We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenedi Griffis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenedi, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor you could possibly invest in and that has proven time and time again to be the driving force behind almost all of the success I have experienced is relationships. There is no substitute for relationships. I am blessed to have been surrounded by a great community who champions my music in their day to day lives. There are people in my life who will offer their resources, who help me with campaigns for releases, who will jump on social media to advertise my shows, who will play my music in their shops and businesses – the list goes on and on. Ultimately, those relationships and that kind of support is irreplaceable and is vital when you’re a small artist. I have learned that I cannot do this alone, trying to do things on your own is not sustainable. Every time I build a new relationship or one of my existing relationships helps establish a new relationship, I am able to sit back and watch measurable growth take place. I would not be where I am today had people not come alongside me and I am confident that any future growth will be largely due to both existing relationships and new ones.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
If I had to pick something that sets Okay Kenedi apart from others it would have to be the random group of people we take with us. We load up a team that consists of way more than a band when we have a show or event to perform at. I absolutely love taking people with me. Because community and relationships have played such a big role in my life, I like to use my platform with Okay Kenedi to offer that for other people. We are always open to people who want to tag along for a good time.
Where we are today collectively is a cumulation of community, hard work and God’s favor. It has by no means been easy; it may be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. It requires a lot of sacrifice, intentionality and patience. It challenges your commitment and requires you to become an exceptionally adaptable team-player. We have had weeks where we have been booked for several great shows only to turn around and lose all of them based on circumstances totally outside of our control. I have learned to hold on to things loosely and be grateful for every opportunity I am given. I have also learned to put my trust in God’s timing, because my idea of how things should go or will go is usually wrong. Most of all, I have learned to relax and be where I am. For a long time I lived with one foot in the future and I often neglected my present. Recently, I’ve learned that every day I have is precious and I will never be able to get these moments back. I have adapted a disciplined that allows me to take care of myself better and be more present with my friends and family. I don’t say “yes” to everything anymore, I have learned to prioritize and value my time.
If I could send a message out to the world regarding Okay Kenedi it would be to tell them that the music I write and the content my friends and I create is meant to showcase life with better options. I want to put on display my little rag-tag group of friends who all found each other through the most unlikely circumstances and demonstrate that choosing to love one another regardless of anyone’s past or present hang-ups is always worth it. Okay Kenedi was always meant to be a beacon for all the lonely misfits who are looking for a home; that drives the music I write and influences how I approach shows.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a big coffee drinker so my go-to will always be to introduce people to my favorite local coffee shops. If we wanted to hang out and sit down for a while, I’m taking them to Because Coffee in Dawsonville. If we want to hit up a little hole in the wall with phenomenal coffee to take back home, I’m taking them to Blue Mountain Coffee in Cumming, GA.
I’m a bit of a healthy eater so Salata in the Halcyon (Cumming, GA) has become one of my new favorite restaurants; I would definitely recommend it for lunch. I’m also a big Marlow’s Tavern fan, so we would head there for dinner.
Outside of music, I oversee a free college and young adults co-work space in Cumming, GA called The Porch hosted by First Baptist Church in Cumming. It’s open Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 2-8PM. My friends and I are there every week playing card games, volleyball, making homemade tacos or sipping on coffee and hanging out on the porch. If someone was visiting with me from out of town, I wouldn’t let them leave without bringing them with me over there.
Finally, can you really let a friend visit without a recreational Target run?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people I could shoutout but I think a huge contributor to my success so far is Because Coffee in Dawsonville, GA. I know its an unlikely partnership – an alternative pop artist and a coffee shop – but it has been instrumental! Doug Cole, who runs Because Coffee, is probably the biggest supporter of Okay Kenedi outside my immediate family and friends. He let me play my first show in his shop. He supported my first EP release by advertising a deal in his shop where you could get a discount on a coffee if your pre-ordered the album – that EP ended up charting #9 on iTunes Pop Albums on release day. He also landed me an opening spot for Mike Maines & The Branches when they passed through town on their tour this summer which helped establish not only a relationship my band has been able to pull from, but gave us some credibility to be able to book bigger shows. I know he plays my music in his shop and there’s a little standing table inside with Okay Kenedi merch you can buy anytime. He’s an amazing guy and will probably never know how much his support has meant to my band and I.
Other: TikTok: @okaykenedi
Micayla Wise, Haley Mewborn, Lost Sonder Photography