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EXCLUSIVE! In "Casual Kisser," Mckenna Grace has a whole new sound—and we're so here for it

Mckenna Grace is ready to tell us everything

In her latest single "Casual Kisser" (you can listen starting Aug. 4), the musician and actress, 17, has found her most authentic—and confessional—sound yet. "If I'm writing [music], you have to know the full story, all the details," she reflects. 

"I came into the studio that day, and my co-writer [Lowell] was actually like, 'Mckenna maybe you should write a happy song today,'" Mckenna remembers with a laugh. "I was like, 'I hate to tell you this, but I have an idea.'" 

Though constantly reliving the same difficult moments and tough stories can get exhausting, the experience, for Mckenna, is cathartic. "This song is an expression of the same thing I've always felt—and still do," she confesses: "Relationships, kissing, things like that, it sounds silly but, for me, it's a big deal. I'm not the type of person to casually date or kiss someone just to kiss someone." 

With vibes reminiscent of Lana Del Rey's "Pretty When You Cry" and Taylor Swift's "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version)," Mckenna's latest music is ~seriously~ relatable to anyone going through heartbreak (or just generally in their feelings). And what's coming next? You'll have to hear from Mckenna to find out... 

Girls' Life: Going into the release of "Casual Kisser," how has your sound evolved?

Mckenna: I feel I've changed a lot as an artist, moving more into a singer-songwriter territory versus my fun little pop-punk phase I went through on Bittersweet 16 [her EP released last March]. I want to tell a story with my next album.

Girls' Life: And what do you hope people take from that story, especially with this single? 

Mckenna: That they're not alone in their experience. People lie sometimes. People can make you feel special and important and just, you know, ditch you. I hope this can help the people who listen work through that a little bit. It happens and it sucks. But never, ever change your morals or what you are comfortable with for someone else.

Girls' Life: When did you know this song was really working for you and telling that story the way you wanted?

Mckenna: That day in the studio, Lowell and I were working with our producer, Pom, who was fantastic. I was actually waiting to work with [Lowell] for this one because she knows me too well. She knows all my stories and I really trust her judgment. We listened to lots of Lana, had a few Starbucks runs and the lyrics seemed to really come out. It really came together once we added the guitar, though. 

Girls' Life: Speaking of slightly happier stories, you finally took your bestie trip to Europe with Malia [Baker] and Momona [Tamada] this summer! 

Mckenna: Yes! It happened. It was fantastic. I feel like the song of the trip was "Karma" by Taylor Swift feat. Ice Spice because it had just come out when we were there. We couldn't stop laughing and singing it and playing it all the time around London and Paris. Trying Marmite was definitely *not* a highlight though. That was a terrible experience. 

Girls' Life: With a busy year and lots more music ahead, what's your go-to affirmation?

Mckenna: "This too shall pass." That's what my mom always tells me. Something bad, something good—everything passes. Enjoy the good moments and remember that the bad ones won't last forever.

Stream "Casual Kisser" HERE now!

Heart this interview? Read these next:
🎶 Khloe Rose opens up about the love triangle that inspired her latest viral single
🎶 Jaidyn Triplett spills on her first single—and our newest summer bop 
🎶 Pressley Hosbach has the best back-to-school advice (plus deets on her upcoming music) 

Images: Gus Black.


by Katherine Hammer | 8/4/2023