A Frontrunner In The Music Industry
By Tammy Collins Markee
The Incomparable and Super-Talented, Kenny Lattimore; Grammy Award-Nominated Singer/Songwriter, with his Top 10 Hit, “Stay On Your Mind,” from his latest project ‘Vulnerable,’ is simply at the top of his game in the Music Industry. Growing up in Washington, DC., he was influenced quite early gospel musicians, and R&B/Pop Icons like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan, and Donny Hathaway. In his freshman year at Howard University, he became the lead singer for R&B group, ‘Maniquin,’ which was signed to Epic Records, and which released the song, ‘I Wanna Ride,’ produced by the Charlie Wilson of The Gap Band.
Lattimore’s debut solo album was released in 1996. The project produced two top 20 hits, ‘Never Too Busy,’ and the unforgettable romance classic, ‘For You,” which soared at No. 6 on the R&B Charts, and reigned for 10 weeks on the UAC Charts. All of this was the result of him relocating to New York City as a solo act and signed to Columbia in 1995, bringing in a wave of resurgence of R&B Music that counted Maxwell and D’Angelo in its ranks.
Recently, Lattimore returned to his roots in gospel music, and landed in the position of #3 Album on the Billboard Gospel Charts. The Phenomenal 11 Song Holiday project was created with Stellar, Multi Grammy and Dove Winning Producer Aaron Lindsey.
Kenny Lattimore’s incredible vocal abilities; led the singer to partner on projects with a diverse array of artists like Musiq Soulchild, Nancy Wilson, Rachelle Ferrell to name a few. The singer has garnered Soul Train and Stellar Awards Nominations, and the NAACP Image Award for Best New Artist. The esteemed list of artists associated with Kenny also includes Kanye West, who produced remixes of his single ‘Never Too Busy’ and sampled Lattimore’s song, ‘Lately,’ for the track ‘I’m in It’ from West’s No.1 Hit Album ‘Yeezus.’
Mr. Lattimore is hailed by the New York Times as a ‘Modern Soul Man.’ For this Singer Extraordinaire, music strikes at a core where words alone can’t describe how his elite singing has been flooring his fan for years. In his stardom, he is both admired and outstandingly talented. His Top 10 Single ‘Love Me Back,’ from his last album, ‘Anatomy Of A Love Song’, came from a collaboration with his own Independent Label Sincere Soul Records, was launched in 2012 and the EOne company.
Additionally, Lattimore’s impressive body of work includes his critically-acclaimed Sophomore Album, from the Soul of a Man and 2 Top 10 Charting duet titles with Legendary Singer Ex-Wife,”Chanté Moore, ‘Things That Lovers Do’ and ‘Covered/Uncovered.’
The singer’s voice touches us in a way that cannot be measured. His superb sense of musicality is totally inspiring. Kenny Lattimore rose to fame by establishing himself as a magnetic soulful voice of love and strength. Lattimore demonstrates qualities that are classic and seasonal in various genres of music; but with with a predominant gospel-inspirational message to his audience.
Lattimore’s music brings a rush of euphoria, with sound effects that crystallize in the core language of love, and sending warmth that genuinely reflects continuous love. He captures a style that teaches us how to understand our partner, through mind and heart. Audiences are truly moved as he dazzles everyone with the songs of love; with such heart and emotion that they carry a great deal of meaning.
His faith in God shows us how to yield more to God, while his words and actions drive our souls to find the profoundness of genuine love. This is the foundation that builds the core essence that lies beyond mere words to influence the unspoken language that naturally express our heart desires. Lattimore’s Iconic Song, “For You,” awakened the great love within.
From every layer, strand and motion of his talent, he brings before the world and his fans the clear message that love remains the heart of his crusade. Kenny Lattimore’s music is Sounds of Amaranthine, which comes with such charm, and with a large dose of drive. Now, he presents the world with his current release, ‘Vulnerable,’ which is now available. Lattimore’s life legacy showcases all that will be most enduring for generations to come, while his sultry voice continues to sweep across the nation!
TCM: As A Classic Renaissance Man, Please Tell Us More About Yourself.
