Kendra Morris Embraces Imperfections On “I Am What I’m Waiting For”

Kendra Morris’ new album I Am What I’m Waiting For(Karma Chief / Colemine Records) is out today. Produced by Torbitt Schwartz aka Little Shalimar (Run The Jewels), I Am What I’m Waiting For is not only a sophisticated and joyful reinvention, but an unfiltered expression of Morris’s worldview that luxuriates in the little details. Featuring Morris’s towering voice over 11 shimmering songs bursting with dusty funk, R&B and touches of indie rock, it’s a rare record that doubles as self-portrait, unvarnished yet thrilling because of its imperfections.

I Am What I’m Waiting For has been featured on KCRW’s Today’s Top Tune, Flood Magazine, Brooklyn Reader, support overseas from BBC and Jazz.FM, and Morris will be featured on WNYC’s Soundcheck program next month. In a rave review, MOJO deems the album “joyous,” calling out the “jazz-tinged no wave,” “bubblegum pop” “Amy Winehouse style funk” and “nod to David Axelrod’s The Edge” heard throughout.

Today she has also released a new music video, for “Dominoes.” A delightfully sardonic and hilarious skewering of the conflicts of domesticity and cohabitation, Morris sings: “On Tuesday, you want to cook a meal, and all your dishes are piled up like a hill to hell / And if I climb that hill, I’m gonna do something bad.” The video for “Dominoes” was created by Morris and Julia Haltigan, filmed in her Brooklyn home with VHS tape and features her husband and pasta-loving dog, Jerry. The video features stop motion animation created by Morris as well. Watch the “Dominoes” video here:

Morris will tour through the summer and fall across the US and internationally, including a hometown release show at Union Pool in Brooklyn on September 23. See below for the full itinerary, with the tour launching September 6.

While celebrating a recent birthday, Morris was shaken by the realization that old habits were holding her back. Something needed to change, and fast. She began writing new songs and rethinking some of her old ones. Less-than-perfect takes were tolerated. She put a moratorium on love songs. As Morris put it: “I needed to scare myself into growth.” Most of all, she dove into the details. Leading up to the release, Morris has shared “What Are You Waiting For,” a swaggering groove that champions realness and self-reliance, and “When I Go To Space.”

I Am What I’m Waiting For is the result of a life dedicated to the pursuit of creativity. Before she truly found her groove, Morris spent every waking hour either flirting with the famous as a bartender at the Lower East Side dive The Library — which thrust Morris directly into the heart of Manhattan’s fertile post-Strokes creative scene — recording 8-track demos, or performing solo shows set to a backdrop of her own cassette tapes of stacked vocal harmonies. DIY since the beginning, she’s also an accomplished stop motion animation artist that has made many of her own music videos in addition to projects for Skinshape, Czarface, MF Doom, Kangol and more.

Interview Magazine has called Morris a “modern day Janis Joplin,” NPR praised her “lush, moody mix of neo-soul” and she’s worked with a wide array of collaborators, including DJ Premier, MF Doom, Ghostface Killah, and David Sitek. She burst onto the scene with her debut album nearly a decade ago and signed with Wax Poetics’ record label. She has recently locked into a revived, prolific groove: she signed to Colemine’s Karma Chief Records and released Nine Lives last year, deemed “beautifully sung” by MOJO. She reissued her 2016 album Babble earlier this year.

When I Go To Space
What Are You Waiting For
The Door
All Your Jokes
Still Spinning
Birthday Song
One Last Joyride

9/6/23 – The Lyric Theater – Blacksburg, VA
9/7/23 – Black Iris – Richmond, VA
9/8/23 – Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC
9/9/23 – Otis Fest – Macon, GA
9/10/23 – Charleston Pour House – Charleston, SC
9/13/23 – Pour House Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
9/14/23 – The Southern – Charlottesville, VA
9/23/23 – Union Pool – Brooklyn, NY
10/3/13 – Het Depot – Leuven, BE
10/4/23 – Le Pop Up – Paris, FR
10/5/23 – Jazz Sur Son 31 – Toulouse, FR
10/6/23 – Gorila – Zaragoza, ES
10/7/23 – Loco Club – Valencia, ES
10/8/23 – Intruso – Madrid, ES
10/9/23 – Sala Upload – Barcelona, ES
10/10/23 – Iboat – Bordeaux, FR
10/12/23 – La Sirene – La Rochelle, FR
10/13/23 – Paul B – Massy, FR
10/14/23 – Le Forum – Charleville Meziere, FR
10/17/23 – Le Poche – Bethune, FR
10/18/23 – Blues Kitchen – Manchester, UK
10/19/23 – The Forge – London, UK
10/22/23 – De Oostepoort – Groningen, LA*
11/3/23 – 7th St. Entry – Minneapolis, MN
11/4/23 – xBk Live – Des Moines, IA
11/5/23 – Hideout – Chicago, IL
11/6/23 – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH
12/8/23 – Tellus 360 – Lancaster, PA
12/10/23 – DC9 – Washington, DC
12/14/23 – Motr – Cincinnati, OH
12/15/23 – Square Cat Vinyl – Indianapolis, IN
*supporting Lee Fields.

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