Q&A: Kevin Jenkins

KevinJenkins_StepInside-Cover

Written by Erika Owen

Not only did he release a new album yesterday (“Step Inside”), he’s opened for acts like Michael Jackson, The Police, and BB King. Kevin Jenkins is a badass on the bass. “Step Inside” marks his first time behind the mic of a full-length album. Check it out here and see what he has to say about the project and what he wants fans to get out of it.

Q: Describe your sound in three words that begin with an K.
A: Kool, Kinetic, Kaleidoscopic. ( C would have been loads easier.)

Q: You’ve been an opener for so many icons–The Police, BB King, Michael Jackson. What was that like?
A: Opening for very large and or iconic acts, is at once validating and humbling. You’re stoked because you get to be on the same stage with legends,in some cases your idols. At the same time the audience generally can’t wait for you to be gone, and for myself at least, that nagging feeling deep down that I will never get to that level of greatness.

Q: What is soul music to you?
A: Soul music to me has changed over the years. When I was a young guy, it was all silky smooth vocals and polished harmonies ala The Tempations, Whispers, Blue Magic and countess other slick boy groups.

Later I liked my soul a little rougher, Otis and Aretha, Sam and Dave, Memphis and Stax. With the progression of time and coming to terms with what honestly moves me, I now feel Soul Music is being made by many kinds of musicians in many different genres. If it moves me, touches me in a visceral way regardless of the sonic trappings, I experience it as “SoulMusic”.

Q: What can listeners look forward to with Step Inside’s September 9th debut?
A: I hope they will find something “Soulful” to connect with. I have the luxury of being old enough to understand that not everybody’s gonna feel this record. My hope is that folks connect with the fact that I genuinely made the kind of music that I want to listen to. A little bit retro a little bit positive message, hopeful and heartfelt.

I guess I will find out soon enough.

Q: What has been your favorite show/venue to play and why?
A: I just recently did a show in Vienne, France at an amphitheater that was roughly 1,800 years old. I was paying bass for Shemekia Copeland who s a fantastic young contemporary blues artist. The venue held around 3000 people or maybe more. The audience had little to no clue who we were, but by the end of the show they were standing and cheering and doing that soccer stadium thing that Europeans sometimes do. It was breath taking and miraculous! It all came down to them being “moved” by the music. I pray that I can experience that with my own music someday.

Q: If you could tour/play with any band (dead or alive) who would it be?
A: Easy. Jimi Hendrix band of Gypsys! Coolest, funkiest, rockinest band I ever heard!

Q: Have any outrageously awesome fan stories? 
A: I don’t have any for myself as regards my music, yet.

On this same European tour with Shemekia, while in Germany I sat down with a guy who had travelled from like Southern Spain to see us that night. Two days of trains and planes and automobiles.

Q: What is one thing you’d like listeners to keep in mind while listening to your music?
A: Just to hear our band! That we are all connected, that going it alone while a romantic notion, is ultimately a dead end. I’m an optimist, a heart on my sleeve, we are all in this together hippie throwback. It’s never too late to step inside the circle.

And if that’s too much psycho babble, then I hope they just kick back and groove with me.

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