Kerri Powers is a singer, songwriter, and musician, and she has just released her latest album, Starseeds. I’m so honored and delighted to have her on the show this week to talk about her creative process, about getting honest and telling your truest story, and about how music is a connecting force.
It was a real treat getting to speak with Kerri, who is as soulful as the blues music that she writes and loves. What I love about Kerri is her deeply intuitive nature. She’s “present” like no one I’ve ever met, truly in the moment with you, and speaks her heart.
Kerri opens up about her love of blues, sharing that it resonates with her soulfully. I can relate to this, as part of the mission of the show is to talk about what happens when someone chooses joy, even in the most improbable and difficult times in their lives. There’s a deep truth we each can find when we “go there,” into the dark, into the hard stuff, and see what’s waiting. Kerri gets this too, sharing that “there’s a lot of beauty in darkness and joy that comes from it. We have to hit rock bottom to find true joy.”
Starseeds by Kerri Powers is a beautiful album that has a hauntingly gorgeous sound to it. I heard bits of Patty Griffin (When it Don’t Come Easy). They are songs that (as I say in the interview) I can “fall into” – they are deep and wide in meaning and in musicality. Her voice is a balm and her lyrics speak to things I can relate to on a soulful level. My favorites on the album are “Somewhere on the Vine,” and “Free Bird Flying.”
Inspiration: Connecting from an honest and authentic place.
Much of what Kerri shares about her creative process, which is one of my favorite things to ask about when speaking with musicians, artists and entertainers, is that she strives to connect from an honest place. “If songs are written from an honest place, they connect,” she says, “Don’t shut things out. If it’s your truth, it will touch people in the right way. Work through the uncomfortable feelings.”
Her wisdom here is something each of us can take to heart. So many of my clients are drawn to work that is vulnerable in some way, whether it be podcasting or writing, or leading at work. Stepping into a role that is more visible is always going to be more vulnerable.
The key is that you have to work through the uncomfortable feelings to get to that place of connection. While in the beginning, it might not feel like any one is watching / noticing / listening, you will connect. You will find your right people. Kerri shares that when that happens with a song, it’s almost as if you are reflecting a person’s truths back to them, or sometimes, transporting the person to another place that feels like home.
Kerri talks about writing the song “Free Bird Flying,” which is about her mother. As a visual artist, she sees vignettes of moments as she writes the music. She told me that she wrote this song in two phases, knowing that after she wrote the first two verses that the work needed to rest. Then, in France, the song came back to her and she wrote the last verse. It’s a gorgeous song, that I’ll play at the end of the episode.
I shared in a recent confidence workshop that I felt intensely vulnerable when I first launched my podcast. One way I lessened the uncomfortable feelings was to interview people I knew. My first 5-6 episodes are all conversations with people I had a connection to. The interesting thing is that my first week, my first episode only had 39 downloads. Now that show is the 3rd most downloaded episode. It’s a great reminder that even though the beginning may feel really weird or awkward, it doesn’t mean that it’s not the right thing for you. It may just mean that it will take some time.
In this episode, Kerri Powers and I talk about:
- Her earliest sparks of joy in music, art, and seeing things in color
- Playing harmonica with her mom, and winning talent shows as a child
- Her love of the blues, which she says resonate with her soulfully
- The darkness that can lead to great joy
- That writing and honoring the creative process from an honest place create connection
- Her love of performing live, and the energy and connection that come from that
- Her writing process, which she lets unfold over time for each song
- Advice for those starting out as a songwriter
- Why it’s important to work throught the uncomfortable feelings
- The resistance she’s met along the way, of people not fully understanding her drive and need to do the work she does
- Her thoughts on jumpstarting joy – participating in art, music, and culture, practicing gratitude, and practicing unconditional love