Actress Emily Kinney on her new album: 'It's me standing up for myself'

By Clare Douglas

“I feel like it’s me standing up for myself, not just in the stories and in relationships, but just as an artist and a songwriter,” says Emily Kinney when asked to describe her hotly anticipated album This is War(Oct. 2), her first since 2013’s Expired Love. The actress has been working on the record in between filming arcs on hit shows like Masters of Sex and The Knick, having departed one of TV’s most-watched series,The Walking Dead, in the heartbreaking mid-season-five finale in fall 2014. Hello! Canada caught up with the gorgeous 30-year-old to talk about her music, inspirations, Paris and bringing her tour to Canada – ‘I mean, that’s in my dreams. I would love to. I’d love to go everywhere!

'This is War' will be released on Oct. 2. Photo: © Tina Turnbow

Will fans hear a different side of you on This is War?

I think they’ll hear a different attitude. I feel like with Expired Love, those songs were really about me putting away certain things. They’re more about saying goodbye to things and about relationships that were really over for me and writing those songs was a way to put them in a box and kind of have fun with them and say goodbye. But on This is War, the songs weren’t all written in the same time period. I specifically picked them thinking I wanted songs where I was really standing up for my point of view and telling my side of the story.

Your songs are quite personal; do you ever get nervous performing them in front of an audience?

When I write the songs I’m in this safe place, in my room by myself with my guitar. They start out in a place where I could say exactly how I feel, like if I was mad at a guy or thinking ‘How come this isn’t working?” I wasn’t necessarily thinking of the audience that it was going to later. I just want to say the most clear, honest thing that I’m feeling. I guess it’s sort of freeing for me. I wouldn’t say it’s super difficult, but I would say in real life it’s sometimes harder to say exactly what you mean.

The Nebraska native admits, "I’ve love going to see shows. I feel like I’m a fan girl [ Laughs], it’s my favourite thing. Photo: © Nikki Rich/Fab Ferandez

Who inspires you as a songwriter?

There are so many! I feel like who I grew up with, like who my parents listened to. Those melodies and that way of songwriting is definitely in my brain. Carole King, Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a lot of classic rock. But then as I’ve gotten older I’ve love going to see shows. I feel like I’m a fan girl [ Laughs], it’s my favourite thing. And I always say what inspires me the most is my friends. They are the people who make me want to sit down and write everyday.

If you could cast anyone in your next music video, who would it be?

Oh my gosh… I don’t want to be lame and say my friends again but [ Laughs]. I haven’t made that many music videos but mostly I’m like ‘Hey you guys want to be in my video and we’ll dance on a rooftop and it will be a really fun hang?”

Emily Kinney played Beth Greene on TV's The Walking Dead for four seasons. Photo: © AMC

With so many projects on the go, do you ever get to take a vacation?

Someone was asking me if I ever took time off and I realized that I haven’t since I moved to New York!

Where do you want to go?

Paris. I’ve been planning a Paris vacation for a while but then I always end up booking something, so part of me feels like it’s this strange lucky charm.

Do you have any traditions while on tour?

I always try to find the local coffee shop. So that’s become a fun thing to do because you get to see different little neighbourhoods and you really get a sense of the people.

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