Breaking Out of Buffalo: A Word with Kerry Fey
Kerry Fey discusses her roles in various women’s projects, what has brought her inspiration musically, and her enthusiasm towards growing her audience.
July 26, 2019 - Interview and article by Lissa Roads
Whether you’ve seen her with her signature pink acoustic guitar at Pine Apple Company, Mohawk Place or Nietzsche’s, or you’ve been lucky enough to have caught her in the act with the Glam Vamps Burlesque Troupe; Kerry Fey proves she’s a renaissance boss babe pretty consistently. If you haven’t had the chance to see Fey’s artistry then your ticket to the Big “G” Jam on August 9th and 10th is the perfect opportunity. Fey recently joined me at a local Buffalo cafe to discuss her professional and personal development in music and in life.
LR: I’ve seen you perform around Buffalo a lot, is the Big “G” Jam a new experience for you?
KF: Yes, besides the Infringement Festival here in Buffalo, the Jam will be my first time performing at an all day music festival. It’s exciting to get outside of Buffalo, there’s a scene in every area of Western New York and I’m ready to explore what others on the bill bring to the table. Events like this foster exposure and it goes both ways, I get to experience some artists for the first time and vice versa.
LR: You’ve put out one album, Apocalypse, Baby!, are you working on anything new?
KF: The album turned 2 in March and is something I’m still very proud of. There have been a lot of transitions happening in and around my life over that time and it’s started to slowly turn into new work. I’ve got at least 2 completed songs, and three that are in the beginning stages. I don’t have anything in production like the album at this time, but I’m always considering the prospect.
LR: The songs on Apocalypse, Baby! (like Creepy Man) carry a feminist theme, for someone stumbling upon your set at the Jam, what do you want the take away to be?
KF: I’ve coined myself as a singer-songwriter specializing in cheeky folk punk, or better yet Taylor Swift’s weird punk sister. You say the word punk and it immediately brings to mind things more alternative than a woman with a pink guitar, but I like to think that I’m still “sticking it to the man”. When it comes to content, my feminist core isn’t going anywhere, but I do believe there’s room for growth and change inside of one’s beliefs. Learning how to reflect on my experiences through my music is a cathartic and interesting journey to share with audiences both familiar and new.
LR: Do you mind elaborating on some of the transitions you mentioned earlier and how you see that influencing your music?
KF: The time during which most of the songs on the album were written I was discovering my voice and coming into my own. I was living in the Nickel City Co-op and not only learning, but experiencing what community can do for you as an individual. I’ve moved twice since then, and recently found new full time employment, which brings along with it the task of balancing my music and other activities. When I think about my newer material, I’m finally diving into what I want my story to look like, now that I know I have the ability to share it.
LR: The term ‘work-life balance’ can be one that not everyone can conquer. Especially when music isn’t the only thing you’re involved in. How is that turning out for you, and what other projects are you keeping busy with lately?
KF: I actually find that structure works for my creativity, and having to carve out time for each of my interests has been great. My boss and co-workers are all very encouraging when it comes to the performances, groups and events that I am a part of and that helps a lot. Right now besides performing at the Big “G” Jam, I’ve recently joined as a performance coordinator for the Beau Fleuve Music and Arts Festival. It’ll be taking place at Silo City on August 25th, and you can find out more information via Facebook. Additionally, I’m also working with the YWCA on the 2nd annual BRAva! WNY, an event that helps donate bras to women and young ladies served by the YWCA, which will take place in the fall. Outside of those things, I do performances with Sugatush & the Glam Vamps, a buffalo burlesque group and can usually be found collaborating with other Buffalo artists at the drop of a hat for both fun and charity causes.
LR: You really do a lot in Buffalo and a lot creatively, how do you handle downtime, if that’s even a thing?
KF: Along with things like the new job, and a new living space, I’ve given myself room to make new habits when it comes to self-care. It’s important to know when you need a night in, and even though I still sit with FOMO (the fear of missing out); I know that if I decide to crash early some nights, it means I can be the best me possible when I’m able to attend other events in the future. It’s taking a hint from “You’re More”, a song from Apocalypse, Baby! that digs into that anxiety and insecurity of not being enough. I wrote that song as much for others, as I did myself. A reminder that whatever we can do (including caring for ourselves when tired and drained) is more than enough, and embracing that is important.
LR: Knowing where an artist derives their presentation and sound from can sway folks to hang out for a set. Who do you consider to be your influences?
KF: Musicians like Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley and Josh Ritter have influenced my sound, helping show me how to vulnerable and honest in my music. When it comes to performance and how to bring the music home to a crowd I enjoy taking cues from My Chemical Romance, Niko Case, as well as Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs.
LR: I can’t wait to see how the rest of your summer unfolds, both here in Buffalo and after you’re introduced to the great talent coming to The “G” Lodge for the Big “G” Jam. Any last words to leave our readers?
KF: Something I’ve been reflecting on lately is knowing that there are many ways to reach out and make a difference in each other’s lives. I’m remembering to stay inclusive and compassionate in my endeavors and knowing that’s what I have to give right now. The world can be exhausting, but I’m on my way to finding a happy medium between the reality we have to live in and standing up for others and myself. I’m excited to play to a larger audience and to discover new music, new people and new community out at The “G” Lodge. Can’t wait to see you all there!
Lissa Roads is a Buffalo based poet, community enthusiast and world-class hugger. She’s published in My Next Heart : New Buffalo Poetry, hosts poetry and music features at the Alley Cat and loves performing both locally and nationally on the modern poetry circuit. You can catch her making jewelry in the park or hanging out with her super awesome 8-year-old when she’s not using her empathy for the customer service deities.