Hitting the Right Notes: Kendra Erika

Inside Kendra Erika’s ascent from tone-deaf child to chart-topping singer

Kendra Erika has a message for her generation.

“Believe in yourself for what you are,” says the 26-year-old singer. “With social media such a big influence in our lives, sometimes we project images of ourselves because we want to be accepted. But that’s not who we really are, and life is more fulfilling when you live it in your own skin.”

The Boca Raton native tries to get that message across through her music, most recently in the single “Deeper Love.” Meanwhile, she’s had four Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs Chart in the past two-and-a-half years. But she’s hardly let that success go to her auburn-haired head.

“It’s just some traction,” Erika says. “I can’t bask in anything, because I have an ambitious side. I can be sensitive, vulnerable, happy-go-lucky and quirky, but deep down there’s a lion in me.”

That inner strength helps her navigate her own path in the music industry, though she has help from longtime L.A. record producer Damon Sharpe. Together, they write the songs, produce videos and do everything else a record label would do—except try to pigeonhole her into a commercial stereotype.

“I literally had someone tell me, ‘You need to be an Adele-type person and sing songs about how a man left you for a prettier girl,’” she says with a laugh. “But I don’t think that is conducive to anybody’s mental health, especially mine.”

The Saint Andrews School graduate admits she was no prodigy. “I was born tone-deaf,” she confesses. “But I had confidence and just blurted out songs. It was hilariously painful for my parents—and whoever else was in the room.”

Her folks, Ingrid and Fred Fulmer, hired a classical vocal coach when Erika was 8 years old, and before long she was performing in school productions and community theatre. Although she had her eye set on a music career, she studied communications and international business at Lynn University.

“My mom encouraged me to get a four-year degree,” Erika recalls. “She said, ‘We support your music career, but you need a good education so when you’re interviewed you don’t sound like your IQ is lower than your shoe size.’”

Erika now splits her time between Boca and L.A., and has big plans for the future.

“Next year I’ll be touring,” she says. “I’m putting together an amazing group of dancers to accompany me, and we’ll tour in the U.S. and Europe, playing nightclubs and main stage venues.

“I love traveling, constantly being on the move and seeing other perspectives. I want to amplify what I am as an artist and make a positive impact in the world.”

This story is from the March 2020 issue of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.