Nashville indie-rocker Kelly Hoppenjans is set to release her debut LP, OK, I Feel Better Now, on October 18, 2019. Produced by Brandy Zdan, the 10-song set combines the spirit of riot grrrl tinged with folky introspection while asserting a need to break the cycle of society’s gendered expectations. On album standout “If I Had You (Love Letter From A Padded Cell),” Hoppenjans takes the “crazy ex-girlfriend” archetype to the extreme in order to prove a point: pop music tends to glorify obsessive romantic relationships, while society often dismisses women who express how damaging this type of partnership can be. She offers, “I co-wrote this song with my friend Jess Kenney, and it’s partly inspired by how many times we’ve heard guys describe their ex-girlfriends as ‘crazy’ – it’s not a nice word! The lines can be very blurred between ‘love’ and ‘obsession.’ And calling a woman ‘crazy’ is an easy way to dismiss the way she is feeling by making her seem overly emotional or irrational.” The song is premiering today at The Alternative who state, “‘If I Had You’ is a twangy infusion of folk and pop rock. Don’t let the contagiously catchy track fool you though, there is a very meaningful message beneath those layers of sun kissed guitars and synth beats.”
LISTEN: “If I Had You”:
Hoppenjans previously shared a music video for the album’s lead single “Growing My Hair,” a power-pop banger about not letting others define who you are based on your appearance. “The inspiration for this song is partly face value–I really do grow my hair and cut it all off every couple of years,” she explains. “But through that I’ve noticed differences in how the world relates to me when my hair is various lengths and colors and the expectations society has for the way a woman’s hair/body/makeup/etc should look.” Of the track/video, B-Sides and Badlands praised, “Bending her voice in such a stark, empowering lamplight, Hoppenjans utilizes various hair styles to make a profound statement on womanhood and controlling her own narrative…It’s a commanding performance if ever you’ve seen one.”
WATCH: “Growing My Hair” Music Video
After picking up guitar at a young age, Hoppenjans began writing songs around the age of 12, and around that same time the budding musician picked up a copy of a popular music magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists issue. She was disappointed to find only two women, Joan Jett and Joni Mitchell, listed among 98 men. Hoppenjans thought this meant women couldn’t be rockstars, and was disheartened by a seeming lack of electric guitar role models that looked like her. Now, Hoppenjans creates empowering rock aimed at inspiring those around her to claim their own space in the world, while also teaching music therapy at Nashville’s liberal arts university, Belmont. She not only helps her students cultivate their unique sound and discover who they are, but she extends this service by volunteering at local music camps for girls and non-binary teens.
Despite being her debut full-length album, music has long been the crux of Hoppenjans’ existence, and OK, I Feel Better Now encapsulates a lifetime of physical and emotional healing, breaking vicious cycles, and the power of femininity.
Source: Press Release