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AUGUST COVER STORY: KENNY LATTIMORE : Wiles Magazine

AUGUST COVER STORY: KENNY LATTIMORE

COVER STORY:  KENNY LATTIMORE

By Teryl Warren

 True story: Earlier this year, I was having a really bad day. I turned on the radio in my car as I headed to the office and Kenny Lattimore’s new single “Love Me Back” began to play. Instantly, I became fully immersed in the song and it magically gave me just the emotional lift I needed to make it through the rest of the day.

I related that story to Kenny when I sat down to interview him recently, and he told me that my reaction to his song wasn’t magic at all. In fact, it was exactly what he’d intended.

 

R & B singer Kenny Lattimore

“I used to say that I wanted to make music my grandmother can listen to and be proud of,” Kenny laughed. “But I am a man of faith. I come from a Christian background, and I’ve always felt that one of my purposes was to lift and inspire – to uphold a standard of excellence and respect.  My music isn’t a platform for me to live out the drama or sadness in my life. I want to give my audience what I would want for myself.”

After a lengthy absence from the business, Kenny has returned and given his audience everything it’s wanted and more. Released on April 14 of this year, Lattimore’s latest album Anatomy of a Love Song features guest appearances from artists like Lalah Hathaway, Kelly Price, Shanice and gospel rapper Da Truth.  And he’s quick to credit producers the Sauce Boys for tailoring “Love Me Back” to suit him perfectly.

“’Love Me Back’ is my feel good song,” he shared. “Even though it’s a light, up-tempo song, we spent some extra time working on the production. We wanted to make sure the lyrics had a little more depth, and we worked to develop every sound of the song. It blossomed and the Sauce Boys really delivered.”

Anatomy of a Love Song debuted at No. 14 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 3 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums. And “Love Me Back” has remained in heavy rotation in major markets throughout the US ever since.  That’s no small feat when you consider the current climate, where mature artists – even superstars – are struggling to get airplay in an industry that insists R&B is dead.

“20 years ago, there was love for R&B all over the world, and so many great artists like Eric Benét, Joe, me and others were coming out. No one asked us to sound like each other. We could all be authentic.”

But the new Millennium ushered in a new era. Technological advances forever changed the way music is made, distributed and consumed, and many artists and executives, alike, grappled with how to survive and thrive in the New Media Age.

“It’s amazing because there was a time when I actually fell out of love with the music industry,” Kenny shared.  “I found myself being challenged to be and sound like artists on the radio. I just felt like I didn’t fit into the current scene.”

Faced with difficulties and uncertainty in both his personal and professional life, Kenny made the decision to take a step back. He took time off to think, to heal, to raise his son, and, most importantly, to pray.

“This will sound a little over-the-top, but it’s the truth. I prayed and said, ‘God, there‘s got to be more to this than the cars, the money, the house. What’s the purpose of me doing this?’ What He gave me back was the answer that my legacy is singing to the hearts of women and the minds of men to encourage them to love. Being able to embrace my career as a greater purpose reminds me that [the music, the fame] it’s not about me. It’s much bigger than me. And that makes my burden light.”

R & B singer Kenny Lattimore

Many may have mastered the art of acrobatic vocal riffs and onstage seduction, but few can claim to be a better bearer of such a legacy than Kenny Lattimore. After all, he sings the songs that make us fall in love or, at the very least, believe that it’s actually possible.  We believe it because he believes it. He’s lived it, he’s learned from it and the evidence is in every lyric and every note.

“Love is open arms – like a big hug. It’s about giving and receiving. It starts with you, as an individual, being a whole person – emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically. If you’re whole, you’re gonna attract whole people. But if you go into a relationship from a needy place, with expectations, then you’ve made it a performance-based relationship, and it will fall apart as soon as one, or both of you, makes a mistake.”

And while Kenny would never profess to have all the answers, he did offer some valuable insight and advice that any woman from Venus trying to love a man from Mars can benefit from.

“Men receive and feel love through respect. It’s difficult for men to be vulnerable because we’re scared our woman won’t respect us, or if we share too much, she’ll use our secrets or insecurities against us,” Kenny said.  “Women can help men be more open by not simply telling your man, but by living out the words ‘I believe in you, you can talk to me, you can trust me, and everything we talk about is confidential.’ Letting him know that he can trust you to that degree communicates to a man that you truly respect him.”

If you’re looking for a hot summer date to share with the one you love, you can check Kenny out on tour now with jazz greats Dave Koz and Rick Braun.

For a complete list of tour dates and more information, please visit: http://www.kennylattimore.com/. You can also stay connected to Kenny on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:  @kennylattimore.

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