Kenny Lattimore: “It has been an honor to use my life beyond my capabilities; to really see God use it, to touch other people’s lives. Music was a dream of mine, that was very personal, for so long, but when I see the impact on others. It makes it that much more powerful.
I am from Washington, DC, I grew up in a home; that was actually a broken home. My parents were divorced; when I was two years old. Early in my life, My Mother did get married again. I had a Stepdad, and I had my Natural Dad still in my life. He lived in North Carolina; while we lived in Washington, DC.
It was an interesting kind of family; where my Mother never talked bad about my Dad. We didn’t have alot of drama and craziness. Also, I had this extended Family of People who loved and cared about me.
Didn’t always understand that, As an Adult, I look back, and I say, “Wow.” Thank God for my Stepdad who sowed into my career and my life. Also, he paid for my voice lessons, and did all kind of things; but in terms of love, I was a child who my Natural Father loved a certain way. I had learned people loved differently. My Stepfather was an introvert. There were times as a child I did not know that he loved me; because it wasn’t hugs & kisses kind of love that my Natural Father gave, but My Stepdad loved me the way he knew.
My Mother was in between all that, and she created a balance. We had neighbors, and I still came up in the time period; where the village raised a child. When the neighbors, friends, and everybody pitch in to make sure that I was headed in the right direction. Therefore, I grew up there, I did not grow up in the church necessarily, but I did attend church. In my teen years I was impacted on a serious course with God. I, therefore, came face to face with making a decision on my own about Faith, and what that was going to mean to me-it was life changing.
It created a standard by which I recorded my music and lived my life; but not in perfection. I tell my Son that we strive for excellence but we are not perfect. I try to go forth in excellence to raise a standard, and to do the things; I believe that I should do to help encourage people’s lives. As a result, I look back, and I say, “Wow.” A lot of the things that what I desire, and wanted to do really came to pass. It was about having vision. My Mother was a visionary and a psychologist. She would have me close my eyes, and tell her, “what I thought that I would be doing in five years or in ten years?”
That particular technique was in line with biblical scripture in that ‘with out vision the people perish.’ ‘Without vision the people do not have hope.’ She made me sit down, and visualize, what I want to do in life, and whatever was in my heart. This made me visual it before I can see it manifested. It became a reality to me; before it was a reality. If people ever question, do you really think you can do this? “Oh yeah, I have seen myself there.” I grew up as that kind of person, being very positive and embracing vision. Early on, My Mother managed my career and was the catalyst for my belief that I could achieve my dreams.
Later on, in my life I realize that My Legacy has always been to sing to the Hearts of Women, and to the Minds of Men to encourage them in Love. That is something God gave me, for me, once I had a tremendous amount of success. I think sometimes we have Success, and we arrive at a platform, where we feel like what’s next to do? I had to really examine purpose; because purpose goes greater than just the achievement.
It made me stop for a minute, and look at my everything I had done. The ground was laid, for much of what I was suppose to do. All I had to do is walk in obedience to achieve it but, what I loved about my journey was the fact that, Nobody Could Go Back, and just say, “Oh this is all you know, or this is just what you were raised in.” I really had enough life experiences, with My Mom by seeking truth, and with her psychology background. We tried different type of things, and I was exposed to travel. All elements for me to participate in my own decision making.
I did not know how it was going to happen. It is amazing when God gives you a vision, but He does not always tell you the entire process. We could not handle it; if we knew It. It is interesting, that this particular song (The Wedding Song) has become the staple. What I appreciate about it is for the delivery content of that song. It Speaks of Love of the Greatest Depth, it is so amazing. The song was actually my friend, Kenny Lerum’s Wedding Song. When speaking about the true authenticity, we did not sit down, and say, “Hey,” Let’s do a Market Plan, and come up with a wedding theme, or let’s figure out how we can break into the wedding market and be known for that. We just put out a song, that was real and the rest is history.”
TCM: What Inspired You To Embark Upon This Amazing Journey As A Musical Artist?
