Kenna was born in Ethiopia but only spent a few years there before his family moved and settled in Cincinnati then finally Virginia Beach. He has said that U2's Joshua Tree album was what inspired him to explore music in the first place, but his style draws from a solid number of genres and artists. The Cure being cited as one of them is also quite evident in Sacred New Cow, his first album, the only one I've listened to until now. I might throw in some Depeche mode as another influence, especially on his first album.
Kenna was sending out many demo tapes in his college years and eventually this resulted in Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst making the best decision he has ever made, giving Kenna the go-ahead to work with Durst's new sub-label to produce his first album. Sadly, it was not to be and after the album was completed in 2001 Interscope, the parent label, decided not to release it. It took till 2003 and a new label entirely, Colombia, to get the album "A New Sacred Cow" to finally hit store shelves. The album was produced by Chad Hugo, one half of The Neptunes, a duo that also includes famous producer and hat wearer, Pharell.
This music video was how I was introduced to him back when I was young, and I was hooked after that.
Took me a long time to track down his stuff. For a few years I looked around to find new stuff but gave up. I never knew until the end of 2016 that he had released anything other than A New Sacred Cow. I really enjoy that album.
In 2007, after three years of work, Kenna released his second album. "Make Sure They See My Face" was also produced by Chad Hugo. The title came from phone calls Kenna received from Pharell while on an attempt Kenna made to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. During one of the phone calls Pharell asked "are you going to make sure they see your face?" The song featured the sing "Say Goodbye to Love" which was nominated for an R&B Grammy.
You have to love "everyone in the audience, you're getting a copy!" [cut to a bunch of middle aged white ladies who likely would never listen to this album]. I do think it's cool Ellen always gives away a copy of an artists album.
In 2010 Kenna teamed up with Kid Cudi to work on a song for Capcom, possibly for Super Street Fighter 4's release, if I had to guess. The track never was entirely finished or officially released, but it was streamed one time and is available here.
That same year he also created the Summit on the Summit, an initiative to bring attention to the need for clean water.
In 2011 Kenna announced plans to release a series of 3 EPs as a way to lead up to the release of his next album. The first in the series was titled "Land 2 Air Chronicals I: Chaos and The Darkness" and it was released april 2011.
The series actually became a 5 part series as the second chapter of Land 2 Air Chronicles was a 3 part series known as "Land 2 Air Chronicles: Imitation is Suicide Chapter I / II / III." There is supposed to be one more entry still to be released titled "Land 2 Air Chronicles: Genius."
Finally in july 2015 Kenna released the single "Sleep When We Die" for his album "Songs for Flight." The album was attempting to be crowdfunded as well as be part of a charity known as "One-For-One." I have no idea if it was successful, but seeing as it still hasn't been released I'd assume the crowd funding campaign failed. Given that one of Kenna's apparent heroes is Bono it doesn't surprise me that he has such an interest in humanitarianism.
I'm definitely not dead yet so I guess it's not time to sleep, but I think this is a good point to end the blog. Until next time!