Renee & Friends’ new album, Kindred, is truly a family affair. After enduring devastating loss and displacement in the Montecito mudflows, Santa Barbara’s Parents’ Choice Gold Award–winning singer/songwriter Renee Stahl enlisted both frequent collaborators and her own daughters, Amelia and Isadora Dektor, to make an album welcoming to all ages. I asked the family about their new record, collaborating as a family, and inspiring hope.
What new sense of kindred spiritedness did this album bring to you and your project?
Renee Stahl: The title Kindred came from a conversation with an old friend. I mentioned I was looking for something that would encompass family, friends, collaboration, and connection. I am so excited I was able to collaborate with kindred spirits that I have known and admired for many years, including Elizabeth Mitchell, Ziggy Marley, Lisa Loeb, and Chris Stills, to name a few. We had a lot of fun working on this CD.
I understand you suffered losses during the Montecito debris flow. How did the tragedy of that event affect or inspire the creative process?
RS: Yes, we were affected by the debris flow. We moved home on the same day the CD was being released. It was incredible to have worked on a CD during this time — it’s helped me put my energy and focus into my creativity.
Why is it important to bridge adult and kid music and/or make music that appeals to both?
RS: Isn’t it more fun to enjoy music together? We like to say, “We make music for children of all ages.”
Amelia and Isadora, how was it collaborating with your mom?
Amelia Dektor, age 12: It was fun to be able to work with her and sing songs she had written. I also really enjoyed working with my friend Addi, who I met in kindergarten, on “Leaders of the World.”
Isadora Dektor, age 7: It was fun. I was really happy. I am happy to be on Spotify.
I really like the track, “Super Fragile World.” What do the lyrics of that song mean to you?
AD: It means be yourself. You can only change yourself and not other people — so don’t even try.
What do you hope listeners take away from listening to the album?
RS: I hope they take away a sense of inspiration, empowerment, and kindness. I hope it makes them want to go out into the world and sing their own songs in whatever way thrills them.
ID: Happiness and joy — I hope they care for other people.
AD: That kids will understand they have a powerful voice and a lot to say and can lead the world.