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Until her untimely death on last November’s mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, Beth Greene, portrayed by the actor and musician Emily Kinney, was one of the AMC zombie mega-show’s most prominent characters. Devoutly religious and optimistic if initially naive, Beth was such a fan favorite that the blogosphere exploded when she was killed off the show. Naturally, Kinney is not Beth. But don’t tell that to the countless fans who come to Kinney’s concerts; if it were up to them, she’d be Beth forever.

 

Yes, such are the consequences of moving between the worlds of acting and music. Kinney has been singing since her childhood, and she got her first big break in Spring Awakening on Broadway, but only in recent years has the multi-talented 29-year-old made a legitimate run at a music career. She’s released a pair of EPs, each showcasing the musings of a gentle singer-songwriter in the vein of Ingrid Michaelson. In the fall, Kinney releases her full-length debut album, This Is War. Kinney recently talked to us about her message-heavy LP, jumping from stage to screen, and how she has come to terms with her Beth persona.

 

People know you best for your acting. Tell us about your lifelong love of music.

 

I’ve been singing since I was really little. I was probably seven when I did my first talent show. Singing was definitely my in to performing more so than acting. Music definitely came first. As a little kid I was thinking that was the route I was going. And then I started to really fall in love with theater and I realized what I love about music is the stories and the words. I can actually remember someone coming up to me—’cause I used to sing a lot at church and stuff like that—”I love when you sing at church because I feel like I can feel the words.” That stuck with me. I was realizing there was something besides just the music. It was more about telling stories. So I started shifting my focus a bit.

 

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You already know Emily Kinney’s singing from The Walking Dead. As Beth Greene, farmer’s daughter and zombie slayer, her character’s occasional musical interludes brought emotional depth and resonance to a frequently brutal television show. She talked with STACKEDD about her tour, geek culture, and her parents’ super rad taste in music.

 

CR: Your music is so much fun! How long have you been a songwriter?

EK: I’ve been writing poetry longer than songs, but I remember writing some of my first songs in high school.

 

CR: Who are some of your musical inspirations?

EK: I love a lot of artists, but most of my inspiration to write songs comes from my musician friends, or local Brooklyn bands I see around NYC. Jaymay, Bright Silence are a few….I also get inspiration from my romantic relationships or my friend’s relationships. Walking around NYC inspires me to write songs. And I get inspiration from my parents. My parents’ taste in music has definitely influenced me. We would listen to The Carpenters and John Lennon, Chicago, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Carole King, etc….the list goes on a bit. They have great taste in music I think. 🙂

 

CR: Which musicians would like to work with in the future? Do you have a dream collaboration?

EK: I don’t know. There are so many great artists out there. I already feel lucky to have gotten to work with some awesome musicians on this album, like Caleb Shreve, Elliot Jacobsen, and Simon Kafka, who are also good people and good friends. But I do have a fantasy about Nicki Minaj doing a remix of one of my songs. So maybe someday that call will come. haha.

 

CR: How has the transition from working on The Walking Dead to focusing on music been for you?

EK: It’s been non-stop since leaving The Walking Dead because I have been trying to really take advantage of the momentum in both my acting and music career. The Walking Dead became a home base, an anchor for a few years, so now I’ve been trying to find that anchor again in my life. So some days I feel a little scattered. The family that has developed within the band through touring is beginning to feel like an anchor. I think I want to tour more after the album comes out.

 

CR: The episodes of The Walking Dead featuring you singing were some of the more emotionally resonant episodes. Was it exciting for you to be able to sing on the show? How did that come about?

EK: Of course, it was exciting! I love singing and I love that the audience was able to connect with Beth through music. It was just something added to the campfire moment in Season 3 and then it was established that Beth liked singing. It was the showrunner’s idea.

 

CR: What did you learn about geek culture from working on a cult show like The Walking Dead? How do you feel about how women are treated in geek culture?

EK: I’m not sure I totally know specifically who you are referring to when you say “geek culture”, but I love the Walking Dead fans and I do meet a lot of comic book/ superhero/horror film fans when I go to conventions. They are loyal and fun and positive and supportive people in my experience. To be an artist with a listening audience like The Walking Dead has is quite a fortunate thing.

 

CR: Tell us about your upcoming acting projects.

EK: I’ll be appearing in the second season of The Knick, and I have few other things in the works, but right now as I’m writing this interview I’m on the road with my band!

 

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Welcome to Enchanting Emily, a fansite for Emily Kinney. Emily is most well known for the character Beth Greene on The Walking Dead. But she’s also a wonderful musician who is currently touring the country in support of her newest single, This is War, and for her upcoming full length This is War CD release in August 2015.

en·chant·ing
inˈCHan(t)iNG,enˈCHan(t)iNG/
adjective
adjective: enchanting

delightfully charming or attractive.

en·chant
inˈCHant,enˈCHant/
verb
gerund or present participle: enchanting

fill (someone) with great delight; charm.

I chose to name the site ‘Enchanting’ because I think Emily has that special quality both in her real life interviews and pictures as well as her roles on screen that is completely enchanting.

 

I still have a  long way to go on the gallery so please keep visiting and follow us on twitter @_emilykinneyfan




This is an older interview but I wanted to post it because it deals with her Walking Dead departure.

