Mancunian singer-songwriter Jon Kenzie is like a breath of fresh air. His intimate acoustic sound is emotionally evocative and the songs from his latest album, Sing A Little Higher, are evidence of true musical talent. He spoke to MusicUmpire about touring, breaking into music, his musical influences and hopes for the future.
MU: How long have you been making music?
JON: I’ve been gigging and writing music since I was 16 years old.
MU: When did you first realise your love for songwriting?
JON: I guess as I began to get better at singing and playing guitar, it was just a natural progression to begin writing songs. I think I wrote my first tunes when I was about 17 which, looking back now, were not very good at all. I then started playing in a band of local kids from the area I grew up in, and as well as playing covers, we began to add more and more of our own songs. Songwriting is a constant learning process and I still feel today that I am striving to write a truly great tune. Perhaps one day I will get there but then if that happens I would have nowhere else
MU: How would you describe your sound?
JON: Thats always a hard question to answer. I generally give the vague answer: ‘bluesy, funky, souly, folky.’
MU: What genre(s) would you say your music fits into?
JON: Haha… blues, folk, soul and funk … Maybe a bit of rock and roll.
MU: Who would you cite as your musical influence(s)?
JON: Generally I’ve been mainly influenced by old school artists and musicians from the blues and soul scene such as Al Green, BB King, Muddy Waters and Tom Waits, as well as folk artists such as John Martin, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and many more.
MU: Are there any bands or solo artists in the current music scene that you listen to?
JON: I love bands like Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Black Keys and [musician] Jamie Lidell. I have also recently been listening to an Irish guy called Hozier.
MU: You have already released two albums – Not Much Technical Stuff in 2011, and more recently, Sing A Little Higher, on which the track “Hang me on the line” features. Do you have any more albums planned for the future?
JON: Yes, most definitely. I did plan to make another this year but as I have been so busy touring I haven’t had time to write as much as I would like. I think it will be early next year when I get around to recording again.
MU: What is your favourite song from the Sing A Little Higher album and why?
JON: Hmmm… I would probably say “Puppet king” purely because we captured a really nice vibe when we recorded it live in the studio. With others, I felt like they didn’t quite reach their potential.
MU: Do you see your musical style changing in any way with future musical endeavours?
JON: We will see. I like to think I am free to go in any direction in terms of style and genre, it will just depend on what inspires and influences me in the future.
Jon Kenzie recently released the following music video for “Hang me on the line” – the fourth track from his latest album:
MU: Your music video for “Hang me on the line” is very creative! What was the inspiration behind it?
JON: I met some very talented performers in a street festival called ‘Truki Trek’ in Germany who also happen to be talented film makers under the name Lumaca Films. I wanted to use the same kind of puppets they use in their street performances in the video as they were so comical and interesting and we worked together to create this lovely video. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with them and I hope to do another music video in the future.
MU: Do you have any gigs or tours planned?
JON: Yes. I am currently doing a busking tour around Germany. My next concert is in Hamburg and you can follow my future concerts on my website.
Find out where Jon Kenzie will be next by following him on Twitter.