Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Kenny Thomas - Breathe (New Album) Sept 2011

Well it seems Kenny Thomas has a new album out, here's some details and some audio:

Kenny Thomas
Released: September 19th, 2011

He’s a multi-platinum selling artist who dominated the commercial, soul and album charts in the 90’s. By the time he was 23 he had been nominated for 2 Brit Awards, shared the stage with such luminaries as Edwin Starr, Freddie Jackson, Kool & The Gang, Incognito and Lonnie Liston Smith and was a regular on TOTP! Then, on the eve of the release of his third studio album he decided, in his own words “to walk into the wilderness, take stock and get back in touch with my beloved soul roots…”

And that’s exactly what he did…. until now!

His new studio album, Breathe, is a British affair blistering with 14 songs showcasing the finest UK songsmiths and producers from the soul, R’n’B and contemporary arenas.

From the opening track, “The Show Is Over”, produced by Mark Jaimes and Danny Saxon, who’ve worked with world-class vocalists from Luciano Pavaroti to Mick Hucknall, you know you’re in for a treat. Toast of the UK R'n’B and Gospel scene, 5am, offer up slices of seductive modern soul on the eponymous “Breathe”, “It Aint Perfect” and beautiful re-working of “Thinking About Your Love.” Sir Piers & Toni Economides put their Midas touch to “Coming Down From Love,” “Just Stay” and “Troubled Man.”

…And when you think you’ve heard it all, enter the beautifully crafted productions from Drizabone & the Soul Family on “Baby It’s You”, Richard Earnshaw giving props on “On The Outside,” Scott Whitman “How Do I Let You Go” and Music Eye on “It’s Better” and “Get Out”. The closing track, “Addicted”, is produced courtesy of Nicolas Bulostin.

The one person missing from this musical cadre is Fransisca Thomas (yes, the missus) who wrote the poignant “The Show Is Over” and duets with Kenny on “Get Out”, this truly is a family affair.

Kenny was born in Islington, North London. In the early eighties the heart of the neighbourhood was beating with the sounds of Soul, Reggae, Lovers Rock and Jazz Funk. He sang in the choir at the local church to the delight of his mother and had a busy career as an amateur boxer to the delight of his father!

At 15, Kenny’s vinyl collection was boasting such milestone albums as “Songs in the key of life” and “Hotter Than July” by Stevie Wonder (his favourite singer), “Off The Wall” & “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and the legendry “Joy & Pain” by Maze. Like any serious music junky Kenny and his mates were constantly buying and exchanging records, then eventually purchased musical instruments in an attempt to create their own sound. “One friend bought a bass guitar and a Moog synthesizer, I bought an acoustic and an electric guitar, we just jammed all the time trying to emulate the soul and Jazz funk records we loved” reminisces Kenny.

It was around this time the family moved further east, towards Hackney. As fate would have it they moved just a stones throw away from Eddie Grant’s studio, The Coach House, where Eddie had recorded hits including the 1979 track “The Front Line.” ” I remember one very cold winters evening a friend and I plucked up enough courage to go and knock on the studio door. No one was in, we went back again and again until, one night, Eddie’s brother answered,” recalls Kenny. He was 18 and his voice was beginning to develop into a fine soul voice, something that didn’t go unnoticed by Eddie’s brother.

“We managed to raise some funds to record a couple of tracks, most of which came from a friend who worked in Hatton Garden. Eddie came down to the studio one time and remarked on my voice, saying I had “a nice commercial voice” remembers Kenny. They got a small record deal at President Records thinking they had hit the big time but nothing really happened and Kenny retreated into to his 9 to 5 job in the West End.

His dad was a well-known professional boxer in his day and had a boxing gym in Alexander Palace where he trained amateur boxers. One day the hand of fate once again rested on Kenny’s shoulder. A music manager, who was a keen boxer himself, got talking to his dad when those immortal words were uttered… “My son can sing, you should hear his stuff.” He did, and was blown away.

So, after throwing his umpteenth sicky from his job to pursue his musical career, Kenny stepped into the studio to record “Outstanding” with a young, talented producer called Ritchie Fermie. His manager took the single into Cooltempo Records, who at the time had signed another of his artists, Monie Love. Within 2 weeks Kenny was signed and making an album with producer Ian Green for one of the leading dance and hip-hop labels in the UK. His label mates included GangStarr, Eric B and Rakim, Doug E Fresh And The Show and Masters at Work to name but a few. This time he knew he wouldn’t have to throw any more ‘sickies’ and finally handed in his notice at the 9 to 5 job!

Kenny’s debut album, “Voices”, went platinum in its first week and went on to sell over double platinum in the UK alone, spawning 4 hit singles, “Outstanding”, “Tender Love”, “Thinking About Your Love” and “Best Of You”. Then came his second album, “Wait For Me,” which also offered up a slew of hits including “Stay” and “Trippin’ On Your Love.”

Kenny’s 3rd studio album, “Him,” was in the record company starting blocks ready to go into the promotional/marketing machine when he had his epiphany: He hadn’t stopped for 5 years and he needed to take stock. He walked away from his record company, his 3rd album and his manager and immersed himself in the underground modern soul scene and simply hasn’t looked back.

For the discerning lovers of modern UK soul Kenny has never been away. They’ve watched him become one of the finest voices and performers the UK has produced. He’s a rare artist, who can seamlessly move from soul to broader musical arenas. In 2004 he lent his vocal talent to Stonebridge’s smash album “Can’t Get Enough” where he featured on the track “Gotta Give It Up” and then again in 2007 on a further Stonebridge album called “Music Takes Me” on the track “You Don’t Know”.

In 2006, to the delight of his soul fans, he stepped back into the studio and recorded the album “Crazy World” on Curb Records. The album spawned UK underground soul classics such as “Crazy World”, “Him” and “Let It Rain”. Most recently he hooked up with Roy Ayres providing vocals on ”Waiting” which is featured on Richard Earnshaw’s debut album, “In Time”.

Off stage Kenny’s been busy too and with his ever-enquiring mind started looking at the advantages of complementary medicine. Not one to let the grass grow under his feet, he graduated from a private academy a year ago with a Bachelor Of Science Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is now a qualified Practitioner.

“Breathe,” Kenny’s new studio album sees him tipping a nod to his soul routes but also sees him pushing the boundaries, taking a step into the unknown – a place, unsurprisingly Mr. Thomas is very comfortable in.