Fresh off the streets of Cleveland Ohio we bring you Kev Blaze. Recently hailed as the King of street R’n’B and with a successful album to his name the young singer is keen to let the world know who he is, and rightly so.
Signed to Imperial Records out of New York City, I decided the time was right to catch up with the underground sensation and discover more about the man himself.
Hey Blaze, thanks for doing this interview with us today. First of all give us a break down of who Blaze is and what sets you apart from the other talented R’n’B artists out there?
Kev Blaze: Thank You for the opportunity to speak. I am a singers / songwriter / producer of urban music. I started in music at a young age in church, and expanded into song writing before actually becoming an artist myself. I grew up around music, my uncle is Beloyd Taylor from Earth Wind and Fire.
I think my sound sets me apart. No one has been able to bring the streets to R’n’B since Curtis Mayfield and Bobby Womack in the 70’s. Most R’n’B songs are about love and relationships, mine focus on the struggles of life. Unlike many artists though, I try to keep things positive and uplifting. I want to make music that makes people feel good. Also, I think my sound bridges the gap between hip hop and R’n’B.
You had huge success with your first album “Smoke n Blaze” for those who have not heard the album give us some insight into its content?
Kev Blaze: “Smoke N Blaze” is actually my upcoming release. It’s filled with tracks about my personal struggle of getting a record deal, falling into the temptations that come with success and ultimately realizing that material things are not what matters – your family and friends are most important. The album, through the songs, shows really the range of emotions many artists go through as they move forward in their careers. The tracks tell the real story of my life as I have moved along in my music career. I called the album “Smoke N Blaze because most of what you see (money, cars, jewels) I see as smoke – when the smoke clears the real Blaze is what’s left (you, your family and your loved ones).
Your uncle was a member of the world famous group Earth, Wind and Fire, was he an inspiration to you as a child?
Kev Blaze: He was and still is. He comes out and supports me when I perform live. He’s really been the one to help me see that attaining success in music is possible. He also is the one who pushed me to be a strong songwriter, since he is best known for writing “Getaway” amongst other tracks while with Earth, Wind and Fire.
Both of your parents were ministers so you must have spent a lot of time in Church, you are dubbed as a True Preachers Kid. Did the time in church help you to define the style of music we have come to know from you?
Kev Blaze: It did, but probably not in the way you would think. In my attempt to rebel against my parents, I ran the streets with friends. Eventually, the shooting death of a close friend pushed me to leave that life behind and focus heavily on music. Many of the experiences from then are played out on my album on tracks like “Rep My Hood” and “Prankstas”.
Your track “Watch how I do this” features the legendary Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs n Harmony. How did this link come to surface?
Kev Blaze: My manager, Blue, put it together. We sent Krayzie the track, and within days he laid his verse. It was really exciting for me because we’re both from Cleveland. Krayzie is a guy I’ve always looked up to. It was great that he liked the track and really brought his “A” game to it.
Your album is that of a lyrical story, each song telling something different about you and your life, which track off the album would you say is the most reflective of you as a person?
Kev Blaze: “Blaze”, for sure. It’s the first track on my album. That’s the guy I really am. Hungry and confident, without being arrogant, determined to be successful.
What are your plans for the coming months? Is there another album in the midst?
Kev Blaze: Smoke N Blaze will be out top of 2008. Until then I am doing promotions, and live performances leading up to its release. I am also in the studio working on tracks for a very talented and up and coming pop singer, Aubrey Cardilino – she is featured on the track “Don’t Mean A Thing” on my album.
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.