lili kendall on the music of her life

The Aussie R&B artist talks the music that's defined her life— from Lauryn Hill, to James Blake, to Amy Winehouse— from 5 to 22.

Photo by BREYONA HOLT (@EXQUISITE_EYE)

"Like many musicians and creatives, my own and other’s craft(s) has always been a form of escape for me. A song, piece of art, or even food, that can stop your train of thought and make you FEEL what that artist was FEELING is something so special. It’s the best example of energy exchange and our collective consciousness as all living beings," Lili says. The Brisbane-born R&B/pop artist's new EP, love, herself., is a transformative look at womanhood, self-empowerment, love, and life. Here, she breaks down the records that have defined her music, career, and personal life thus far.




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Shania Twain: Man! I Feel Like A Woman! (1997)


I actually used to have a sick obsession with this song. When I was 5,I would wake up, put a cute outfit on, and blast this song on the big grey CD player in my room. This shit had me so pumped for the day!




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Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (2006)


Amy is one of my forever favourites. I don’t even know if this album needs an explanation from me, it speaks for itself.







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Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience (2013)

This album was everything to me and still is. When I was about 13/14, I would listen to this on my train commute to and from school. You know how a record or album reminds you of a place? This album reminds me of Kuraby Train Station on the Southside of Brisbane, which is where I’m from. This album also introduced me to the genius of James Fauntleroy. 

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The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)


I honestly never really even gave The Beatles a thought before listening to Magical Mystery Tour. I first discovered this album when I was 16 during a summer at the beach with my family. It felt like drugs. I loved it. I still love this album. It gives me Laurel Canyon and LSD.






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Frank Ocean: Nostalgia, Ultra (2011)


Nostalgia, Ultra is, to this day, hands down, my favourite Frank Ocean album. “We All Try,” “American Wedding” & “Love Crimes” are the standout songs for me, with the latter even inspiring my single “third-degree love crimes.” There is something about Frank’s writing style where it feels like he is honestly conversing with himself or another and that really inspired me to experiment with my artistry and lyrical content when I was a teen. It took me out of the headspace of trying to write a ‘song’ and into more of a space of just writing what comes naturally and not forcing my artistry or style based on trying to conceive a ‘hit’ or particular end product. 


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Lauryn Hill: MTV Unplugged No 2.0 (2002)


I found this album a lot later in life than I wish I had. Regardless, it has probably impacted me more than any other body of work. There is something so raw and compelling — even more so than Lauryn Hill usually is — not only about the songs on this album but about the wisdom she drops between them for the crowd. It is intimate, revealing & a truly timeless piece of art. It’s a hard pick, but I think my favourite moment is on “I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind” when Lauryn breaks down at the end. That’s some real shit, you can feel her feeling those words.


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SZA: Ctrl (2017)


I lived on this album for the months I was in Australia, waiting for my visa to be processed, and it kept me sane and inspired. It was the first album in a while I fell in love with, top to bottom. I would drive my little car around the Gold Coast and listen to this. 







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James Blake: Assume Form (2019)


This album got me through multiple forms of heartbreak that hit me all at once. I was processing a lot of personal pain and grief when this project dropped last year and it was one of the only things that I played through my headphones and in my car for a couple of months afterward — it was honestly a big part of getting through that darkness. So, shout out to you, James Blake! What a guy! I hope I run into you at Whole Foods one day!


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Nai Palm: Needle Paw (2017)


I love this album, it feels like home. The first day I listened to it I was in the car with my friend Vita to drive to the farmer’s market. We ended up making a slight detour on the way home and shaving all my hair off, but I passed her the aux cord and she hit play on Needle Paw.





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Lili Kendall: love, herself. (2020)


This is the first full length project that I wrote and I’m about to release by myself on April 22nd. It’s pretty special to me. Creating the album was a very healing experience for me and I hope listening to it feels the same way for you.

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