It’s such a pleasure getting to know our Teton Artists better with these short interview sessions and reading through Kenny’s answers was no exception. My favorite thing about music is how it brings people together and I’m so lucky to work with these talented musicians who are out there sharing their love of music. Thanks, Kenny, for your time. We hope you all enjoy.
How were you first introduced to Teton? I remember the first time I was introduced to Teton was late in 2011. My lead guitarist works at Allegro Music in Parker, CO, and told me about this new line of acoustic guitars that they had just received. The next time I swung by his shop I picked a couple of Tetons off the wall and started playing away. I was so impressed with how smooth the tone was, along with how effortless they both were to play. I wasn’t looking for a new guitar at the time, but when I found out how reasonable the price was I walked out with an STA150CENT that day. I have played my baby, Patience, at every acoustic show I’ve had since 2012.
What or who inspires you musically? Just like any artist, I feel there are numerous things that spark my interest and become a muse. I think, for me, it has always been easy to reflect on the relationships I have or have had with people and you can hear that frequently within my songs. I enjoy being able to express certain lessons I’ve learned, along with trying to create dialog between my audience members and myself. I’ve written songs that touch on Alzheimer’s disease, brothers and sisters, the misuse of power, addiction, and, of course, love and lack of love. Specific people that inspire me are my father and Leonardo Da Vinci. In general, anyone who is passionate about what they do drives me to create music and to continue pursuing it.
Was guitar your first instrument? If you count vocals as an instrument, which I do, I started studying singing about a decade before I ever attempted picking up a guitar. To be fair, my first stab at an instrument was the bass in my junior year of high school and I was terrible! Honestly, I still don’t consider myself anywhere near an accomplished guitarist to this day and I have been playing for 13 years.
What’s the most challenging thing about performing live? At this point in my career–just 4 years, I have been lucky to have played over 600 gigs (solo, duo, and full band projects). I still struggle with a few key things; sometimes, I get so wrapped up in a song that I never open my eyes. It’s much easier when I am performing with my full band because I’m not the complete focal point. I feel that eye contact with the audience is very important in terms of creating a stronger connection, but I have, at times, been too timid to come out of my shell. Another thing I have trouble with is speaking too quickly in between songs. It’s not always easy to understand me and I need to chill out sometimes.
Do you prefer a solo act or with your band? While I’m very fulfilled playing my acoustic tunes, there’s nothing like playing with my band members. I am very lucky to be creating and performing music with not only my friends, but a talented bunch of individuals. The camaraderie we have by itself is what I live for. In turn, working with them, has made me analyze a lot of my own material and has made me a better musician.
Is your family musical? Since I was a child, my mother was always singing and dancing with my sister and me. Because we were encouraged to sing so much, my sister and I started participating in both our church and grade school choirs and continued through high school. My sister still has a beautiful voice and I always thought that she was going to be the musician in the family.
Do you have a favorite band or genre you listen to? I’ll try to keep this short…Bright Light Social Hour, Pearl Jam, The Black Keys, Brother Ali, Jimi Hendrix, Ray LaMontagne, Immortal Technique, Young Blood Brass Band, The Avett Brothers, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, The Roots, Bernhoft, Rage Against the Machine, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Led Zeppelin, and the list could go on for another 10 pages. I am a sucker for anything with a loud, bluesy, buzzy guitar. Starting at 18, I have been a big fan of underground hip-hop as well.
Did you always want to be a professional musician? I recall that, at about 10, I wanted to be an archeologist–I was obsessed with dinosaurs. My dreams of being a basketball player went down the drain and dissipated early in high school. In college, I really wanted to be a child counselor or work with kids in some capacity. Throughout all these stages, music remained the constant practice and one day it just became so clear to me that playing music made me the happiest. It was taking that leap into the business that was the most scary, of course.
What’s your earliest memory of music? I remember listening to a lot of 80s pop tunes on the radio in the car. Growing up in Michigan, we would be singing along to records of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Madonna, dancing so vigorously that the needle would always skip off the record tracks.
If you could meet one singer/songwriter living or dead, who would it be and why? AHHH…how dare you make me pick! I love the way The Avett Brothers and Ray LaMontagne write songs and would love to be able to sit down with them while they’re composing. I think being able to meet Jimi Hendrix, early in his career, when he started becoming popular in Europe would be a wild experience (pun intended).
You can find Kenny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kennyleeyoung/
and his band Natural Geometry at https://www.facebook.com/naturalgeometrymusic/
Until next time,
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