"All the attention has been wonderful, but it's a little embarrassing," Billy Kernkamp admitted after showcasing his talent on a show called "Turning the Verge" at Time Warner Studios. "It's the hardest thing I'm coming to terms with. I'm finally being recognized, and it's a great thing." The 33-year-old singer/songwriter also took home the OC Music Awards Best Live Acoustic Act award this year. Starting off as a solo project, Kernkamp kept his name, but added a full band to play live shows around Orange County and flesh out his stories of whiskey, love and loss. Formerly a member of country-rock bands the Sinners, Billy K and the Starliners and Last Campfire, Kernkamp is finally pursuing his dreams of stardom on his own terms. He closed his store Vintage Victim Denim Blues in Huntington Beach in September and is focusing on music full-time. He's releasing his full-length debut album 1976 with a gig at Detroit Bar on May 15; read our full interview--and listen to an album preview--next week. In the meantime, he talks to Danielle Bacher about his favorite places in OC.
Where are your three favorite places to be in Orange County?
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Billy Kernkamp: My first would place would have to be Zion Studios. My friend and producer, Dallas Kruse is there. It's like Charlie and the Chocolate factory, only we write and record music. It's magical. Next, would be my apartment in Costa Mesa. Am I allowed to say that? It's just my home where I feel safe and comfortable. Last would be Gypsy Den. Well, that's an easy one. I work there with the greatest people that work and own that place. The food is great and the customers are astounding. You need to try the waldorf chicken salad sandwich. It's my favorite.
You have a bunch of local musicians playing with you at Detroit Bar for your album release. What local bands are you listening to now?
Holy crap. There are so many. Let's keep it to the records I have: Barrett Johnson, Melanoid, Yellow Red Sparks, Railroad to Alaska, The New Limb, Handsome G, We Are The Pilots, Honeypie and Justin Grennan.