In Conversation with POLLY MOONEY about lush and evocative “KUDZU KISSES”

Polly Mooney is a new up and coming indie pop artist based in Nashville. She’s a classically trained vocalist, and plays both the keys and guitar. Polly has been singing for as long as she can remember, but started combining her love of poetry and music through songwriting during her freshman year of college. With her latest release ‘Kudzu Kisses’, Polly takes from the literary and physical landscape of her homeland, Mississippi. She leads us through the imagery of the South, where the extended metaphor of the kudzu vines creates an evocative romantic environment that the song lies within.

YMX: Hey POLLY MOONEY, thanks for sitting down with us. What would you say to all our readers new to your project?

POLLY MOONEY: Thanks so much for having me! I guess first of all, to know me is to know I love words first and foremost, which sort of dictates the place my music comes from. I’m a poetry lover and a reader, and I see music as another medium to convey those ideas found in literature and traditional writing. In terms of sound, though, I try to bring some of the coolness and quirk I love in my more alternative tastes, as well as the approachability of the classic sound I’ve grown up loving. I’m also a classically trained vocalist, so I have fun playing around with different stylings that come with that!

YMX: When did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue at an artistic level? 

POLLY MOONEY: Since I was two years old, I’ve always been singing. I started off memorizing little lullabies my parents would sing me, and I pretty much haven’t stopped singing since! I was lucky to receive piano and vocal lessons from an early age, and I really start developing a writing style in poetry throughout high school. However, I really didn’t think I could write my own songs until my freshman year of college, when somehow everything just clicked into place. That was also the year I met my now-husband, who’s a fellow musician, allowing me no shortage of lyrical inspiration or musical advice! We moved to Nashville after our wedding, and we’ve pretty much just gone on creating and pursuing music since then.

YMX: You recently released ‘KUDZU KISSES’. Can you tell us how that project came about?

POLLY MOONEY: it’s such an exciting thing to finally have my new single out in the world! Kudzu Kisses all started with a pretty vague idea I had a couple of years ago that had potential, but didn’t really feel like it had found its legs as a developed song yet. I loved how it was steeped in Southern imagery and felt very poetic, but I knew it wasn’t quite ready. When we moved to Nashville, we sent a few demos (including a revised version of Kudzu Kisses) to our talented friend and music producer, Daniel Davis. He’s been a part of some major projects, so we just knew he would create something amazing out of those, and sure enough, he sent us back a gorgeous demo that I totally fell in love with. We worked with him to fully produce the song, and came away with this dreamy, expressive song that I’m so proud of! We gave it to Pete Lyman, a GRAMMY-winning sound engineer here in Nashville, and he mastered it to perfection. Now it’s out in the world, and we couldn’t be happier!

YMX: What is the one thing you would like people to feel while listening to the single?

POLLY MOONEY: I want people to feel as though they’re a part of the rich, deep environment we envisioned and created with this song! I feel like Kudzu Kisses has such a specificity about it, from the imagery in the lyrics to the overall vibe of the sound. I want this to be a song that when people listen, they just close their eyes and fall into the little world inside of it! It’s such a Southern fairytale, and it’s so Nashville.

YMX: How did the recent pandemic influence your creative process? is remote collaboration easy for you?

POLLY MOONEY: That’s such a great question, and a hard one! I sort of wish I could say that my creativity exploded with all of the time spent inside, but I honestly found it a little hard to write at first. It just seemed that there were such huge things happening, that it was challenging for me to take that in and condense it into a four-minute song. More recently, though, I’ve realized that I don’t have to take on all of the responsibility of writing the perfect “pandemic anthem” and I could just give as much of myself to my music as I can, and that would be enough. Aside from those big ideas, and on a more logistical level, I’ve finally taught myself a serviceable level of guitar! And I’ve got the calluses to prove it. So I’ve enjoyed writing music on strings instead of keys lately!

YMX: Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team?

POLLY MOONEY: I’m a stingy songwriter– I’ve written almost every single one of my songs solo. And so far my only collaborator has been my husband, so I’m pretty particular there!

YMX: Can you name the last gig you played? Would you consider doing a livestream concert?

POLLY MOONEY: A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I actually did a livestream concert together! We’ve made that a regular part of what we do since the start of the pandemic, and it’s honestly been a great thing all around. I remember in April 2020 seeing people in the comments of our livestream just chatting with each other, asking one another how they were doing, how their families were, etc. It touched our hearts because, at that moment, people were being brought together by music at a time when it felt like that was just something that couldn’t happen anymore. Plus, it definitely helped keep us sane when we couldn’t play shows!

YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?

POLLY MOONEY: There’s a lot of fun stuff on the horizon! We’ve got some exciting gigs coming up, and I’m planning on really immersing myself in recording my next project this summer. My husband and I are heading out West in a few weeks to gain inspiration/have a last hurrah before really burying ourselves in work over the coming weeks, so expect exciting things coming soon!