while being a grizzled, New York scene vet, Morris’ work generally embodies a broader sense of American culture, drawing from a wide array of influences across music and film dating back to the mid 20th Century.
The Florida-born, New York-based artist’s long-awaited sophomore album Nine Lives is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through Karma Chief Records. While being her first full-length album in a decade, the album represents a major turning point in her life both professional and personally: The album for her heralds the beginning of a new chapter; an evolution to the next level of adulthood; and the first on her new label. Interestingly, Nine Lives‘ material reportedly encapsulates moments from what could easily be nine lifetimes lived over a chronological time period — or nine lives lived simultaneously in parallel and convergent realities in the multiverse.
Nine Lives‘ latest single “Penny Pincher” is a slow- burning ballad centered around a gorgeous yet spectral arrangement of strummed guitar, Morris’ soulful and achingly plaintive vocals and bursts of atmospheric keys. And at its core Morris expresses the regret, heartache, acceptance and steely determination that comes from a relationship that has reached its inevitable end.
“”Penny Pincher” is the moment of reaching the end of the road with someone,” Morris explains. “They have no idea that you’re already there and you’re just adding pennies and dimes up both literally and metaphorically until you have the strength to leave. I can speak from experience regarding this situation.. unfortunately multiple times. It is the worst feeling. Limbo is indeed a circle of hell.”