GrandEvolution Tell Me Why Interview

The Original Alternative Rock Group

GrandEvolution is an original alternative rock group from Southern New England. They have performed hundreds of local shows and have shared shows with national artists including Third Eye Blind (Indian Ranch/Webster, MA), Twenty One Pilots, MuteMath, OneRepublic, Fitz & the Tantrum and James Arthur (Magic Hat Stage at Bank NH Pavilion/Gilford, NH), Everclear (Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Festival/New Bedford, MA), Tantric (Greasy Luck Brew Pub/New Bedford, MA).

GrandEvolution can be heard on digital music stations like Pandora and Jango, and on many commercial and college radio stations throughout New England and beyond. As of 2018 they have recorded and released six full length albums, three EPs and various singles. In 2012 their EP Collide was recorded at GrandMaster Studio in Hollywood, CA with producer Will Kennedy (O.A.R), who also produced their 2014 follow up release Hopes & Dreams. The band has received music placements in television shows including The Daily Show and Tori and Dean's Cabin Fever, as well as The PGA Tour and a few independent movies.

GrandEvolution is always working on something new, from writing and recording new songs to making music videos or performing live.

Interview with Sarah Kenyon

Question: How would you describe GrandEvolution's music?

Sarah Kenyon: Our sound is unique but for various reasons we have been compared to -Til Tuesday, The Cranberries, Chrissy Hynde, The Pretenders, Greenday, The Pixies, The Foo Fighters, etc. We definitely don't fully sound like any of these bands, but I can see where people would make the comparisons. I have been called the female Dave Grohl with a voice similar to that of Aimee Mann. Simply I'd describe GrandEvolution as melodic, guitar driven alternative/indie rock with lush angelic vocals. Everything that I write originates on the acoustic guitar, so all these songs translate nicely from rock to solo acoustic.

Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?

Sarah Kenyon: Of the 100 plus songs that I've written, Wake Me is probably my favorite song to play. It's an emotional song with interesting parts and I sense the audience really connects. We released this song as a single in 2015 and this is the only song we have that has never been available on disc.

Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend your show, who would it be?

Sarah Kenyon: I would love for my relatives to attend a show including my sister who is totally blind and sensitive to noise. I have many aunts, uncles and cousins who have never seen or heard us.

Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Sarah Kenyon: I enjoy both but if I had to choose, I prefer recording. The studio is where we can be creative and really collaborate. It's exciting to build the songs up to the best they can be sonically within our ability. When we play live shows, it's just the four of us but in the studio we can invite guest musicians and session players to layer all kinds of cool parts including piano, strings, alternate percussion, vocal harmonies, oohs and aahs, guitar ear candy, etc. I also prefer the studio because if you make a mistake, you can edit the take or re track the part. We now have the luxury of recording at home which is nice because it keeps costs down and we don't have to rush due to time and money restraints. I'd still prefer to do preproduction at home and travel elsewhere to record with a producer and session players. Part of the fun in making albums is traveling and meeting new people. I have some studio guys that I'd like to work at some point and that plays a huge part in keeping me motivated!

Question: What is the story behind the name, GrandEvolution?

Sarah Kenyon: This name was chosen out of the blue, but it has proven to be a very fitting name for the project. Scott and I have been constants in the band since the beginning, but we've seen several bassists and lead guitarists come and go. With each change the band would evolve to sound better and better. In this sense, the name has really worked for us.

Question: How did the band come together?

Sarah Kenyon: Scott and I played in different bands that were both part of the Providence scene until a mutual friend introduced us. In 2002 we formed GrandEvolution with Mike Gendron on lead guitar & Mike Andrews on bass. We had several lineup changes on bass but Mike G, Scott and I held it together until 2008. That's when Mike G. left to pursue his own musical endeavors. At this time, I switched from guitar to bass and had some friends fill in on lead guitar until we could find a replacement for Mike. In 2010 I met Greg Bromberg when one of my best friends married Greg's brother. I discovered that we were into a lot of the same bands and that Greg was a bassist! We exchanged info, set up a jam and a short time later Greg took over on bass and has been with us ever since. Finally, in 2015 we found Ray Celona via craigslist to join us on lead guitar! Our new album -Tell Me Why' features much lead guitar work from original lead guitarist Mike G.

Question: What motivates you most when writing music?

Sarah Kenyon: I'm mostly motivated by pain, struggle, hope and desire! This includes losing people I love, seeing those I love struggle with drug abuse, all the trials and tribulations I've dealt with in the music business, etc. I'm so thankful that I can translate my thoughts to song and I hope that others may be inspired.

Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?

Sarah Kenyon: The Flaming Lips, Kill Hannah, The Dandy Warhols and Mazzy Star

Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

Sarah Kenyon: Soul Asylum and The Cranberries are the two bands that most certainly sent me on this journey!

Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Sarah Kenyon: Butch Walker is someone I'd really like to collaborate with. We could record an acoustic record or a rock record and no matter what I know that the production would be amazing and that the songs would become more than what they were. There are not a lot of vocalists out there that give me the chills when I hear them but Butch does, especially the falsettos. To have his vocals backing mine would be so cool!

I'd also like to collaborate with Noel Hogan (guitarist for the Cranberries). I absolutely love Ireland so traveling there to record an album would be a fun and memorable adventure. Also given that the Cranberries were my first concert and first inspiration, it would be surreal.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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