Kenny was born in Islington, North London. In the early eighties the heart of the neighbourhood was beating with the sounds of Soul, Reggae, Lovers Rock and Jazz Funk. He sang in the choir at the local church to the delight of his mother and had a busy career as an amateur boxer to the delight of his father!
At 15, Kenny’s vinyl collection was boasting such milestone albums such as “Songs in the key of life” and “Hotter Than July” by Stevie Wonder (his favourite singer), “Off The Wall” & “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and the legendry “Joy & Pain” by Maze. Like any serious music junky Kenny and his mates were constantly buying and exchanging records, then eventually purchasing musical instruments in an attempt to create their own sound. “One friend bought a bass guitar and a Moog synthesizer, i bought an acoustic and an electric guitar, we just jammed all the time trying to emulate the soul and Jazz funk records we loved” reminisces Kenny.
It was around this time the family moved further east, towards Hackney. As fate would have it they moved just a stones throw away from Eddie Grant’s studio, The Coach House, where Eddie had recorded hits including the 1979 track “Living On The Front Line.” ” I remember one very cold winters evening a friend and I plucked up enough courage to go and knock on the studio door. No one was in, we went back again and again until, one night, Eddie’s brother answered,” recalls Kenny. He was 18 and his voice was beginning to develop into a fine soul voice, something that didn’t go unnoticed by Eddie’s brother.
“We managed to raise some funds to record a couple of tracks, most of which came from a friend who worked in Hatton Garden. Eddie came down to the studio one time and remarked on my voice, saying I had “a nice commercial voice” remembers Kenny. They eventually got a small record deal at President Records thinking they had hit the big time but nothing really happened and Kenny retreated into a 9 to 5 job in the West End.
His dad was a well-known professional boxer in his day and had an amature boxing gym in Alexandra Palace, North London, where he trained boxers. One day the hand of fate once again rested on Kenny’s shoulder. A music manager, who was a keen boxer himself, got talking to his dad at a boxing event when those immortal words were uttered… “My son can sing, you should hear his stuff.” He did, and he was very impressed with Kenny's voice.
So, after throwing his umpteenth sicky from his current job to pursue his musical career, Kenny stepped into the studio in Acre Lane, Brixton to record “Outstanding” with a young, talented record producer called Ritchie Fermie.
SPOTLIGHT ON BEVERLY KNIGHT
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