Houston-raised singer-songwriter, Kendra Muecke aka Kendra and the Bunnies, won’t let something like a pandemic get in the way of her pursuing a career in music.
The artist is riding high after two recent releases that showcase her wide range of tastes and influences, the first major forays in making a name for herself in the industry.
A graduate of Houston's Episcopal High School and daughter of well-known H-town fashionista Beth Muecke, the aspiring musician traveled west to study at Pepperdine University, picking up a bachelor of arts, focusing on acting, writing, and performing. She later attended music production school and set on the Kendra and the Bunnies moniker based on her love of the furry and habitually late Alice in Wonderland character.
“Right after college, I found myself songwriting and I thought, ‘This is exactly who I am," Muecke tells CultureMap from her phone, stuck in Los Angeles traffic. “Everything I had done was coming together — the actor, the singer, the dancer, the guitarist, the writer. All of that culminated in being a singer-songwriter and presenting myself on stage.”
One of her first major projects came out earlier this year, the 15-track full length album called Of Consideration, featuring the rock-heavy single "So Hollywood."
The album, with doses of the Summer of Love floating on a foundation in pop and rock, was recorded at the famed Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco where popular classic rock and psych-rock acts cut their music, including Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane — as well as modern bands and hip-hop artists such as Green Day, Cake, Train, Kanye West, and Tupac.
"I’m so passionate about this era of music," Muecke says. "The ’60s and ’70s is so influential for me that to go up to San Francisco to take the picture for the album cover on Haight-Ashbury Street and record in this famous studio was so exceptionally close to my heart. It was a beautiful experience."
To follow up, Kendra and the Bunnies released an EP in July called, Of Summer, recorded in Nashville with producer Justine Blazer at Ten7Teen Studios that draws heavily on the city’s country influences.
This time around, she worked with a team of songwriters, a system utilized by many up and coming artists in the Nashville scene. The collection of tracks gave her a chance to explore new sonic territory, a throwback to her Lone Star State upbringing.
"Pop artists do this all the time – they go through different phases in their career in different genres," Muecke says. "I feel like I’m really opening myself up to the fact that I’m multi-genre. I’m folk-rock and psychedelic and with these four songs, I’m going to be a little bit pop country, touching back on my Texas roots that shine really well in Nashville."
It's an ambitious start for a fresh name but those moves are paying off in Spotify streams, YouTube views, and three awards nominations at the Nashville-based Josie Music Awards, an industry celebration in which winners based on their talent, skill, material, and professionalism.
She is nominated in the Artist of the Year (Multi-Genre) category, as well as for Best Song and Music Video of the Year for her single, “Self Love Proclamation.”
While the pandemic forced her to perform virtually for well over a year, she finally hit the stage with a full band this past month at the famed L.A. rock 'n roll haunt, The Viper Room. And rather than rest on her laurels, Muecke is planning her next batch of songs, this time veering into mainstream pop with an artsy, folk angle.
Her future plans also include a trip back to her native city with hopes for a hometown live show and the chance to indulge in a few of the things she misses the most about the Bayou City — Whataburger, queso, and blasting some DJ Screw loudly in her car.
"I want to tap into the community [in Houston] to create a way where friends start to tell others about my band," Muecke says. "They know who I am and they know I want to pursue music, but I want to do a showcase where people see me live and go, 'Oh my gosh, I can't wait until the next time she’s in town."