Friday, February 12, 2010

Incredible Woman #25 - Kendra Burton. Friday's Question

KARA: Not only are you an artist, but you are also a songwriter. How young were you when you started writing songs? Do you play instruments? Do you write the music and the words? What are the favorite songs you've created?"

KENDRA: "I started piano lessons when I was seven years old and experimented with simple compositions in my elementary years. My first guitar was purchased on a trip to Mexico when I was ten. It became a treasure to me. I also had the opportunity to play the violin for a few years. I tried the clarinet when I was twelve but the squeaks outnumbered the pleasant notes so it didn't last too long. We had a drum set as well and enjoyed playing fun rhythms. When all five girls were teenagers, we, along with the help of our parents, composed several songs to be recorded on an album. While recording different tracks I would take turns playing the piano, or the guitar or singing with my sisters. One of the songs was written by my mother when she was young and my dad added words to make it complete. I was fortunate to study piano and guitar in college as well and appreciated the expertise of instructors who taught theory and composition.

Many of the songs I have composed are available to download for free on sheet music for those who enjoy leaning new songs. The musical process is fascinating, having a thought in mind and then developing it to the point of where a symphony orchestra can play it and people's lives are touched. It has brought tears to my eyes when I see how others experience the music. In several songs I have written both words and music, but some music is to the lyrics of other authors. It is easier for me to compose around words that are written than to add the words after the music has been composed.

My husband is a great part of my music. It is through his technical brilliance that the music through my mind and fingertips becomes orchestrated. He adds the sounds of strings, woodwinds, percussion, etc. to turn the songs into heartfelt messages.

So far, my most favorite composition is the Homeland because the sound of it takes me back to another time and place. Some people think it takes them back to old England while others have felt a connection to the Holy Land through it. One of the most meaningful compositions, to which my husband added moving pictures of the life of Christ, is taken directly from the scriptures in Matthew 25:31-40. It is entitled "Ye Have Done It Unto Me". We wrote four part harmonies to these beautiful inspired words and then Dave and I recorded it singing with another couple, Jen and Dave Peacock. If I'm speaking in a spiritual setting we usually end with this video tribute to the life of the Savior.

Another song I feel was given to me for a purpose is "The Refines Fire". I felt my deceased daughter inspiring the lyrics as I sat at the piano composing the music of the song, especially the line where it says, "I'll drink the cup," because she was a perfect example of that."

KARA: "Will you tell us your beauty secrets? How do you take care of yourself? What makes you happy and healthy? If you had one day all to yourself, what would you do? What is your guilty pleasure?"

KENDRA: "It's funny when you are young how ancient you think someone in their 40's or 50's sounds. Then when you get there it's fun to have someone think you're in your 40's when you're in your 50's. And it's all about perspective. My philosophy is that it is mind over matter. A young attitude generates a lot of energy. One beauty secret I admonish is to surround yourself with positive people, inspiring books, and uplifting music and to smile as much as you can.

On the practical side, choosing foods that are closer to the sunlight will help your body feel younger. By this I'm talking about fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible and choosing water to drink instead of processed drinks with carbonation and additives. I also recommend sunlight in moderation to rejuvenate the soul. Since I broke three bones in my left foot a year and a half ago, walking has been more difficult. For me using an elliptical exerciser helps. I actually like doing sit-ups and I especially like using a hula hoop to exercise. (Once when I was younger I hula hooped while watching a 30 minute show without letting it touch the ground). Fun!

As far as products go, I like Neutrogena Foaming Facial Wash (liquid soap). My favorite moisturizer is Clinique's yellow Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. Their mascara is excellent as well. I also like L'Oreal's self sharpening lip liner. One thing that seems very energizing to me is rubbing one's feet with lotion. I especially like Victoria's Secret Love Spell Lotion. And since my eyebrows are naturally blonde Maybelline has a light brown brow powder with a small applicator brush.

In a world so busy as ours, it is very important to stop long enough to "Catch your breath". Taking the time to be aware of your breathing, thinking and feeling can be very replenishing. Also if you have the time and means, a good massage can do wonders.

Here are some last thoughts. I love playing the piano and spending time with my immediate and extended family. To experience music with my family makes me happy. Being together, and singing together as a family lets me experience both of these joys at the same time. But if I had one day all to myself I would want part of it to be outdoors either in the Canadian Rockies, Switzerland or in Hawaii. Then I would paint during the daylight and play the piano or guitar at night. I would thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to live in such a beautiful world surrounded by so many amazing individuals and then ask Him what He would have me do to make this world become the Place of Peace He had in mind."

Since my computer guy is home today, I'll try later to get some of Kendra's music onto the blog for your enjoyment. Stay tuned...


Shari Knudsen said...

I love the pictures. What an amazing painter. WOW!

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