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5 Feb 2008

Kenna's Glimpse of the Future

On my way to Houston last night, I was reading an article in the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal about a new book by Jane Buckingham, titled What's Next. It is a collection of essays from "pop culture achievers" about the trends they forecast for the future. The story made me think about some of the hot new trends we can expect for popular music in the not so distant future.

I think Kenna is one of the artists who has been showing us a glimpse of what's to come. Breaking down barriers and buzzing with exciting new musical ideas, Kenna serves up a futuristic blend of styles that might be too arty for some but still has a distinctive commercial edge.

Unfortunately, Kenna's music might still have come a couple of years too early.

His most recent album "Make Sure They See My Face" still needs to find its big audience. The singer's challenge is that his music does not fit one particular category that radio and TV can easily program in their cookie-cutter formats. The good news is, however, that music is only part of Kenna's vision of the future. He has a few other creative projects on tap, and one that will include Arjanwrites.com (more about that soon).

Listen to Kenna's gloomy "Wide Awake" to get an idea of his left-field musical tendencies. The song has a powerful, epic quality that starts out small but slowly leads up to a grand finale towards the end of the song. Kenna and his producer and childhood pal Chad Hugo (of The Neptunes) create a lyrical and melodic urgency that I also felt in the music Seal made together with Trevor Horn back in the early '90s. (Click here download "Wide Awake" in MP3 format at Amazon.com.)

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