Kenesha is a singer/songwriter who grew up in London, and was quite simply born into a world of music. She was brought up in a family who endorsed the wonderful gift of melody, sound and rhythm. Her grandmother and mother were the first to inspire a really very young Kenesha, with their singing and experimentation with various instruments, which still continues to this day. Her family identity is based on the whole culture of musicality, it’s clear that it’s her life blood, as her new generation relatives share the same talent for song and tunefulness. This is her testimony both from the past and to the present, it’s who she is.
The artists that she grew up on were legends such as, the great Nat King Cole and Jimmy Reeves, along with Gladys Knight and the Pips. Music was for Kenesha, as constant as the moon lighting up the night and the sun brightening up the day. Whether it be having a real boogie to Michael Jackson, or just gently swaying to the cool reggae of Bob Marley, Kenesha was on it, soaking up the unbeatable, undebatable good stuff. Her taste in music stretches into modern rock and pop, and her inspiration for music is never ending.
Kenesha remembers a visit to see some family in New York at the age of nine. Her cousins would encourage her flair for writing songs, as they would sing her praises letting her know how artistic she was. She began to realise that the songwriting process, her own gift for melody and song lyricism came easy and very naturally to her. Almost immediately, her ability for singing and learning instruments came into sync with her exploration as a new composer, and the artist within was awakened. Her voice has a similar texture to Traci Chapman’s, and her songs are a mixture of pop and soul music, in which you can hear elements of swing, and a little hint of funk and reggae in, and some bluegrass. An eclectic expansion of sound yet condensed into a dominant soul feeling.
This first song by Kenesha is called “Hey I“, it’s an inspirational song all about recognizing your place in the world and presenting yourself to it in the best way you know. It will encourage you to open up your character and get yourself living. It opens with a funky bopping guitar riff, as Kenesha’s effortlessly rich tones glide, singing the light and simple, yet eye-opening words. It’s a classic modern soul/pop tune that easily holds its own with anything else of its style. It’s just a true pleasure to hear it, and after the first listen, you’ll be re-clicking for more and more, careful, it’s kind of catchy.
Next up is a live version of a song called “String Around The Moon“, the lyrics have that preferable naivety that’s pleasant. It has a sweet swing touch going on, with another uplifting guitar lick, therefore leading to more inspiration coming from the whole playful nature of this number. With its smooth, dreamy and mellow vocal style, it’s a great tune to listen to before signing off for the night, or just for chilling, whenever you want to chill. It’s so very excellent, it’s perfect in fact.
“String Around The Moon”:
Kenesha’s talent has been referenced by Richard Frostrick, who is a director from the BBC and also the leader of the Barnsbury Choir, as one that owns a beautiful voice. This has lead to her performing in well-known theatres such as Sadlers Wells and Union Chapel. A few years later she was hailed by Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue, the Barbican, for having a natural gift for music, and particularly for melody writing. She was also invited to get involved in a music project, organised by Damon Albarn, frontman for Brit-Pop band Blur and creator of Gorillaz.
Recently she took part in a song to promote the film Smurfs 2 and sang with LYGC choir. Her song “Hey I” featured on ITunes, reached the final top 100 out of over 5,000 songs worldwide for Ditto Music in America. Boston-based radio station and magazine Skope featured “Hey I” in November 2013, which in turn branched out Kenesha’s name to a larger America audience. The song was originally set for a month’s rotation, but due to high demand, it got air time all the way through until April 2014.
In June 2014, Croydon radio station announced Kenesha as one of the hottest new artists around, her song “I Hate The Way” was added to the station’s rotation. Earlier in July, she launched her EP Eyes Wide Open, at The Alley Cat in London, which has previously housed established acts such as The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. A massive highlight for Kenesha was her performance at the Oxjam Summer Shakedown Music Festival in August. This opened up the opportunity for her to be a headlining act at the famous Charlie Wrights venue on the 26th of September, which has seen the likes of Pete Doherty, and Robert Glasper perform.
Here’s what a few other people have to say about her – “She seemed born to the stage with a natural and warm charisma” – Martin Sidel, Whats On London. “We love ‘Hey I’ on Skope radio” – Michael H Freedman, Skope Mgazine and Skope Radio. “Catch her before she sells out the O2” – Bread and Roses, Oxjam Clapham Festival. Purchase Kenesha’s Eyes Wide Open EP here which includes the underground hit “Hey I”, and if you want a full band version of the “Hey I”, click here.
Keep Tabs On Kenesha: Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud
Words by Michael Barrett // Edited by Ayo Adepoju