I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one hell of a shit storm. However, every cloud has a silver lining and so much incredible music has been born during a time people would rather forget. One of our 2020 artist discovery highlights, Redd, is back with her heavy dose of nostalgia and distinctive retro indie-folk sound on new single Heavyweight. You’re immediately launched into a finger-clicking, toe-tapping melody with a languid groove and Redd’s expressive vocals and playful lyrics. It’s thrilling, slightly dark and feels as if it were conceived in a vintage era with Redd having an absolute ball performing it. Her siren vocals and instrumentals lure you in until you’re dancing around the room lost in happy thoughts. What a song to round off the year.
“This song features a “monster” figure that appears throughout my album, Monsters & Mothers. The song is upbeat, and folk/swing/jazz-inspired. I pulled much inspiration from The Doors when composing this piece. The gist of the song is becoming stronger through downfalls and experience.” – Redd
We caught up with Knoxville singer-songwriter Redd to find out more about this intriguing new single, why the quarantine has proven to be a positive time for her personally and what she has planned for her new album out in 2021.
How would you describe your musical style to new listeners?
I would describe my musical style as Indie/Folk with splashes of blues and jazz throughout.
Tell me about your new single Heavyweight
From a recent Instagram Post:
In my final years at college, I took a Shakespeare class with Rob Stillman, one of the best professors I’ve ever experienced—looking back, I wish I would have taken his class on Shakespeare’s later plays 💔
“𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝘆𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁” is based on 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘝𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘦, or rather my experience and takeaway from this reading and insight that Rob instilled in us.
Portia, the protagonist, represents the 𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗳𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗺𝘀𝗺𝗮𝗻 to those, particularly men, in her life—a play before its time—and must disguise herself as a man, to save her own life (mentally, emotionally) as well as Antonio’s. A woman. A helmsman. A leader. Though, disguised. Something we, women, still struggle with today. (Not to mention the Anti-Semitic tones throughout, and the question thereof).
Perhaps 𝗜 𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 and the situation too much—but this play, and the pieces within, caused me to reflect on my situations, as the person I was those couple of years ago.
We each have our own “𝗰𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗲𝘁𝘀” to choose from—OH—that’s another aspect: While saving the life of another man, her free will was literally “willed” off. Portia’s father, in his will, devised small chests, or “caskets,” (lead, silver, and gold) as a way to keep 𝗴𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗱𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝗿𝘀 away from his daughter 💰 He wanted to ensure that whoever was to marry Portia would do so for her, rather than the inheritance.
The themes are many and extensive in this play. And I am conflicted most by the topic of Portia’s representation in the text—I was wrought with anger when first reading, but now I have a sense of peace.
After such a long-winded post, I hope that made some sort of sense—I hope I show through “𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝘆𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁” a connection to my life and that of Portia’s, however, romanticized. Read this play if you have a moment: It will change you❣️
Be aware of the monsters in your life—no matter how 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘵𝘭𝘦 they may 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭. It matters.
What was the inspiration behind it?
See above 🙂
Can you give us some insight into your debut album,Monsters & Mothers?
I didn’t realize I was creating an album until, well, I was creating an album. I finished playing a gig at what was Casual Pint, a local pub in downtown Knoxville, TN, and I divided my setlist into covers and originals–I ended with originals–and I usually never created setlists (and still don’t) like this. But as I was going through all of my originals in one chunk, I realized that I consistently wrote about revolving mother figures in my life, or lack thereof, and situations or people that were deemed “monsters.” I wrote the album title in my book that night.
What lyrics, written by you or otherwise, have resonated with you?
In composing my album, Monsters & Mothers, I’ve found solace in Hayley Williams’s latest album Petals for Armor. She actually was my most listened to artist per Spotify’s 2020 review. I really resonated with her song “Cinnamon.” She captured that perfect medium of being alone, but not being lonely, and I think I’ve always struggled in finding comfort in being alone. I’m exploring similar topics in my current album.
Is there a hidden meaning or message in any of your music?
I actually don’t know if there is a hidden meaning or hidden messages in my music. I think only the audience will be able to shed light on this once additional songs are released or the full album is out. I will say that many monster figures that appear in the album are from my earlier life with my biological mother and my first relationship that turned sour.
Why the name Redd?
My parents had a sense of humor–kidding–hah. Honestly, this was a nickname that my boss from Rush’s Music, my old stomping ground, and my real first job, gave me. My name tag and everything said “Red,” but I later changed it to “Redd” for branding purposes. Now, most people don’t even know my real name.
What challenges do you face in the music industry today, particularly in light of COVID-19?
Honestly, for me, the quarantine that is associated with COVID-19 has been the silver lining to my growth in music and my social media. I am a high school English teacher. I work four jobs currently. I don’t think there has ever been a time after turning fourteen years of age that I haven’t held a job or multiple jobs. In full transparency, I can’t survive on teacher pay alone. So, when we were forced to quarantine in Tennessee, for the short time that it was, my full-time job transitioned to music. It was honestly glorious. I still feel a little teacher-guilt for wanting to go back to that.
And what have been your biggest highlights over the past few years?
Honestly, the biggest highlight over the past few years occurred in March–when we were in quarantine–I officially started my social media journey in music. I invested in Adam Ivy’s Music Marketing class. I invested in my followers and supporters. I invested in myself.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear? I suppose that would have to be drowning, haha. I am not the strongest swimmer.
In terms of music, I fear that I’ll lose momentum over time; this is all extremely tiring, but well worth it. I’m worried that based on my current work schedule, and bills, that I will become overwhelmed with work and put music on the backburner. I can’t let that happen again.
What would your superpower be?
Hmm. This is a hard one. Hah, as an English teacher, my superpower would have to be being able to grade all essays at one while simultaneously leaving meaning feedback and commentary.
For fun, I would love the ability to be anywhere at any point and time–so, yeah, teleportation.
If you could go back in time to any era of music, where would you go?
I would 100% go back to the late sixties to mid-seventies. I am absolutely obsessed with artists like CCR, Janis Joplin, Françoise Hardy, Nancy Sinatra, Tom Petty, The Doors, and so on.
What’s next for Redd?
Of course, I’m going to keep putting out tunes for my album. But I have some other big things that I’m not allowed to talk about yet 😉
Redd’s new single Heavyweight is out now.