Kenna, who has had two major label releases, one with Columbia and one with Interscope, has decided to go completely independent for the next step in his career . Songtrust will be his publishing administrator as the singer/songwriter/producer is set to self-release a series of 3 EPs in 2011 (distributed by TuneCore). The Land 2 Air Chronicles being the first, which was released on April 26th, was co-produced by Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. Kenna best known for his Grammy-nominated song 'Say Goodbye To Love', his MTV VMA Breakthrough-nominated and critically acclaimed videos, or his production work with some of the biggest names in music (Lupe Fiasco, Justin Timberlake, N.E.R.D.). However, you may also know him for his philanthropic efforts to bring clean water to the world through Summit on the Summit, a first ever transmedia climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kenna masterminded the project and invited cultural influencers on the ascent; culminating in a 2 Billion impression event that raised awareness for the fight against the global clean water crisis.
Kenna recently sat down with the Songtrust team to discuss his future plans, his take on the industry and going DIY.
Tell us about your new project and what the world can expect?
I am releasing 3 EPs called Land 2 Air Chronicles. It is based on Emerson's essay called "Self-Reliance. These will lead up to an album that I hope to release early next year. The world can expect to hear something real and connected to the idea of bringing dreams into reality. These EP's and the album Songs For Flight are set to finally see me take flight with the music I have had to fight to create and get to my fans.
At this point in your career you appear to be going completely independent/DIY, what was it that made you decide to do things this way?
Going independent was the path that made most sense. This is the time to truly make the impact and be the designer of my future. I enjoy the freedom to do it & to decide how it will be handled. My mission is to be a part of change in the industry as a whole. Its not an easy path but I am willing to take the risk & know that my fans will take it with me.
How does this compare to how things were when you first came up as an artist/songwriter?
Things are very different now... You have the opportunity to pool resources and the internet gives you direct contact with your fans and relationships to promote. It is ours to create the world we want to live in. Its a remarkable time in history that we are able to have the conversation of self-publishing and licensing through a digital platform. I had to be a part of it and be the first to engage! Songtrust style.
You’ve been in the music business as an artist/songwriter for a while, how do you see the music industry evolving and maybe where it will be in 10 years?
I see music into the future. I think people see drastic changes, but I see a reorganization and a return to diligence on the artists that the industry has faith in. Laziness is the death of the current model. The new model for the industry is not so much different as much as it will be hyper-optimized. Star chasing executives in business for themselves vs the artist that entrusts their future in them... Kharma is Coming.
What advice do you have for emerging songwriters/artists on how to navigate through the music industry?
Be a nonconformist & stay true to your art. It may be a difficult path but it is the best way. Be a leader. No two of us are the same. In our skin we are individually original because no two people have the same experiences. Define you for you and stay true.
For more information on Kenna, check out some of these links: