Kenna is on a global journey.
Grammy Award and Emmy Award-nominated artist Kenna has toured and collaborated with a host of notable music influencers such as Pharrell, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Kings of Leon, Nelly Furtado, Lupe Fiasco, JoJo, Linkin Park and Justin Timberlake.
As the first ever One-For-One Artist Kenna is bypassing the traditional music business model and crowdfunding the production of his next album, Songs For Flight. Kenna will be traveling around the world and documenting his journey to encounter those who inspire change in the world. He is also meeting with artists and fans to film the music video for the first song off his new album, Songs For Flight entitled “Sleep When We Die”. With his dedication to better the world through music, up to 50% of his profits will go directly to deserving causes around the world. Kenna says, “This project is about art and music and it’s power to create change.”
To launch this campaign, Kenna is embarking on a worldwide tour to meet with people that influence change in the world. Visiting cities such as Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Chennai, Tel Aviv, Paris, London, New York, Haiti and Mexico City where fans are all invited to come out and participate in filming!
Kenna’s philanthropic focus over the last few years has been in water, women empowerment and the arts. Having supported organizations like charity: water, I AM THAT GIRL and Americans for the Arts, he’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions in appropriations for causes over the years.
“Sleep When We Die” may be more than just a song for Kenna, it’s reality. We were able to get an exclusive interview with him through the jet lag during his stay in New York. The metaphorical lyrical hacker explains One-For-One and the inspiration for his music. Check it out below!
Was there ever a time where you believed that going commercial was your best option?
Kenna: [ha ha] Sure going commercial is always an option. It’s not necessarily a home though. There are three kinds of people in the world when it comes to music, there are explorers, there are discoverers, and then there are spectators. When you go commercial all you have is spectators and your’e a gladiator at that point and if you don’t kill, your’e dead. People watch the blood sport of it like whatever happens to that record, they love it or hate it, it’s all very whatever but if you make music that has value into forever, into oblivion then you get the exploring people who are actually looking for something with depth and you will find they will tell all their discovering friends who will buy your records and come to your shows and care that you exist on the planet. I can go commercial but then I would be a gladiator fighting for things I don’t necessarily believe in. The answer is sure, but it’s not in my DNA.
As a one-for-one artist you’re not taking the traditional music route for your third album, Songs For Flight, what made you decide to embark on this campaign?
Kenna: I just think that … the time has come. I think music has become very much a gladiator sport. This is personal for me, I’ve always wanted to be a global citizen. I’ve always made my music hoping that it would reach people and be a soundtrack to them [becoming better humans]. My mentors in music [artists that I love] were both Micheal Jackson and Bono. When it came down to Bono it was because he wrote journeys, he wrote songs that just took you on your own path it wasn’t necessarily his. [Micheal] because he did something with innovation and he was pushing things forward. I’m just hoping to be a combination of those two things and being a one-for-one artist is an innovation, it’s me saying we don’t need to rely on an industry that is built on the anthesis of what art is. The industry is built on greed and fear, art is based on being bold and generous and if we spend all of our time chasing the chase like they do no offense to them god bless them for getting their own deals that way and working their asses off to get there . If we all go after that then our chances are way less that we’re ever gonna get there and we live dissatisfied artistic lives because we’re chasing the greed and the fear of not getting that deal why wouldn’t we just be bold and generous and say look my deal is hand to hand combat, I’m shaking hands and kissing babies I’m running for president of the United States of Kenna.
My responsibility is to convince you and anyone that hears of me and hears my music that I’m here to do a great work by my art, by my friendships, my family, by my allies and fans. That’s my community I can’t save the world, but I can save mine . That’s what one for one is about just me being able to get to a point where I have my core audience, my core base of people who are with me and that we together create the ripple effect of my art that may change the world, may reinvent the world. I’ve proven it’s possible, it’s not like I haven’t done this before, with Summit on the Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro climb is literally my third album. People don’t recognize it as that but I wrote it like an album and the features on that album were Lupe Fiasco, Zombie Gold, Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch and all these amazing people who went up a mountain for me but I went to my then label last. I gave them an hour and thirty minutes worth of music, as far as I was concerned it was a documentary but I also got a sponsor to pay for it and that was the brand just like Apple and Delta payed for my trips across the world for me to be inspired by this whole one for one thing, it’s all very similar. I’m an architect and my responsibility is to do things my peers and my friends may not know to do. I create the world that I hope people would be able to live in and develop in in the future. One for one is the first step to a very big innovation hoping that other artists will come to the table saying you know what I agree with that and I can do something similar like this and that would be this kind of pursuit with those explorers and discoverers.