An Interview With the R&B Crooner, KENNY LATTIMORE On New Music, Growing Up In Washington DC and More!
Posted On 11 Jan 2018
On October 13th, the R&B singer Kenny Lattimore released his ninth studio album called “Vulnerable.” “Push” was the first single from this collection. This album is the follow-up to the singer’s 2015 album, “Anatomy of a Love Song.” This project (No. 14 debut on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, No. 3 on Top R&B Albums) featured the top 20 R&B hit “Love Me Back” produced by Dra-kkar Wesley —whom Lattimore asked again to oversee the 10-track “Vulnerable.”
Like “Push,” this new album intriguingly melds classic and ‘80s R&B into a contemporary sound that enhances Lattimore’s signature sexy, smooth style and relatable storytelling. “Vulnerable” marks the first release under the partnership between Lattimore’s Sincere Soul Records and Liger Enterprises. The latter is a full-service global entertainment company launched by music veteran Ron A. Spaulding and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Frank Thomas.
Learn more about Kenny Lattimore in the following All Access interview:
Thanks so much for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing and if so, what is it?
I am sitting at my computer station off of my family room listening to Kenny Lattimore Pandora radio. Joe is singing “Can’t Get Over You” from the Frankie Beverly & Maze Tribute album.
What music instantly gets you out of a bad mood? What is a song that you are loving these days?
Old school gospel and r&b music instantly can take me out of a bad mood. The message lifts me and the songs remind me of times in my life that I have overcome. One song I am loving these days that’s not old school but new is Ledisi’s “Let Love Rule.”
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
My earliest memory of desiring to be a musician was around 10 years old after singing a song in front of the girls in my neighborhood. I was extremely shy and petrified to sing but somehow it happened. My earliest music memory is my mom singing “Precious Lord” to me in our bathroom when I was around 4 or 5 years old. Growing up I did not initially think of music as a career. I thought everyone could sing, but I knew it was something special for me by the time I was around 14 years old.
When looking back on 2017, what were some of the highlights? What really stood out to you the most?
This year I approached music with the mindset of mentoring and allowing the next generation to influence my future. I was able to create the majority of my newest project “Vulnerable” with a young extraordinary producer named Drakkar Wesley who respects my musical legacy. He wrote and produced my top 10 single “Love Me Back’ on my last R&B project so I told him to take “Vulnerable” as if it was his own. 2017 has been a year of laying foundation for what is next. I look forward to touring the world in 2018.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your home has affected you and your music today?
I love my home town so much and I talk in my show about coming from Washington, DC and listening to the Quiet Storm radio format that was birthed in the city at Howard University’s radio station WHUR. That format of progressive jazz which was a combination of R&B and Jazz is foundational for me. The station played several genres of music but ultimately I think DC is a city that loves live music and instruments. The Go-Go music genre also came from DC. We like the energy of live performance, so singing live is in essence my favorite part of music.
It’s been 2 years since you have released any new music so I am curious how you have been keeping busy during this time?
The 2 years in between releasing my last R&B project “Anatomy Of A Love Song” and this new one, “Vulnerable” was spent releasing a Christmas album and raising my son who is now 14 years old.
What was it like working with your producer, Drakkar Wesley on this latest project? Can you talk about the overall process of putting it all together?
Having Drakkar Wesley taking the lead on this project allowed me to be more a director on the project creatively and think about business and the exposure of “Vulnerable.” I did not start the writing of every song, but was involved with the message and completion of each idea. It was great to have a partner on this. Also, my friend and super producer Aaron Lindsey not only produced on the project as well but served as Executive Producer which took a load of responsibility off of me solely for some of the business related to the project. So overall I feel this was a collaborative work from the heart of men.
Even though it’s difficult, can you pick out a song from this collection and talk about how it went from being just an idea to a full-blown out song? If you made a music video for it, what was that process like?
“Push” was the second song I chose for the album. Lee Major and Todd Jarrett did the music and Drakkar presented me with the demo of the song. I immediately loved it. I kept saying this is a “big” song. I was super happy when Claudia Jordan signed on to play my love interest. She is beautiful inside and out. The video shoot was the fastest filming I think I had ever done. It was just a perfect day!
What was the inspiration and the creative force behind “Push”?
I felt that “Push” was a song that would speak to all of the audiences that I have performed for throughout my career which is why I call it a “big” song. Most people have a push moment in life where they have left someone or been the one left. It’s a song about maturing and realizing our mistakes the hard way…after loss. Now I call it my “grown man apology song” for all the women who felt like “whatever happened to my relationship with…” I had a personal reflection of leaving a relationship in an immature manner but apologizing 15 years later. I did not realize that my push took away my girlfriend’s right to participate in a real discussion about our relationship ending. Immature…
Push inspired me to record because it sounded like a progression to what I had already done in my career as opposed to staying in one lane or one sound. It made me feel like “this is a fresh sound for me and something new.” I think that many things drive the music that we hear today. There are still those who create for the art of creating and their personal evolution. And there are those moved by the power, money and sex of the entertainment industry. There is nothing new under the sun. As to my sound, I love to sing various genres and want to continue to grow as an artist but as I record R&B, I want to keep my brand classic and timeless.
Where can fans see you perform out live this new year? Any dates set yet?
I hope to tour the globe with this album. Check out Kennylattimore.com for all concerts and tour posts.
What do you think of social media today and the importance of it for artists now? Do you find that it’s hard to keep up with it all?
I am grateful for social media. It has been driving force for the beginning of our campaign for the “Vulnerable” release and “Push” exposure. I have a great team to help me keep my fans engaged without me having to do something that is not authentic to who I am.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
I am hearing music that cries out about the times we are living in today from artists from Chaka Khan to Kendrick Lamar, Ledisi and Raheem DeVaughn. I know there are many more artists who are using their platform to inspire others because music has always been a way to voice what is happening in our lives and community. These happen to be some of my favorites.
What was something fun or exciting that you did this past summer?
Early in the summer, I went on a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea to Italy, Greece and Croatia (Where Game of Thrones is filmed). It was amazing beauty and history. It reminds me that I have not seen it all or experienced it all. There is so much more life left to enjoy and places to explore! As God allows me to have breath in my body, I have this unique opportunity to let music take me to places I had never dreamt of seeing.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you find that a lot of your music has a greater meaning behind it?
I hope that my music reminds people to live in love. To hope in love and each other. And as young people make decisions to be a part of this business of music, I charge them to not lose focus on their love for the music. Never walk in the fantasy of another person’s success but embrace your own journey. You never know where your journey will ultimately take you.