Kenny Lattimore: “Growing up I think probably got into music initially for things far less spiritual and deep. I was singing around the house; because I thought everyone can sing. I come from a musical family. I thought everybody does this. One day, one of my friends called me as we use to sing in the basement of my apartment complex in the laundry room because the acoustics were good.
Out of nowhere, she said, “Hey would you sing for the girls in the neighborhood?” I was like ok, let’s sing some of our favorites. When I began, the girls started screaming and I was like, “Wow,” what is this? There is some power to this. For all the fleshly reasons, that was the first spark and I loved the attention it gave me.
The reality for me, I was definitely shy. So shy that I would not have automatically gone out and stood on anyone’s stage. My Mother discovered that I could sing when I was 12. I think that I was 10 years old, when I sang for the girls in the neighborhood. A couple years later, she was like, I think you sound a little different from everyone else, and she ask me, “Did I want to take voice lessons?” I did not know what voice lessons were but I said, “Let’s go, Let’s do it?”
I was singing the American Song Book to learn technique and breathing. My first song that I learned was ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco.’ Then I eventually got into Choral singing, Classical Music, and I kept going with it in high school also into college. Therefore, I gained the confidence, and started breaking out of my real shyness-singing R&B or at Talent Shows. The gift kind of just cultivated from there, and I really felt like this is what I wanted to invest in, and I enjoyed investing in it.
Even not knowing, what would actually be the outcome of it. I did something for me, I think Music saved my life. Without going too deep into details, there was a ‘Molestation Issue,’ in my life when I was five years old, and it altered who I was. It altered my brightness and light to a degree. Music brought that light back to me; because I was like I had dim it. I wanted to disappear to a degree. Then Music brought me back to, who I really was, and who God created me to be.
It is a tough one, because some of the things about it, and every detail I don’t really talk about because it is painful. I do remember, its impact on me. The impact of me having that experience, and what Music did in terms of bringing me out; I think it was all God’s way of saving my life. Living in Truth, sometimes we want to bury the truth. ‘The truth sets us free,’ and the doesn’t mean you tell everybody every detail of your story. Particularly in the. Social media climate that we are in today.
There is a certain amount of wisdom that we have to use; because everybody doesn’t love us. I think God is beginning to allow me to tell that story now in a different way. The first time, I really talked about any of that was in ‘Essence Magazine,’ many years ago in 2005 or 2006. It wasn’t something that I really continued to talk about in terms of healing. I am healed. In this me too generation, alot of people are now coming forth about secrets, and things that they have held for many years. Also, many are sharing how painful those secrets have been.
When I listen, I have been empowered by others; that have told their story. I hope this interview gives people hope and strength to walk into authenticity and to tell their story.”
TCM: Please tell us about your new and exciting release, the Album ‘Vulnerable?’
Kenny Lattimore: ‘Vulnerable’ is a project that I have to say that initially when I was recording it. It wasn’t what I wanted to record. I have to admit, I was in a different space, and I wanted to record a Jazz Album, that is going to come very soon. And that is me being, ‘Vulnerable,’ right there, I am just telling you the truth. I went into record it, and I realize that I can use it as a mentoring effort; because it gave me the opportunity to nurture a young Producer, his name is Dra-Karr Wesley. Dra-kkar is just an amazing creative. I told him to “produce like it is your album brother, and because you understand my Legacy, and understand the new R&B Sound that the younger generation are listening too.”
I think that we have accomplish that. Aaron Lindsey, who is mainly known for in the gospel genre for Number 1 Hits like, ‘Never Would Have Made It.’ with Marvin Sapp, to all Israel Houghton’s Hit Songs produced his first R&B Top 10, ‘Stay On Your Mind,’ which I was really excited for him as well. I learn to surround myself with great people; because our lives are not just about us. Most of the time our career opportunities are not just about us. Sometimes if we are open, we can use that to enhance the lives of someone else I watch my brothers around me grow. I watch our relationship grow together. It was a totally a blessing.
Now I was also ‘Vulnerable,’ in doing it the project, because I was partnering in a new business relationship and working with a brand new distributor that had not released any product before. I have recorded with mostly major labels all my life, so there were some ‘Vulnerability,’ in terms of business there. In addition, the lyrics are really about, ‘Vulnerability,’ about a man who is opening himself up to be in a relationship again. Which is real similar to my life, I am in that space.”
