The Walking Dead's Emily Kinney Talks Her Passions and New Single, 'Walkin Round Your Dreams'
Actress Emily Kinney may be best known for her role as Beth Greene on The Walking Dead, but the star is also a talented singer-songwriter with a big story to tell.
Today, May 4, she dropped her latest single, "Walkin Round Your Dreams," a laidback reflection on love that feels like the perfect chill summer bop. It's our very first peek at her upcoming album, Swimteam, set to drop this fall, and we can't wait to see what else Emily has in store for us. The moment we heard it, we had to find out more, and Emily was kind enough to chat with us all about what the track means to her, and all of the challenges and benefits of pursuing a musical career while being recognized for her acting work. Read the full interview below.
Sweety High: Between being an actress and singer-songwriter, is there any one role you're most passionate about?
Emily Kinney: It really depends on the day. They fulfill different roles for me. With music, I'm sorting out every part of the project, but with acting, I can focus on my one part of playing the character, which can honestly really be a relief.
But with acting, you have to fit into someone's bigger picture, someone has to pick you. I can book a show for my music or write a song anytime, so some days, not having to be picked can be a relief.
(Photo credit: Drew Bienemann)
SH: What's the story behind "Walkin Round Your Dreams"? Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write it?
EK: It was about the first romantic entanglement I had after a big breakup. The person I was dating kept saying he was seeing me in his dreams and we'd have these adventures, so that was the inspiration.
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SH: What does "Walkin Round Your Dreams" mean to you? What do you hope it will mean to your fans?
EK: The love affair was very brief and fleeting, but held a lot of weight for me, and I think writing a song about it was a way for me to hold on to it and give it more meaning.
SH: What's your favorite lyric from the track?
EK: "Wish I could walk around your brain space." I just love the way "brain" sounds when you say it and sing it, and the idea of really getting into the insides of someone's head.
Also: "I lay on the floor, I fall fast asleep, ice cold in the air conditioning." It lends itself to being a kid in the summer, coming in from the swimming pool or playing outside and falling asleep on the floor or something. I like the idea that the whole song could have just been a dream during one of those weird summer afternoon naps.
SH: Where does this song fit into the wider narrative of your upcoming album, Swimteam? Does the album have any major themes you've loved exploring?
EK: Referencing water seems to be a theme for me, and you definitely find that in this song. As much of a bummer as this album is, it's also a lot of fun. And I think this song sets the stage to have a little fun.
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SH: Do you feel like there's extra pressure on you as a musical artist because of your successful acting career? What are the pros and cons of that duality of your work?
EK: Depends on the day. I personally put a lot of pressure on myself to always be a working actor and musician, and to be generating income and be able to support myself and the various teams around me. I think because of the success of The Walking Dead, there can be a temptation or pressure to try to make every creative project after that have the same sort of reach, but that's just not how being an artist goes. Every project is different, whether an album or acting role, and the audience or interest in that project is going to be different. There's also pressure being a woman and having a timeline.
Once, an ex-manager said to me, "Don't worry, you've got time—it's not like you're 35 or something." I remember thinking, "What happens at 35—do I stop knowing how to write songs, do I stop being a good actress? I plan on being an artist, running around on stage in my 80s if I'm lucky enough to live that long. But there is a reality to aging and the kinds of touring you can do and the kinds of roles you can play.
The pros and cons are: because of my work on television, some of my music has been introduced to a much larger audience. The cons are that maybe that audience isn't even a music-loving, concert-going audience, and maybe people are disappointed when they realize I'm me, which is different than a character I played.
SH: What's one thing you're proudest of right now?
EK: My peace and my connection with myself. I also just think my skills as an actor and writer are truly better than ever.
For more insights from our favorite actors-slash-musicians, click HERE to read our interview with Bob's Burgers' John Roberts on his new track, "DANGER."