Way back in October, I was hanging out at singer Kenny Lattimore’s house. He was so warm and inviting as we laughed and joked; he caught me up on what he’s been doing and spoke about love, life and music.
I listened intently to every word. He sang several songs and ended the evening asking if there was anything in particular I wanted to hear (I asked for Can’t Get Enough off the love jones soundtrack, but he performed Well Done instead).
It’s important to mention there were around 200 other people there, and his house was really at Yoshi’s in Oakland, but the way he interacted with the audience during his entire set, it really did feel like I was a guest in his actual home.
And I think that’s just what he intended.
He has a way of connecting with the audience. Sure, I came to hear Kenny sing, but the show felt personal and intimate because of the stories he inter-mingled between each song and the vibe he gave off as being a genuine singer in an industry that appears to be far from such.
Kenny released his debut album, Kenny Lattimore, in 1996. In the last 17 years, music has undergone such drastic changes which left Kenny wondering where he fit in today’s musical landscape.
Growing up in Washington D.C., and reared in Maryland, Kenny reminisced on the Quiet Storm era, which gave him the desire to sing. “There was a caressing of the lyrics and everything meant something,” he said.
He “birthed” SincereSoul records this year “out of necessity.” Wondering if releasing a new Kenny Lattimore would be relevant in 2012, Kenny had a “what is the purpose of all this?” moment.
The answer he received? “The purpose of this music is to minister to the hearts of women and to the minds of men.”
And minister he did. Dancing out to Come To Me, he then flashbacked to his beginning with Never Too Busy (his first single as a solo artist). He moved onto Days Like This and Climb The Mountains (the band’s “warm up song”).
Throughout his career, Kenny has released original material, and is known for covering other artists. During this set, he sang The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps (which appears on Soul of a Man), and Donny Hathaway’s Singing This Song.
An artist who is capable of carrying a song with or without the music, he sounded crisp, soulful and definitely caressed the lyrics, especially when singing Beautiful Girl (from the Best Man’s soundtrack).
Before ending the set with my jam Weekend, he entertained requests from the audience. His last story was about his experience in South Africa. “The whole country embraced me – almost like a political figure.” It was, he said, life changing.
One last note: Kenny Lattimore will always hold a special place in my heart because he was the inspiration for this blog (see my first blog entry here). When I met him in Los Angeles a few years ago, I expressed my gratitude and appreciation to him for his music being the catalyst for Soul Musings Corner. He was gracious and receptive to my thankfulness.
Video clip: Never Too Busy