Kristie Stremel has put out so much great music over the past twenty both as a respected solo artist and as a member of bands Frogpond and Exit 159. A Kansas City native currently living in Lawrence, Stremel's most recent song, "Orlando (Keep Dancing)", is a moving tribute to the lives lost and survivors of the mass shootings there in June. Stremel was kind enough to share some insights into her art and other current projects.
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?
My name is Kristie Stremel. I am a singer/songwriter based in Lawrence, KS.
You recently released the song “Orlando (Keep Dancing)” as a direct response to the recent shooting tragedy, a song you wrote and recorded soon after the events. Tell us about writing the song itself. What has been the response to it by your fans and newcomers to your music?
I wrote the song with my partner as a way to process such a horrific mass-murder. After it was written, I played it on the radio / EIGHT ONE SIXTY on 90.9 The Bridge the next day. The host, Chris Haghirian posted the video he took with his cell phone on Facebook and many people started to watch it and share it. I then recorded the song and released it all in the same week. I am donating half of all iTunes download sales to the victims in Orlando. I think man people are connecting with the song as a way to begin the healing process. When something so devastating like that happens, it’s sometimes hard to find words to identify feelings and I think the song helped people in that way. At least that is the majority of messages and emails I have received.
You have strong ties to the Kansas City and Lawrence music scenes, going back to the late 1990s with bands like Frogpond and Exit 159, before a prolific solo career. What has kept you in this part of the world?
I was born and raised in Kansas. A majority of my family and friends are here and it is centrally locacated… which is great for a singer/songwriter/musician who travels. Honesty, I just never felt the impulse to leave. Especially now because the music scene in the KC/Lawrence area is thriving!
What are you currently working on?
I just finished Co-producing Greg Wickham’s (Hadacol) new solo album. I am producing an album for The Good Hearts, which will be out this year. And I am also releasing a new CD in October. And when I’m not in the studio, I’m playing shows on the road.
What excited you the most about KC/Lawrence music? What local artists are you currently raving about?
Of course I am excited about Greg Wickham and The Good Hearts! Honestly there are so many bands I am excited about! Too many to list! There is a musically renaissance happening in the KC/Lawrence scene and it is so exciting to me!