While many older folks are quick to blame millennials for everything from the death of retail to the propagation of the figurative usage of “literally,” young adults are also finding new ways to be heard.

Singer-songwriter Declan McKenna, a 19-year-old from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, has been impressing members of his generation and several others with his smart and very English indie-pop rock, as heard on his 2017 debut What Do You Think About the Car?

He won the Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2015, then released the peppy song Brazil, which takes aim at the World Cup and FIFA for ignoring the impoverished and marginalized people struggling to survive in the favelas while the country built stadiums for a one-time event. He followed that critically hailed song with another, Paracetamol, inspired by the suicide of a transgender teen and the misrepresentation of LGBT communities in the media.

Now with a few years of songwriting, touring and a full album under his belt, McKenna is purposely playing some new markets in the U.S., including Akron and the Coachella festival in California.

“It’s kind of what makes touring interesting ... I’m ending up in places that I wouldn’t go on holiday to, places I wouldn’t go for any other reason other than touring. So it’s throwing yourself into the deep end, because you really don’t know what to expect. I think that keeps it kind of exciting and fresh every day,” McKenna said by phone on his way to Rhode Island.

On this tour McKenna is also visiting high schools to talk with and perform for students. He’ll stop at Firestone High School at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday before his 8 p.m. set at Musica.

“That’s been a pretty interesting thing, visiting schools and performing and doing songwriting talks and stuff. It’s been pretty cool talking to young people about going to into this sector of work and why they should never ever do it,” he said laughing.

McKenna has concerns about lack of arts funding both in his homeland and in the U.S., and hopes his Q&As with students can help them understand the music business.

“It’s good to be able to give some kind of education or understanding or some kind of arts experience to kids in school who don’t necessarily get to do this a lot and may be in the same position as me,” he said.

“They want to do this sort of thing, but maybe they struggle with creativity or struggle with knowing what the music industry is like. … And even though I’m not an expert, I’m a young person who has been through the sort of rough end of the industry and come out of it OK, and now I’m touring for a living and performing and I’m writing for a living and that’s what I do. So, hopefully I can give some kind of insight to young people and inspire the next generation of American songwriters.”

Among the advice McKenna offers to his fellow youths: Concentrate on your creativity.

“It’s important to remind kids who obviously love writing and creating, that’s it’s going to be the most important part of what they do. And before you even think of stepping into the business side of the industry, just discover yourself as an artist, spend time on it. There’s no rush,” he said.

For What Do You Think About the Car? he teamed up with James Ford, a member of Simian Mobile Disco who has also produced music by Depeche Mode, the Arctic Monkeys and Florence and the Machine. The pair gave McKenna’s melody-laden songs lush production and fairly taut arrangements and grooves. His influences include David Bowie, Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent and Jeff Buckley.

The slow-building Humongous, about the confusion of being a teenager in the 21st century, builds from a loping and syncopated beat and jingly guitar chords to a caffeinated uptempo rock groove. On The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home McKenna takes on being young in a modern world that dismisses your concerns and confusion, and how the next generation doesn’t want to maintain the status quo.

“You don’t know how to give love to anyone/You don’t know how to pretend,” is how he voices the anger young people feel at the world they’ve been given. “You told your kids that they’d live long forever/But the kids don’t wanna come home again,” he sings, backed by a chorus of kids.

Now fully immersed in the industry, McKenna said he plans to keep writing and singing to and on behalf of the younger generation, in hopes of inspiring others to share their thoughts on subjects beyond just growing up.

“I feel that it’s vitally important to write and talk about people struggling with young people’s beliefs, young people not being listened to and not being taken seriously.”

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.