TCM: Your music exhibits such an Exhilarating Language of Love that many can relate to. Do you believe that your songs demonstrate that love is a hidden treasure, and that it is immeasurable?
Kenny Lattimore: “I really do, it never goes out of style. The message is never dull. This is for generation after generation. I laugh alot of times, because any of my Love Songs, ‘For You,’ Love Me Back,’ and ‘Never Too Busy.’ New generations discover them; because the relevance is always there. It has been such a blessing to me again, the only thing I can tell you being honest, that I did not know how deep things would go. How the fans begin to have an expectation for my messages of love.
In terms of my music, I did not know how deep God’s purposes would be. For me, to stand on this platform, but when I had embarked on my career and made the decision that I was going to go for it. I just remember my pastor at the time, saying to me, ” Go and Lift up a Standard, and Listen to Gospel as well. Balance the Music because the spirit is everything.” What I had to do was just remain, ‘Woke,’ as they say these days. Remain ‘Awake’ and not fall off the real depth of purpose. It is okay, I may have to create an experience that is a little bit outside of that; but it will still have a purpose.
If I do something outside of that, or do broadway, or even do someone’s story that is a little different; but when I do a Kenny Lattimore album. It carries the initial ministry foundation, until God says, something else. If you plant love, water love, and care for it. Give it everything that it needs to be nurtured. The Harvest is so great. Alot of time what we do is give up on it because we don’t see quick results; then we end up burying love instead of planting. We put it in the ground, and we don’t believe it is going to sprout up sometimes. Hoping, it does but we don’t do what it takes to nurture it. So most likely we don’t see the results of it.
Even in adversity, I’ve gone through alot of things. Seeing my parents divorce, and myself going through divorce; which I never wanted. Also, Having children and getting to teen years, sometimes the words that they exchange cut very deep. It’s a part of their growth. We just have to keep watering; even when it doesn’t feel like love is coming back to you. It doesn’t seem like it is going to spring back up, that’s when I hold onto the faithfulness of God’s word; because He is Love.
When I think about my child. I train him up, in the way he suppose to go. I believe that in the end it is going to come back. What I have planted will not come back void. When I sow into folks His word would not return void. All those kind of things, keep me going because you don’t see it, all the times. There has been some years that I have experience some tremendous pain, but I had to continue to believe that ‘love would conqueror all.’ I have seen it, ‘I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread.’
It is so very true, about God’s word because I lived it; not because my grandmother, mom, and dad told me. They did, but I have been able to live it for myself. Now, I can give it to my son. I believe that you reap what you sow. I try to position myself in humility, and to allow God to shine in whatever I do. I try to get out the way. I feel like I am just like everybody else, it proves that if we allow our lives to used. It can shine brighter, and greater than we ever imagine.”
TCM: What do you believe has helped you to nurture and develop your talent, and to become a musical great?
Kenny Lattimore: “Definitely, My Faith because I am a result person. I really desire to see the results of my Faith. Also, Good Work Ethics that were placed in me from my parents. I think those are the things that kept me going. Those things were beyond anything that was tangible that I could really see. But again, I just had to really believe, I had to aspire for that dream beyond what I was experiencing at various times.”
TCM: What Would You Like your Global Crowning Lasting Legacy To Be?
Kenny Lattimore: “I named my record label, my recording entity, ‘Sincere Soul.’
I think that is a reflection of trueness for me that; I want people to know that I moved in the most sincere heart in whatever I did. That I put everything that I had into what I believe my vision was; so that God would be glorified.
It is something about, ‘Sincere Soul,’ that I think is how I want to be remembered as an ‘Sincere Soul.’ Not necessarily, what I did in terms of just the Musical Legacy of Accomplishments, but about my approach to life being, ‘Sincere,’ and ‘Authentic.’ I want to be remembered that way, that He was a Good Man!”
Rt. Hon. Tammy Collins Markee, Columnist for K.I.S.H. Magazine (Dynasty of Dreamers).