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Each year, WhatsUpNewp interviews artists from the Newport Folk and Jazz Festival who are performing in Fort Adams for the first time. Our first conversation this year was with Andrea von Kampen, a singer-songwriter based in Lincoln, Nebraska, who will be performing the Folk Festival “Folk On” event on Monday July 26th.
“How does that feel? We asked ourselves.
âIt’s very surreal, I’ve never even been to Rhode Islandâ¦ I’m very excited,â von Kampen replied enthusiastically.
Von Kampen gained national attention in 2016 with her appearance at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, where she landed in the Top 10 with her song “Let Me Down Easy”. Although she has never been to Newport, she is familiar with the legendary gathering held there.
âFor my last year of college, I did a folk revival project in the ’60s and read a ton of books that talked about Newport as a really important place for this movement. I’ve known about it for five or six years. It’s an amazing festival.
In addition to his original writing, von Kampen has recorded notable covers of songs by artists such as the Carter Family, the Beach Boys and, of course, Bob Dylan.
âI really think of Bob Dylan going electric, one of those iconic moments. I’ve been a huge Dylan fan for a while. Newport is a place where songwriters evolve and change,â she added. .
Indeed, the Newport Folk Festival has always served as an incubator for emerging artists, a practice that the organizers cultivate at the Festival. Von Kampen is definitely one of the coolest artists to perform this summer. She has an amazing voice and is a great songwriter. She gave us some insight into her approach to songwriting.
âI try to approach songwriting as a practice,â von Kampen explained, âlike how you would train in a gym – if you don’t lift weights every day, your muscles won’t. won’t be as strong, and that’s how I feel about writing songs, I try to work on it constantly.
âWhen I’m working on a project, I try to devote one to two hours a day, where I sit and start writing. When I’m not in those big intense writing moments, I read a lot, I watch a lot of things, I’m constantly taking notes. I see things that inspire me and I write them down.
Lincoln, Nebraska isn’t exactly recognized as a center for songwriting, but von Kampen finds it a perfect place to work his craft.
âI think what helps the most coming from Nebraska is the space it offers, and not just literally, but sort of metaphorically. There isn’t a lot of noise here, there isn’t a lot of artistic competition, I’m not in writing rooms every week or meeting for coffee to talk about writing of songs. It’s a bit sparse on this front, âshe explained. “I think Nebraska offers that calm to really get the job done.”
Von Kampen can’t wait to get out This spell, a new album, officially released on August 6e, just after the holidays. She described how it happened during the pandemic.
âIt was written in two or three months, and during the pandemic I was able to go into the studio frequently. The album is a reflection on all the changes that have occurred over the past two years. It’s a pretty broad theme album.
The release includes covers and originals, including a stunning version of The Beach Boys “Don’t Cry, (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)”. âI love the Beach Boys,â von Kampen remarked.
At press time, Von Kampen wasn’t sure exactly where or when she would perform, but look for her on a pop-up stage, or maybe touring the Festival. Wherever she lands, she can’t wait to play Newport.
âI’m really excited to get it all and see as many people as possible! “