By: Julia Cirignano
I recently had the opportunity to interview Zoë Allaire Reynolds from the band Kississippi. Reynolds painted a picture of her upbringing that resulted in a talented woman with healing powers. Although Reynolds deals with ongoing personal struggles, she explains how she manages to find the good within the cloudy storm which she feels is her life.
Reynolds describes the childhood that shaped her music career, saying, “My mom used to play Cat Power’s Moon Pix on repeat and my dad got me into Liz Phair’s self-titled album. I wanted to be a tough, but soft lady rock star. When my sister got a guitar for her birthday, I was so jealous because I knew she would beat me to it. I begged my mom for a guitar and she convinced me to be a bassist instead. So for my 10th birthday I went to buck out my first bass at Guitar Center.”
Kississippi released their first full album in 2015 titled We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed as a tribute to one of Reynolds’ friends who passed away. Reynolds explains why these words mean so much to her now. “I was hanging out with a close friend from high school a few years ago and we decided to look through our yearbook. He was a really funny guy and an amazing illustrator so I gave him freedom to do whatever he wanted with it. He wrote “we have no future, we’re all doomed” in big bold letters across our class photo. Those words kind of summed up the point I was at in my life. At the time, I was realizing that I chose the wrong college major and I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was at a pretty rough point mentally and didn’t feel like I could do anything else with my life. I had a constant sense of impending doom.”
These lines turned out to be a perfect sum up of both Reynolds personal struggle, and the ways in which her deceased friend will always be with her. “Those words definitely still stick with me. I am always, always afraid of my future. I don’t necessarily look towards it and think it will be horrible. I am kind of terrified of things turning out different, things not working out, things changing.”
Yet, Reynolds does eventually turn to the positive when she says, “One of my biggest dreams growing up was to have my music on vinyl and I plan to continue doing that. My friend can’t be here physically, but I hold him in my heart, so he will grow with me through this”
Music has saved Reynolds, and continues to be a comfort to her. She has created music that has helped heal both her and her fans. She talks about how therapeutic songwriting is for her, “Writing is a way for me to turn the bad parts of my life into something beautiful. One of the most therapeutic things about this is knowing that people trust me with their stories and knowing that these songs have helped people get through hard times. It’s kind of a cycle! I know I’m not alone because I put my music out there for people like me and it’s comforting for both sides.”
Kississippis songs are therapeutic because they are both raw and honest. Yet, Reynolds says that she doesn’t listen to her own music that much. “I very rarely listen to my own music unless its newly recorded. It’s probably because of how frequently we play it. But when I get mixes back I listen to them and show them to everyone for weeks after because I’m proud of them!”
A great example of songwriters healing qualities is Reynolds’ relationship with her favorite song off the album, “Greyhound”. “It’s the first song I ever released where I really talked about blaming myself for things that people have done to hurt me. It kind of pushed me to stop letting myself feel that way. I’m still guilty of it, but that song helped me open up about a lot of really unfortunate things that were happening to me, things that happened to me in the past that were really hurting every aspect of my life at the time. I am growing and learning how to voice my feelings more and more every day and “Greyhound” pointed me in the right direction.”
Kississippi is definitely heading in the right direction. The band will be performing at this year’s XPoNential Festival and opening up the show on Saturday, July 23rd.
“I went to XPoNential quite a few times while I was growing up,” says Reynolds. “I thought music festivals were the coolest thing in the world. My dad was and still is a regular WXPN listener, so a lot of what I play sounds the way it does because of the station. I’m just excited to be a part of something so big and so cool. Nothing’s cooler than doing something and thinking, ‘wow, younger me me would be so proud and current me is proud and I’m going to be proud in the future.’”