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Kendall Payne

CBN.comKendall Payne has created yet another masterpiece! Her songwriting is deep and meaningful. Her voice is tender yet hopeful. Paper Skin will quickly become a soundtrack for your life and its songs will continue to inspire countless listeners for years to come.

Getting her start at the young age of 17, Kendall Payne was signed to Capitol Records (EMI) and released her first album Jordan’s Sister in 1999, which was later picked up and distributed by Sparrow Records (EMI). Over the next several years Payne worked tirelessly touring with The Lilith Fair, Dido, Third Day, Delirious, and many others, and seeing the use of her music in movies such as Never Been Kissed and TV shows such as Popular and Felicity. With an extensive touring history under her belt, a Dove Award for "Best Alternative Album of the Year", and over 100,000 units sold the future was looking bright.

That is until a regime change at Capitol Records left Payne without label support, which is the "down and dirty" way of saying… she got dropped.

Entering a dark and trying season of disillusionment Payne still managed to channel her emotion into song. With the financial backing of her friend Zachary Levi (NBC's Chuck), Payne’s second project Grown was released independently in 2004. The release garnered tremendous critical accolades and unusually impressive sales, success and exposure that boomed after Payne’s song “Scratch” was featured in an episode of ABC's hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

Regardless of these successes it remained unclear what Payne’s future would hold. Without any interest from major record labels she wondered if she’d ever get the chance to make another album. However, with the encouragement of family and friends Payne began to embrace her identity as an independent artist and began to revel in its potential. She recounts, “I once had a great philosophy teacher who told me, ‘If an eagle only has one strong wing it won’t be able to fly very high. It will need to strengthen its weaker wing in order to reach new heights.’ Now I appreciate the uphill road I’ve had to climb because it’s made me develop the sides of my personality that weren’t so strong. I am a better person because of it; how could I be anything but grateful?”

After receiving a piano as a gift from her husband in early April of 2006, Payne decided to set aside her acoustic guitar and tickle the ivories for a season. “It’s kinda funny,” Payne recalls, “I decided to learn piano because I wanted to have a Christmas party. Sounds strange, but it’s true. I love singing carols and they sound much better on piano. So everyday from April to December I would practice ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Silent Night’, and a host of other classics. My neighbors weren’t too happy come mid-July, but my party guests were very impressed come December!”

Having played guitar all her life Payne began to feel that her songwriting had grown predictable. However, the novelty of a new instrument awoke her creativity. “I let my heart, not my head, find the melody.” Before too long the demos for “Paper Skin” were compiled and with a newly inspired confidence Payne headed into the studio with producer Tim Schoenhals.

The album took approximately three weeks to record, mix, and master, with most of the vocals and performances being recorded in just one take. “My last two albums took the better part of a year to make. I simply refused to do that this time,” states Payne.

The title of the album Paper Skin does not mislead, for it is by far her most honest work to date, replete with universal, life-inspired themes of love, loss, failure, spirituality, and the unrelenting hope of the human spirit. What makes Payne's music so special and so well-received and respected is her uncanny ability to weave life's most commonly shared experiences into some of the most brilliant lyrics and most moving melodies. Her music is nothing less than amazing and nothing but apropos, it is the soundtrack for life!

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