You might reecognize Emily Kinney from her stint as Beth on The Walking Dead (RIP). But Kinney has spent the last few years working on her musical chops, and her fourth album The Supporting Character delves into the songwriter’s relationship with her career and her reflections on life spent under the scrutiny of Hollywood. Most of the tracks are sparsely arranged, allowing for the listener to dive into the lyrical structures and Kinney’s personal storytelling.
To celebrate the new album, Kinney talked Kacey Musgraves, her first tattoo, and crying through a Mariah Carey show in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Confessional, honest, story-telling, fun
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
Fun and helpful.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
My friend Conrad really made me recognize that I was a songwriter and to start investing more time in it, so he was really an inspiration in the beginning. But otherwise, my friends, my romantic relationships, my family tend to be inspiration for my work.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Last week I went to an outdoor dinner with a friend at Brera in Downtown Los Angeles. I ate everything. I had dessert. It was one of the best dinners I’ve ever had. I also hadn’t been to a restaurant with a friend in over a year and I was hungry. Otherwise I’ve had a lot of really yummy, memorable dinners at Sotto Sotto in Atlanta.
What album do you know every word to?
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
I went to see John Moreland at Troubadour and it was so simple but so memorable. He’s so good. I also saw Mariah Carey in Vegas and cried through the whole thing.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
I dunno. But I started wearing these White Rag and Bone boots a while back for shows and I feel like they’ve really improved my stage presence.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
Tiny Toast Crumbs. It’s clever doodles by my friend Hayley. We are actually working on a book together.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
I dunno, depends on the vibe of the day.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
Natural ways to boost serotonin.
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
It was in Cleveland. I don’t want to talk about it. Trying to forget.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
I found the design from one of those gumball machines that gives you temporary tattoos for 25 cents. I kept the temporary tattoo design and on Easter went with my friends to a place in Williamsburg. We got mimosas to celebrate. It was a heart with a music note, naturally. Cause I love music? I was excited about it at the time, now I dunno I guess I still like it but it’s like ahhh,,,litttle Emily.. Think I need a new one. Planning my next one.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
I like so many but whenever I check in on country radio, I’ll usually move on pretty quick unless I hear Miranda Lambert or Maren Morris singing. For pop radio, I always really like The Weekend and Ariana Grande.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My manager took me to get my wisdom teeth out and then went and got my prescriptions and everything. That was pretty nice. A dude I was dating didn’t get my anything for Valentine’s Day this year and it really hurt my feelings and my sister sent me Jeni’s ice cream cause she knew how bummed I was. That was pretty nice too.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
I dunno. I feel like the things I didn’t know, it was important to go through the process of learning the lessons. Practice guitar and piano a little more. I really didn’t realize how much songwriting would become a part of life and the more tools you have the better….I feel like it’s still growing in ways in myself I really didn’t predict. I take my time I guess.
What’s the last show you went to?
I went to see Run River North at The Echoplex in Los Angeles. I had tickets for Delta Spirit at The Teragram Ballroom, but it got canceled the night before and then I never left my house again.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
You’ve Got Mail. I find that movie incredibly soothing. I fall right asleep around Christmas time and wake up for when Tom Hanks bring flowers to Meg Ryan when she’s sick. Then I’m kind of in and out and until the kiss in the park with the dog.
What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?
I wouldn’t cook, I would order something really excellent.
The Supporting Character is out now. Listen here.