Kristen Rae Bowden is an amazing artist who is setting stones for herself as a newcomer in this industry. She released an immaculate album titled “Language and Mirrors” with 11 memorable tracks on this project. Kristen Rae Bowden doesn’t plan on being a temporary hitmaker. With the type of music she has been consistently releasing, we’re sure her status in the music industry is going to remain elite and long-term. That’s if, she continues keeping the ball rolling as she has been! For some artists, it takes quite a while for me to fall immensely in love with, however with Kristen Rae Bowden, she has this way of attracting you instantly into her vibe, attractive brand, and trailblazing music. We’re almost sure of her ability to captivate a crowd, therefore we are certain that the traction she gains will continue to grow inevitably by the years. Kristen Rae Bowden is an artist you can’t compare to any other artist. She stands in her own lane, separate from the overcrowded industry, yet manages to stand out from the rest. She’s a highly addictive individual who you will find yourself subconsciously wondering what her next move will be or when her next hit will be released. Kristen Rae Bowden is a force to be reckoned with, and we’re excited to see what this powerhouse artist has in store for everybody in the upcoming new year.
Welcome to Buzzmusic Kristen Rae Bowden, let’s talk about your album “Language And Mirrors”. What did this project mean to you as an artist?
“Language and Mirrors” is my first album, the first group of songs I ever put out there for the world to hear. Personally, this is monumental... it’s an ending of sorts, as the achievement of that long-held goal, to make a record! But mostly it’s a beginning, an introduction. Aside from its significance as my debut, “Language and Mirrors” is an exploration of the many faces and reflections of love. My relationships in my twenties seemed like a hall of mirrors... fragmented but revealing. These songs are honest musings on my most vulnerable, emotional moments as a young woman. I will always be able to look back at the person I was then, because of this music. As an artist and a human being, this means the world to me.
Was the arrangement of the tracklist intentionally put in chronological order? If so, what was the motive behind it?
I spent a lot of time ordering the tracks for this album, so thank you for asking! Haha... no, the tracks aren’t in chronological order according to when I wrote them. In fact, I wrote track 1 in 2015 and track 8 in 2005, just to give you an idea. However, I did want the songs to be chronological in an emotional way, to tell a story lyrically and musically. Even though I wrote them over the span of a decade, and they’re about many different relationships (romantic, familial), I wanted them to have the arc of a cohesive narrative. “Language and Mirrors” starts out with a triumphant song, ebbs and flows through some longing, defiance, anger, and revelry, and finishes with a poignant ballad that sounds very much like an ending. (in my life, it really was). I arranged them to make them feel, altogether, like the story of one relationship, which ends at the end of the record.
Which song off “Language And Mirrors” was the most challenging for you as an artist to create and why?
“My Father’s Daughter” was the most challenging song for me to create. Well actually, half of it was easy... I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote the first and second verse and the first chorus, exactly as it is, like from a dream. When I read it the next morning, my first thought was wow! My second thought was, how the hell am I gonna finish this?! I hope I dream about the rest of it tomorrow night! Haha. When I write part of something I really like, sometimes I freak myself out about finishing it, because I don’t want to muck it up. When that happens, writing becomes an exercise in really letting go of my thoughts and anxieties, thinking deeply about what I want to say, and then not thinking about it at all. I liken it to leaving the door open, so the words can find me. If I work too hard on finding them, my left brain takes over and the results seem forced and awkward.
With “My Father’s Daughter”, the rest of the words did come in, and I’m proud of the song’s cohesiveness. Coincidentally it was also the hardest song to record because I wanted to do it in one take, it’s the most emotional song for me to sing, and I didn’t leave myself many places to take a breath! I love how it turned out in the end.
All 11 songs are amazing! But we must ask, which is your personal favorite and why?
Thank you! “Solid Ground” is my personal favorite. I just love the melody line of “oh my heart like the fallin’ maple leaves...”. I sing it to myself sometimes without meaning to, especially in autumn. It kind of haunts me in a lovely way. “Solid Ground” has some of my favorite sonic ingredients: sawing Americana Fiddle with electric guitar power chords, rhythmic piano, folky mandolin, rock drums, and stacked vocal harmonies. I grew up in the mountains, and bluegrassy musical elements will always sound like home to me, but my heart lives in rock music. This song satisfies both. I also love that my brother Richard Bowden played the sawing fiddle, and my sister Amy Bowden sang harmonies with me. It’s pretty awesome when it’s truly a family affair.
How would you describe your creative songwriting process for this album? Were there any specific moments that you found challenging?
When I’m feeling inspired or upset about something (or both), I go to my piano and just sit there and doodle around until I play a little something that I like. Once I find a piece of music that I want to play again, I do. I play it over and over until a few words come with a little bit of a melody. It starts there, and if I’m lucky, blooms quickly into a song. That’s how I wrote most of the songs on this album. When I was writing this record I didn’t have a lot of “tools in my toolbox” to get me out of a writer’s block situation. I abandoned a lot of ideas. Now that this record is out, I’m experimenting with new methods of finishing songs that don’t finish themselves. These songs mostly came out whole, and I didn’t think they needed a lot of editing or tinkering. I mostly just left them alone, for better or worse. One of the songs, “It Isn’t About You”, I wrote as a stream-of-consciousness poem first, before I had any music involved. So in that case, I had all the lyrics, and I needed to find music to fit. That was a bit of a challenge. I think that’s why that song doesn’t have a defined verse and chorus. I like how it turned out, though! And I think as a songwriter, whenever you find that you can write in a different way, that’s a good thing, ‘cause you’re gonna need it in case you get stuck. More “tools for your toolbox” :)
This decade is finally coming to a close and a new one is opening, what are you expecting from yourself in 2020?
In August of this year, I recorded the beginnings of my next album with a new group of musicians. I’m ridiculously excited about the results. So the first thing I’ve got my eyes on is finishing my next project and coming up with a good business plan for its release. Speaking of business plans, I always expect myself to continue learning about the rapidly changing music industry, so I can craft smart, creative ways to share my music with the people who will want to hear it. It’s a whole separate thing than creating the music itself. I want to do a solo tour in 2020 and play my songs stripped down to just a piano and me. I like that they sound good naked. Haha! And above all, as usual, I challenge myself to become a better songwriter. It’s a new decade, and I’m in a new place in my life. In many ways, I’m a different person than when I wrote “Language and Mirrors.” The world certainly seems different to me. I want to comment on what I see happening around me, learn to write stories that are not my own, and continue to lay bare my heart for anyone to listen to.