Jessica: McKenna, thanks so much for doing an interview for TSM. It’s great to have you in the magazine.
McKenna: My pleasure, thanks for having me Girl!
Jessica: What inspired you to get into music? Do you have any other musicians in the family?
McKenna: My parents started me out on piano when I was eight, but I didn’t like the traditional starter piano songs – though I did take piano for about a year and learned the art of reading music. When I was nine my Dad introduced me to the guitar and for Christmas that year my parents bought me my first guitar and it was all over after that. I fell in love with the instrument! My Dad plays the guitar a little, but I’m told that my great grandfather was an amazing musician that could play anything with strings, and all by ear. So I guess that’s where I got my musical talents.
Jessica: I know you wrote your first song at age ten that was featured in Entro Magazine. Tell us about this song and the inspiration behind it.
McKenna: When I was nine my family and I lived near the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina. During the hurricane, a family of captive dolphins were washed out to sea from their aquarium. I wrote a book about this called Riding the Storm Out. This also inspired me to write my first song “When We Were Kings,” which tells the dolphins story of having been captive all of their lives and after being swept from their oceanarium and out to sea now they are The Kings of the Sea! A nine year old’s imagination, I guess!
Jessica: What’s your process for writing lyrics? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
McKenna: My inspiration comes from different life experiences, like boys, relationships, and sometimes just things that are fun and makes you dance. I usually start with a quote or phrase that I like and go from there.
Jessica: You’ve recently released your debut EP Who Knew produced by Grammy Nominated producer Travis Wyrick. Tell us about your EP. What was it like working with Travis Wyrick?
McKenna: Well it’s a three song EP that shows a variety of my lyrical and writing styles. It’s a sort of country cross-over type of genre. I enjoy playing all types of music but I really enjoy country music. That’s where my heart is.
It was so much fun working with Travis on this project. This was my first time in a professional studio and Travis was awesome! He led me through the process and helped me more than he’ll ever know. Not to say that he wasn’t really tough on me, because he was like a drill instructor. But the final product was great and all his “tough love” made me a better musician and writer.
Jessica: You have also performed with various big names such as Michael Kelly Smith (former lead singer Cinderella and Britny Fox), Great White and Firehouse. Wow, I bet all those experiences were amazing. What would you say was your most memorable experience of them all?
McKenna: Probably Michael Kelly Smith coming to my house and jamming with me in my music room. That was an awesome experience! He was such a nice guy and taught me some cool new stuff on the guitar. Meeting the guys from Great White and jamming with them was totally cool too!
All of these guys are such great musicians.
Jessica: Who are some musicians you admire and look up?
McKenna: Some musicians that I look up to would have to include: Faith Hill, Pink, Toby Keith, Michael Kelly Smith, Tom Keifer, Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, Neal Shon, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix and Randy Rhoads. My list could go on and on because there are so many great musicians out there.
Jessica: Your book Riding the Storm Out won the 2006 Mom’s Choice Award and national acclaim. Would you like to write another book? Where can people purchase your first book?
McKenna: Some time in the future I would like to write another book about my music exploits, what happened, who I’ve met, funny things that have occurred and etc. I’ll probably write some books about animals in the future as well. You can find my first book at
Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
McKenna: I love animals and I always try and do anything and everything possible to help them. I have a dog that I rescued from a shelter two years ago and he’s been the best dog I’ve ever had and the smartest! I don’t like animals being abused! I would stop the dolphin and whale harvest that was portrayed in the movie The Cove, and be an advocate for animals.
Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
McKenna: “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.” – Socrates
Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
McKenna: My website is www.mckennaandrews.com. From there you can find out more about me, and there are links to my Facebook, Twitter, purchase links to my music, videos and my YouTube channel.
I have a free MP3 download available from my new cd Who Knew for anyone that wants it at:
Jessica: Thanks again for doing an interview for TSM and wish you all the best with all you do in the future.
McKenna: Thank you for having me, this has been so much fun.