Kelly Dowdlle MonrowKelly Dowdle Monrow – Telling Us What "Mama Said"
By Dave Schwartz

Kelly Dowdle is best known for her acting but that’s about to change.  Fans will recall her roles in “Billions,” “Lucifer,” “American Crime Story,” as well as the upcoming film “Three Days Rising.”  But when the recent lockdown placed restrictions on so much of the performing community, the gilded cage proved to be as much inspiration as impedance.  Dowdle is stretching her wings and has released a new single "Mama Said" under the moniker, Kelly Monrow.

“I was in New York and unable to work.  I kept asking myself how I was going to be able to express myself creatively.  Music was the answer,” Dowdle shared.  After making some calls she booked a flight to Nashville where she began working with several producers. 

Dowdle admitted, "I was in Nashville doing a co-write with my producer Sinclair and my mom happened to be in town visiting.  Sinclair and I were working in the backyard and already had a basic melody for the song together.  Mom came out the backdoor and I said something that was smart-assed.  She responded and I started firing off some of her sayings.  We found ourselves laughing and writing them down.  We took those verbatim and turned them into the lyrics of 'Mama Said.'”

With the basic melody already in place, the developing lyric fit perfectly.  The song fell together so quickly that Dowdle’s mom saw her record final vocals that weekend before flying back home.  Mom’s comment, “I think you’ve found your calling.” 

Some of the best songs have come from a very personal space and it’s obvious that this song did as well.  Having that special relationship with mom and then finding a way to share it with the world is fantastic.  I asked Dowdle if she was building toward releasing an album. 

“Yes.  I have recorded 11 songs so far and I hope to release a full album next year.  The first 5 songs we wrote were more in the country genre.  Some of the songs are more rock.  This is so different for me because, as an actor you pretend to be someone else.  These songs are so personal.  Writing music has forced me to reveal parts of me that I’ve been hiding.”

I shared with Dowdle that many of the artists I interview voice a story that is very momentarily like hers in that, they have found ways to discover inspiration through this lockdown that we have all endured.  Being forced into a cage of sorts has forced them to dig deeply into their souls and find creative ways to continue to express themselves. 

I asked Dowdle about some of the other songs and producers that she has worked with.  “Are you familiar with Kevin Griffen from Better Than Ezra?”  Griffin is a prolific writer and producer who has co-written songs for artists such as Sugarland, James Blunt, Christina Perri, Taylor Swift, Train, Howie Day, Missy Higgins, Daniel Powter, Augustana, Debbie Harry, and Josh Radin. 

“I think my next single will be a hit,” she confesses.  I poked at her a bit to find out more.  “It will be out in mid-November and it’s called ‘I’m Alive’.  It’s going to be a hit.  I’m going to make sure it becomes one!”

Dowdle shared that the song is about all we’ve been going through and that it’s going to make a statement.  “The song is a little more in your face.” 

I asked about touring, when her fans would be able to see her onstage.  “I so much want to play live!  It would be next year, maybe starting around New York and then more.” 

While saying my goodbyes with Kelly Dowdle, she shared a story of meeting Shirley MacLaine years ago.  They were discussing acting and presenting their art.  Dowdle shared a quote from Maclaine that has stuck with her - “Once art is released, it’s no longer yours.  It belongs to the world and you no longer have anything to say about it.” 

That is a very wise statement. 

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