Kelly has been singing for longer than she can remember. She earned her childhood nickname, Kellybird, because of her constant singing, for no one in particular but herself. Having moved around a lot as a kid, she relied on music and singing as a constant through all the change; so it’s fitting that she now calls Nashville home, since it’s such a musical city.
Kelly’s music is intimate and personal, with wryly optimistic lyrics, catchy pop melodies, and a lush mix of stylistic influences from folk to rock to jazz. Her voice is the focal point, with her lilting yet conversational tone drawing comparisons to Joni Mitchell, Jewel, and Regina Spektor. Her indie-folk style, with its dry humor and inventive arrangements, has also been compared to Ben Folds, Ingrid Michaelson, Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple. “I always try to throw something a little surprising into a song, as long as it’s supported by the lyrics—an instrument you might not hear often, or an unusual rhyme, or a unique groove. We used a couple of Indian instruments on this record, the dilruba and sitar, and I think it lends an unexpected sound to the tracks.”
The vivid imagery of dreams and the harsh light of reality serve as the inspiration for Kelly Hoppenjans’ latest EP. Through the five songs on the record, she has constructed a dreamscape of folksy yet unfamiliar sounds, inspired by the likes of Paul McCartney’s Ram, Imogen Heap and early Joni Mitchell. “I always try to throw something a little surprising into a song, as long as it’s supported by the lyrics—an instrument you might not hear often, or an unusual rhyme, or a unique groove. We used a couple of Indian instruments on this record, the dilruba and sitar, and I think it lends an unexpected sound to the tracks.” Dreaming is Easy is Hoppenjans’ second EP, and takes the listener on a colorful yet stark journey through love, heartbreak, betrayal, and hope.
The album’s name is taken from a line in lead single “The Trouble Is Waking Up.” “The song is about a fiery, Bonnie-and-Clyde type of relationship, the kind that you always knew was going to end badly no matter what you did,” she says. It’s intentionally both meditative and stark, to highlight the contrast between the vividness of dreams and the harsh light of reality. They shot the video to have a bit of a suspenseful chase feel, like the credits of a Bond movie. And she aspires to be a thoughtful, unique, witty, introspective singer-songwriter, along the lines of Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, or of course Joni Mitchell.
“I like that the album title and the single title seem like they’re having a conversation with each other–it makes me smile,” she says. “Most of the songs on the album have some sort of dream-like, whimsical imagery, I think partly because I do a lot of lyric writing right when I wake up in the morning and am still half-asleep. The album is eclectic in style and darker than my first album, which I released in September of 2015. I wanted to take more time with this one to explore my sound and allow myself to experiment, so it’s been a long recording process–almost 8 months,” she continues. “I’m so excited to finally be able to share it.”