When she started to experiment with her music, fate took a hand. “There were a few bands recording at this school in downtown Halifax,” she recalls. “I didn’t go there, but I knew some people who did. They had a little makeshift studio where everybody could just go in and make demos, and Joel came to talk to us one day about the music industry, trying to give us advice on being a musician.”
“So we played him one of our songs each and that was it, he went away. I think that was about 2007, I showed him my song, he really liked it and then I didn’t hear from him. In 2010, I got a call from his manager, who’s now my manager, inviting me to a songwriting camp.”
“Joel had recommended me, and I hadn’t talked to him in three years. Actually, it was my birthday. I was heading to work to go and make pizzas and I got a call. It made my day. I’d just been playing open-mic, and that wasn’t really doing anything for me except helping me with my live show. I don’t know how I would have managed if it hadn’t been for Joel.”
When Plaskett went on to sign Kenney to his label, she had the platform from which to create that debut album, and to find out about the music business. “It was a huge learning curve,” she admits. “I had an idea in my mind what it was going to be like, and it was totally different. I was just really fascinated by how everything works.”
As well as having toured in Canada with Plaskett, Ron Sexsmith and extensively in her own right, Mo is already no stranger to international audiences. She has played Iceland Airwaves, The Great Escape and Green Man Festival in the UK, where early in 2014, she toured for six weeks with her good friend, Scottish artist, Rachel Sermanni, so when Kenney recently travelled back to Britain, Ireland, and Germany in support of ‘In My Dreams’, the stage was literally set for her.
And stage is the word, because she views staying on the road and playing for as many people as possible as her life’s work. “Besides writing, the aspect of being a musician that I like most is playing live,” says Kenney. “I love touring, so if I can build up audiences all over the place, then I can stay on the road forever, which is what I want.”