Abby Kenna

Class of
Berklee College of Music

Pronouns Used: She/Her/Hers

Hometown: Manasquan, New Jersey 

Principal Instrument: Voice

Major: Songwriting

Describe your favorite Berklee experience so far.

In my first semester, I got a gig at a Boston University graphic design art gala through an older music business student. I had barely been at Berklee for a month, so I put together a ragtag group of friends to be my band and we practiced so hard for weeks to get a set of my original music together. Ultimately, it was such a fulfilling experience to put this show together, start to finish, all by myself. It felt like my first step into life as a professional, self-sufficient musician.

When you think about your favorite class so far, what is one example of why you enjoyed it?

I took Advanced Lyric Writing with Pat Pattison this summer, and it really has changed me as a songwriter and collaborator. Aside from the amazing exercises we practiced and the teaching style of Pat, the part that really made it awesome for me was the environment created by my classmates. The songwriting community in general is very supportive, but this group of writers was genuinely excited to work on each other's songs and make them the best that they could be.

What is your favorite part about studying and living in Boston? 

There's a little bit of everything to be found in Boston. I've walked miles and miles in a day just exploring the city, and I've never been bored. The amount of culture and history within places like the Public Library or the North End is incredible, and they're basically a part of our campus. It was intimidating at first to not have a closed-in campus, but now that I've settled in, it's so freeing to have such a vibrant city as the root of my college experience.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone applying to Berklee College of Music or Boston Conservatory at Berklee?

Reach out. I talked to so many current and recently graduated students during my application process, especially when I came up to Boston to do my audition. Hearing about people's experiences—the path they saw themselves taking versus the exciting one they've discovered, or the hidden gems of the school—helped me immensely to get a feel for Berklee. Musicians love to collaborate, and that doesn't just mean jamming on a song—we really love sharing our world and helping new creatives find their place here.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

The fourth floor terrace at 160 Massachusetts Avenue was where I let out all my frustration after spending hours in practice rooms running ear training drills or working through harmony progressions. I could just step outside, see the whole city spreading out around me, feel the wind off the Charles, and refresh before going back to work.

Why did you choose Berklee?

I chose Berklee because I felt like I could build my own experience here. I wanted to learn about production, songwriting, and business, and continue practicing performing. I wanted to be on stage and behind the scenes, singing in the vocal booth and sitting behind the board at the recording studio. Berklee was the only place I saw myself being able to chase each of these opportunities.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to move to either New York City or L.A. to continue exploring my songwriting, while also pursuing a job in A&R or marketing within the music industry.

What have you enjoyed most about the live shows you’ve been involved in at Berklee?

I was in The Show by Rob Lewis right before quarantine in March 2020. My favorite part about it was meeting such a large group of musicians that I might not have had the chance to otherwise. Most of my peers in this show were upperclassmen or people from different majors, and it was really cool to meet them and collaborate before they set off to L.A. or Nashville the following semester.

Where do you hope to perform this coming year?

I hope to perform in a songwriting circle at the Red Room. I did a few online rounds when we were doing virtual classes, but I can't wait to share with songwriters in person!

Your social media channel/web URL?

Instagram: @abbykennamusic

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