Wearhaus Featured Artist: Kenzie NimmoFebruary 27, 2014
So much has changed with the advent of social media. Music especially has been affected by the digital rise with some of the biggest hit-makers getting their start on YouTube and Vine creating digital superstars every day. Strikingly talented singers who can showcase their work in six seconds or less have become the new pop stars and are creating the next era of music.
One Vine music power couple making a splash is Kenzie Nimmo and Harris Heller. The musically gifted couple were slowly making a name for themselves on YouTube when their breakout Vine covering ‘Cool Kids’ by Echosmith went viral. Now they are looking towards the future and living life as a social media famous duo. In the process of major life changes thanks to the internet, we talked to Nimmo and Heller about what makes a song ripe for the Vine treatment, the plan for transitioning into original music and why sometimes the best thing to do is put your phone down.
Wearhaus: There are millions of songs out there. What makes one good for a Vine cover?
Kenzie Nimmo: It depends on a couple of different factors. Usually I am the one that comes up with the song ideas and the reason I choose a song varies. It could be that it’s a song that I heard and I like so I just want to do it or it could be more of a strategic approach. I look at songs that are charting and songs that are rising up the charts.
Harris Heller: The ones that are the jackpot tend to be good songs from up and rising bands; really catchy songs that don’t have the marketing of Katy Perry or Justin Bieber.
For Vines, is the six second limit confining or is it a rush to squeeze everything in?
Harris: It depends on the song. Sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes, we get to a great part of a song and we have figured out the tempo that’s the slowest you can possibly get it without going over the time limit and it’s just a tiny bit too fast and you can’t slow it down anymore. It’s such a bummer because you have to either cut it short or choose a different part of the song.
Did you spring video editing skills out of necessity or is it something you were always interested in?
Kenzie: Harris is very tech savvy and professional dabbler in a lot of things. He’s a jack of all trades so he already knew how to do photo and video editing before we were doing Vines.
Harris: It started out as a compliment to my audio, a way to get my songs on YouTube. Then I lived with a couple videographers and it really intrigued me. It turned out be really fun to see what you can do to make your music more interesting, and that’s make it fun to watch as well as listen to.
What’s the plan for original music?
Kenzie: Out of the two of us, songwriting and originals is more my thing. Harris is a fantastic musician and is really good with composing and producing music but when it comes to lyric writing and songwriting, that is up my alley. I have been working on my originals for a while but didn’t want to put anything out there until I had the right team behind me. Luckily, because of Vine, that looks like it will be coming up in the future.
‘Cool Kids’ was the big break. What do you think made that particular Vine cover so special?
Harris: It had five or six elements that made it extremely shareable and extremely rewatchable. People shared it because there was a message that lifted them up a little bit. People shared it because there were so many little details that we threw into it like pushing up the glasses at the end and wearing a Pikachu t-shirt. We got to talk to some Viners last week and one of them mentioned that she never revines anything, but she just had to have it on her timeline.
Kenzie: The first couple hours it was up, literally nothing happened on it. We were kind of bummed. We wanted to do the song, we had a section picked out and I was the one who said “What if we go from nerds to cool kids, back to nerds?” Harris was like “I’m going to do something really cool, visually. Just wait.” And then he went back to his studio and edited it and when he showed it to me, I freaked out. I am my harshest critic so for me to look at the Vine and be like “This is visually crazy”, I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, within the first 12 hours nothing happened and we fell asleep with no traction whatsoever and we were like “Welp, we’ll start again tomorrow.” Then we woke up and it had blown up.
And now you are in this newfangled category of being social media famous. You have been partnering with Stuart Edge other Viners. What’s that experience like?
Harris: It’s a really unique experience because we live in Utah and Utah is not only a huge hub for social media artists, but Utah itself has a very big community feel to it. Everyone is willing to help each other out and as soon as the ‘Cool Kids’ video blew up, we had friends that knew Stuart Edge and Scott and Brendo. We called up Scott and Brendo, we had never talked to them before, and they were like “Yeah, just come down to the studio, we’ll spend the day with you” and they didn’t charge us a thing. They were incredibly nice guys and that’s what the community has been for us; people willing to reach out and help. We have taken that to heart and hope that when someone is given an opportunity, we can reach out and do the same.
It seems like the mainstream route of music is very cutthroat. If you aren’t benefiting me, you are an enemy. But with social media like YouTube and Vine, everyone is willing to help each other.
You two just celebrated your one year wedding anniversary. You posted that you were going to go MIA from social media. Why does it matter to sometimes put the phone down and get back to basics?
Kenzie: Since all this has happened, social media more than ever has become such a vital part of our day to day life. Before it was a necessity to be posting on social media, constantly looking at our phones would happen but it wasn’t as frequently as it is now because it is kind of our livelihood; it’s how we are making connections and moving our careers forward.
Our business is attached to our hips and constantly something that we keep an eye on. With social media, we have such a direct connection to our fans and the people that are changing our lives right now. But for our anniversary week, it was nice for just a little while to put that on the back-burner and recollect ourselves and put our priority back on our relationship.
Harris: Having a social media career is entirely a self-made career and it can also be a self destroyed-career. We have to post three or four times a week and we have to make sure it is as good as it possibly can be. If we stop posting stuff, our career dies. Not only is there that aspect but we are also coworkers and sometimes our home becomes too much of a work environment and we forget that’ it’s a home. So it’s important, especially during our anniversary, to set our phones down and really just enjoy each others company.
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