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Posted December 1 2014

 

The Walking Dead midseason finale ended with a bang on Sunday night. Unfortunately, that bang was the sound of Officer Dawn Lerner’s gun blasting into Beth’s head after Beth stabbed with her some scissors to protest the Grady Memorial Hospital leader insisting on forcing Noah to stay in exchange for Beth. In the past we may not have seen Beth be so bold, but this was Beth Greene 2.0, who showed herself to be a much more outspoken and daring version of her former self. Of course, that daring is what ultimately led to her demise. We spoke to a still very emotional Emily Kinney — who will now turn her attention to her music career with a new single and video titled “Rock Star” due Dec. 9 and a new album in 2015 — to get her thoughts on Beth’s evolution and end game. She also tells us about Norman Reedus getting a bit handsy, talks what she will miss most about working on the show, and reveals that she has yet to even watch her final episode. (Also make sure to check out our deep dive with Andrew Lincoln, midseason finale Q&A with Norman Reedus, and burning questions with showrunner Scott M. Gimple.)

 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me how and when you got the bad news.
EMILY KINNEY: The season finale was episode 508 and I found out during 507. So I found out a few hours before they released the script to everyone.

 

Showrunner Scott Gimple gave you the call?
I actually talked to him in person.

 

So did you go then tell your castmates or did they find out on their own?
All I know is how I found out, which is that day a few hours before the script came out. So different people from the cast reached out to me after that and that was really nice.

 

Tell me about that. What was it like when the reactions from cast started coming in?
They seemed surprised too. It’s always really hard. We’ve worked together for years now. So, it’s really sad.
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Emily Kinney is known for her role as Beth Greene from the hit series The Walking Dead, but she has much more under her belt than that one show. She’s been in numerous television and film spots, as well as on Broadway in Spring Awakening and August: Osage County. Kinney has also been busy with a budding music career, and we’re eagerly awaiting a new album from her this year, titled This Is War. I got to talk to Emily about her upcoming tour, album, and how acting and music have worked together in her life:

 

A lot of people know you from The Walking Dead, but you’re also an accomplished musician. Did acting come first, or was music/acting a joint venture for you?

 

Music in some ways came first as far as like, when I was little […] I loved music and the radio and singing and singing for people and even just starting when I was seven, I was singing in talent shows and at church. But then, as I grew up, I started getting involved in theater and musical theater and the TV shows I watched, I would think, “Oh, that’s kinda what I’m looking for.” […] They both have been a part of my life for quite a while, I would say music kinda got me in.

 

When I moved to New York, I was definitely moving to pursue acting and music was just something I’d always do no matter what. I started singing backup for bands, I went to go see a lot of music, started writing my own songs. It took me a second to start deciding to actually record my own music. I guess professionally, acting came first, but what hooked me into performance was my music.

 

 

Your music has a very playful nature to it. Even with your songs that take a more serious tone, there’s still this, I want to say ‘innocence’ to it. Do you find it easier to write your music that way?

 

I do think that it’s very playful and happy, like a lot of people will tell me, “Your songs sound so happy, but then when I really listen close to the words, they suddenly are very sad.” I just tend to think about the actual words themselves, and I think for me, music or writing music is a way for me to feel better and work out what I’m going through, so I don’t know if that becomes part of the process, it starts out trying to be really honest about what I want to say, and saying those things in a very honest way, but then when I sing them wanting them to feel happy and feel like a release.

 

So I think that’s why they might come out in that way. I also think my sense of humor comes across a little bit in my songs, and even if I’m upset about something, I do tend to make fun of the thing I’m upset about, and I don’t think that any of my problems are maybe all that awful. Usually, most of the issues I’m writing about are things like boyfriends and love and really things that I’m lucky to have had in my life. Sometimes, I try to find a way to sort of make fun of the problem.

 

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Fans of Emily Kinney know her for her “melodic, quirky, and confessional pop,” highly personal songwriting, and “honest style,” all of which will be featured on her debut full length album, ‘This Is War’ (8.11). Kinney’s narrative on the album is empowering and confident as she openly speaks her mind to those who have doubted her and those she loves – a departure from the roller coaster love story captured on her ‘Expired Love’ EP.

 

On the album’s percussion-driven opener and title track, Kinney directly addresses someone who expressed doubt in her career, using her arsenal of strong lyricism and songwriting to prove she’s “a fighter.” All ten tracks on the album share the common theme of taking ownership of your life and leaving nothing unsaid. “I would feel motivated to write songs after I had conversations where I didn’t feel like I could say the things I wanted to say,” explains Kinney. That isn’t to say that the whole album is about disagreements – “Never Leave LA,” a song Kinney says was inspired by a close friend’s story, is about fighting and taking chances for love. The song features the glockenspiel, a xylophone-like instrument that Kinney used throughout the album to contrast with the confrontational songwriting topics. On the album’s closing track, “Weapons,” Kinney details her escape into the sunset as she lays down her guard, surrounds herself with people who treat her right, and remembers that living well is often the best revenge.

 

Kinney doesn’t shy away from naming names and details about the people involved in her songs, making her lyrics feel like they’ve leapt from the pages of her diary. Her “heartfelt, emotional indie rock” (Rolling Stone) has earned her comparisons to Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson, and is the reason that PopCrush proclaims she “is ready to make her official foray into the music world.”

 

Listen to the title track “This is War” on SPIN.com: http://www.spin.com/2015/04/emily-kinney-this-is-war-new-song-the-walking-dead-stream/

 

http://emilykinneymusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKinneyMusic
https://twitter.com/emmykinney

 

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Emily Kinney, “The Walking Dead” – We did not exactly get a ton of Beth throughout the entirety of “The Walking Dead” season 5, but we are a big believer that sometimes you can do a lot with a little. Much like we felt that Melissa McBride earned a nomination based entirely on “The Grove” a year ago, Kinney is worthy thanks to her anchoring the show in “Slabtown,” and then delivering a powerful performance in “Crossed” and “Coda,” one of the saddest episodes of the entire year.

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