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WomenOutLoud! Exclusive Interview with Mckenna Grace On Her New Single ‘Casual Kisser’

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Mckenna Grace has shared her first single, “Casual Kisser” (via Photo Finish Records) and accompanying video from her forthcoming highly anticipated debut album (2024). The new music features mature lyrics, gorgeous melodies, and layers akin to Lana Del Ray and Taylor Swift, not yet heard before from Grace. Co-written exclusively by women – Pom Pom (John Legend, mxmtoon), who also produced, and Lowell (Madison Beer, Charlie Puth)– the accompanying video also continues Mckenna’s sonic and visual growth. The Gus Black and Grace helmed video features a more mature Mckenna confronting the bitter end of a relationship in this heartbreak teen anthem.

Of the single Mckenna states,

“Casual Kisser is about how for me, kissing and dating is a really big deal! It’s about trusting someone enough to venture out of your comfort zone and going along with them, just to have that trust betrayed. Telling them how what you’re doing and the relationship you’re in is important to you and you don’t just kiss anyone, just for them to not take it seriously in the end. In the song I say, “did you hear what I said?” because I’m genuinely asking, “did you hear what I said?!” because if you did, how could you treat my feelings and my boundaries so carelessly? It’s a bit of a bitter song as well- that feeling of being love bombed into feeling safe, only to have that pulled out from under you. I’m truly so excited for all my new music to come, I think I’m really starting to find my sound and space as a songwriter and artist. I’ve had a lot of new life experiences that I’ve funneled into this music, and I can’t wait to share it.”

“Casual Kisser” marks the first release of new music from 2024’s anticipated debut album and follows the success of Grace’s 2023’s EP “Bittersweet Sixteen”- – the critically acclaimed 8-track EP released earlier this year. “Bittersweet Sixteen” featured Mckenna’s hit singles, “Ugly Crier,” “Checkered Vans,” and “Post Party Trauma” as well as five brand new songs including, “Buzzkill Baby” which Mckenna performed on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

The +55M streaming rising musician continues to receive tremendous fan and industry attention, with key playlisting on Spotify’s New Music Friday, Amazon’s Breakthrough Pop and Pandora’s Mellow Pop playlists. In addition to her multiple online profiles including Teen Vogue, People, NME, DORK and Paste Magazines. In addition to her new music the in-demand artist, Mckenna will reprise her starring role in Ghostbusters Afterlife, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2021 Jason Reitmen helmed +200M box-office smash “Ghostbusters” reboot. Mckenna is also slated to continue her Emmy nominated role in the Hulu Original, The Handmaids Tale.  It was also recently announced that Mckenna will both star and executive produce Dan Kay’s opioid drama Spider & Jessie and will lend her vocal talents alongside Kim Kardashian and North West in Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, set for release in September 2023.

Hi Mckenna welcome back to OLC! It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here. You have a new song on the way August 4th called ‘Casual Kisser’. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the new single?

Hi! Thank you for having me! This song is a funny one for me, it’s one of my favorites though lyrically. It’s a really honest song for me and something I haven’t talked much about! For me kissing and relationships are a big deal, and I always say that. I literally always say “I’m not a casual kisser”, so I decided to write a song about it. This song is really about being love bombed into trusting someone enough to venture out of your comfort zone with them, only for them to not have been serious about you. Honesty is so important to me, what I tell you is exactly what I mean. So it’s hard to understand/accept that some people don’t carry the same values. Boys can be fantastic liars!

How did you approach the creative process for this song compared to your previous music projects?

I came into the studio with this concept. I had actually been saving the lyric idea until I could work with (my co-writer) Lowell. I’ve been writing with her for awhile now and really trust her judgment and opinions. All I knew is I wanted to write a song where I say, “I’m not a casual kisser, then we made out on your couch. Did you hear what I said?”. Lowell had come into the studio that day actually saying we should make something happier compared to all the sad songs I’m always writing haha. I definitely didn’t do that. We listened to a lot of Lana Del Ray and I especially took a lot of inspiration from Pretty When You Cry.

What message or emotion do you hope your fans will take away from “Casual Kisser”?

Don’t lie to people! And don’t break hearts or girls will write songs about you! Haha, just kidding (or am I?). I hope people listen to this and know that people can make you feel so special and so important just to leave you, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t important. That’s something I struggled with for a while. Does it mean I’m not good enough? Was it something I did? Am I unlovable? You’re capable of happiness and love! Always! Don’t let someone take that from you, and don’t change your morals or who you are for someone else.

Were there any challenges you faced while recording or producing the single?

I really feel like this song came together easily! I came into the studio with this idea and once we got the guitar (and starbucks) I feel like the lyrics flowed. It’s one of my favorites.

What do you enjoy the most about expressing yourself through music?

I love getting to be honest. I love getting to say the things I never got the chance to. In situations where you don’t get closure, it’s so nice to just write and get it out.

Will there be a music video for “Casual Kisser” and is there anything you can share about it?

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There is a music video! I love it. I wrote it and then co-directed it with Gus Black! Theres some fun stuff in there, and maybe some hints/easter eggs too!

How do you feel your lyrics and sound have evolved since you started pursuing a music career?

I feel like I’ve grown and changed so much since my EP BitterSweet 16, my sound has changed alot too. I want to move more into the singer songwriter space. Maybe a little more acoustic at times vs the pop punk elements I was playing with before.

How do you balance your acting career with your music aspirations?

It really goes hand in hand together! When I’m not on set, I’m playing music! Even when I’m on set I’m playing music haha. I always bring my guitar and songwriting journal, you never know when inspiration will strike. I also love writing music for films as well. Maybe for the credits or from the characters point of view.

How does your experience in acting influence your approach to music and storytelling through songs?

I’m not sure to be honest. I feel as though the two worlds work wise are very different, though maybe the acting side really helps with writing/creating my music videos. I would love to be a director someday and what better way to learn than starting with music videos?

If you could collaborate with any musician or band, who would be your dream collaboration, and why?

I LOVE Stephen Sanchez. I think his voice and songwriting is so fantastic. I went to one of his shows and he’s one of the best performers I’ve ever seen, he has such an energy. It’s a dream to work with him. Or FINNEAS. He’s such a genius as a songwriter and a producer, I love his music. These are both a little far fetched but it’s a dream collaboration! haha

What do you envision for your musical journey in the future? Any specific goals or milestones you’d like to achieve?

It’s my goal someday to have my music do well enough to be able to play more shows, or go on tour. Going on tour is my dream. Playing music live is so fun, I love my band so much and getting to see people know your songs is such an insane feeling.

Thank you so much for chatting to us Mckenna, you are an incredible talent and we love everything you do, and you will always have a home here so please come back. Before you go, is there anything you’d like to say to all your fans out there?

Thank you! So happy to talk with you! And to anyone who supports me or listens to my music, thank you so much. Just know you’re not alone in your feelings, and the bad ones are just temporary. This too shall pass. That goes for the good and the bad though. So enjoy the good, and remember the bad won’t last forever. <3
Socials: @neillfrazer

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