Kenzie Ziegler never intended for her new single to be a hit — in fact, she never planned to release it.
“My therapist told me to write a letter to my dad,” Ziegler explains over a recent Zoom. “And I didn’t want to do that, just because that felt really strange for me. So I wrote a song just for her to hear, and I sent it to her and I was like, ‘Here’s my letter to my dad.’”
Turns out, her therapist has somewhat of an ear for music.
“She was like, ‘Whoa, this song’s actually really, really good,’” Ziegler says.
From there, she began sampling the track, called “Anatomy,” with some friends before finally deciding to release it, late last month. She twinned the release with a music video for the single, choreographed by her sister, Maddie Ziegler.
Kenzie, 19, admits to being nervous to release “Anatomy,” which comes on the heels of singles like “Sickly Sweet,” “100 Degrees” and “Paper.”
“It is so personal and I really didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings, even though we’re not even close anymore,” she says of the “Anatomy” release. “It was just a weird situation, but I’m honestly so happy that I put it out. It’s honestly been so amazing. The amount of great feedback I’ve gotten has just made it kind of just like a pinch me moment. It’s just so surreal. And I just love how so many people can relate to it. It’s been awesome hearing other people’s stories and it makes me feel like I’m not alone.”
Writing a song that showed a less-than-perfect look at her life, which has been heavily visible online since Ziegler was a kid on “Dance Moms” alongside sister Maddie.
“I think everyone thinks that all these people who are in the industry have a perfect life,” she says.
“Anatomy” marks a decidedly more personal era of songwriting for her.
“I feel like [now] I’m more open to talk about my real-life experiences — I feel like I have with all of my other songs, but I feel like this one was super, super personal and I just feel like it’s nice to connect with people in a different way,” she says.
Ziegler dabbled in music while still on “Dance Moms” but wasn’t able to be involved much in the actual process of songwriting until she was around 13 and was put into some songwriting classes.
“It’s a very nerve wracking thing to do, to talk about your real life and, and put your voice out there,” she says. “But I honestly love what I’m doing.”
She plans to continue to release singles this fall, with an album at the top of next year, via Hollywood Records. The dream would then be to hit the road and tour, even if she does get pre-show jitters.
“I think the only reason why I have stage fright is because when I was younger, I would dance on stage every single day basically, and I would just be so nervous that I was going to disappoint someone. So I think that’s definitely carried on throughout my life,” she says. “But honestly, I just try not to look at the people in the crowd. It’s a journey that I’m on for sure.”