Image: Randy Olson
Rnb soloist Keny Grey may have jumped on the music scene in the last few months, but his debut single has already received the support of 30 000 plays on Spotify and 25 000 streams on Soundcloud. His latest music video ‘Wow’ stands out with its unique incorporation of ASL(American Sign Language) throughout the video. The singer has a heart of gold, making his music more accessible to the deaf community and several family members who are partially deaf. The storyline features actress Alexa Paulay-Simmons from the noteworthy Netflix series Deaf U.
We chatted with rising talent Keny Grey below.
Please describe your sound for us.
Keny Grey is a Pop-R&B Singer-Songwriter with a vocal style caught somewhere in the area between artists such as Bazzi, Khalid, or The Weeknd.
How did it all start for you?
Hmmm. Where did it all start? We could say it was when my dad let me record myself freestyle rapping in the studio with him as a kid, or when I used to obsessively watch NSYNC’s No Strings Attached Tour VHS back to back. Attempting to learn every dance move as a 5-year-old, or when I started playing clarinet in the 4th grade LOL. But I think the true start was when I got my first guitar in high school. I used to skateboard and play video games for 12 hours a day, and when each of those hours slowly turned into practising guitar scales and songwriting. I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Which three artists would you say made you want to create your own music?
John Mayer, Michael Jackson, & Prince. I know how to play almost every John Mayer song on acoustic guitar. I learned the entire choreography to ‘Billie Jean’ for Michael Jackson’s 1997 performance Live in Munich when I was in middle school. Prince was the first concert I ever attended in 4th grade, I still remember the purple streamers falling from the stadium rooftop as he played ‘Purple Rain’ live right in front of me.
What is your go-to gear/equipment when creating?
Pro-Tools, TLM-103 microphone, and my Twitter account (@kenygreymusic). I tweet all my deepest thoughts, and when I’m songwriting I’ll go back and scroll through them for inspiration.
What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.
My favorite band is Nizlopi. In my opinion, their music exists in the truest form of raw emotion, lyrically & vocally. It’s poetry. If you could hear my soul, Nizlopi is what it would sound like. So whenever I’m songwriting, I try to channel the essence of their music through my own lyrics and vocal delivery. Their genre of music is much different than mine, but music is deeper than the genre.
What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
Reggaeton. Americans sleep on reggaeton. I think they are afraid of dancing or something.
Fun Fact: I don’t even speak Spanish, but Spanish music is all I listen to.
Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?
KENY GREY! Haha, I’m kidding. I’m going to take this as an opportunity to shout out some kids from my city… Nur-D, Amanda Yang, J J L, & Comp Keyz.. I’m super passionate about the local scene! I run a local platform called MusicSota featuring local talent out of Minnesota.
Also can’t forget my brothers Lil Ranger & Sincerely, Tony… I’ve mixed and recorded for both of them!
What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a performer? As an attendee?
My first headline show after dropping my World Wants EP… Just having all my friends, family, and fans show up to support me… was incredible. I can’t wait until I can do that again. Who knows maybe this year? Haven’t performed since before COVID!
As an attendee… PRINCE.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I’m not sure what I can talk about. I’m one of those people who hate when people talk about what they want to do. I’d rather talk about it after it’s done. I just released a music video for my song, ‘Wow’, featuring an actress from the Netflix Show, Deaf U…Let’s just say I plan to keep escalating :). I’m having fun!
Famous last words?
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