Kenny Hughes – Living out his Destiny
Interviewed by Duzzy Clayton
Blues Rock Singer/guitarist has become a household name in South Africa and also in some parts of the world. He has just released his new single called Destiny and we caught up with Kenny to talk about his single amongst other things
Enjoy The Read
Hi Kenny, welcome to Fanbase Music Magazine, how have you been with Covid-19 and lockdown, have you and your family been safe?
Answer: Hey Duzzy, thanks so much for having me. Yes thanks, all well on my side. Family, thankfully, all doing well. But I suppose at this point, everyone knows at least someone who was not so lucky, unfortunately. My thoughts go out to anyone affected.
Did you take part of the popular online streaming during the pandemic and what is your thoughts on live streaming gigs?
Answer: I gave it a shot. I was limited though, for a few reasons. Most importantly, I lacked the equipment to do a decent job of it. Also, I was so accustomed to the reaction and participation of the audience, playing to a camera felt, odd.
Can you tell us your background, where did you grow up and what got you into music?
Answer: my family moved around quite a bit. I was quite used to moving to a new town and attending a new school. You’d think I’d have more Facebook friends.
My parents have fantastic taste in music. I was surrounded by the best music since as young as I can remember. When I was about 7, I played along to a live DVD of Dire Straits on a cheap little toy guitar. Fast and loose with the term “guitar” I assure you. My parents must’ve recognized my interest and I started off on drums at around nine years old, finally moved over to guitar and the rest is history.
What genre would you consider your sound, for anyone who hasn’t heard your music yet?
Answer: it’s a bit of an amalgamation of the blues, rock and funk for sure. Started off as purely blues, but that seems to have changed ever so slightly.
Who are some of your influences and some of the bands and musicians you grew up listening to?
Answer: Dire Straits for sure, CCR, Clapton, eventually Hendrix and finally I became quite a John Mayer fan. Also grew up with Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, a lot of Queen. Like I said, the best.
You are a solo musician; do you also have a band that you record and play live with or do you get session musicians in?
Answer: I only recently dipped my toes back in to the Trio pool. Very glad I did. I’ll be playing a lot more shows with the Trio. Especially looking at festivals in particular. It’s a lot of fun. A band brings a different freedom that I’ve longed for as a solo muso. I’ll probably keep using session musos though. Simplifies things quite a bit for me.
Ok, let’s talk about the new single ‘Destiny, what is the single about?
Answer: It’s actually about a dream I had a while back. I dreamt of a girl that looked familiar, but I couldn’t figure out where I knew her from. Hence the line “I think I knew her name”. It’s a really cool tune to me, as it brings a lot more of the funk feel to my sound. I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Where was it recorded and who worked on it?
Answer: as usual I recorded at Pariah Studios along with Evert Snyman. Between him and I we got this done.
Evert Snyman Produced the track, can you tell us how it was working with someone with his talent and what did he bring to the track?
Answer: I love working with Evert. While I write all the parts and lyrics etc, he always brings a different perspective. He has fantastic ideas and they always add such volume to the tracks we record. I’m sure I’ll work with him for a while to come.
How has this track differed compared to what you have released in the past?
Answer: Each track I release has a different feel to it. I love that as it keeps things interesting and every song has the element of surprise to it. When you listen to “Wicked ways” and “Destiny” there is a serious contrast in sound and feel. That’s exactly what I wanted.
You have quite a lot of success with your past tracks and at least 3 of them going to number 1 on the MIX FM Top 40, which is a great achievement, how does it feel to have people enjoy your music and get that kind of recognition?
Answer: it’s unreal to me. I’m so blessed to share what I feel and have it received so well. I couldn’t imagine a number 1 spot a few years ago. I’m so grateful.
Here’s hoping “Destiny” can keep up with the momentum!
Will you be releasing and album or are you happy to release singles at the moment?
Answer: at the moment, singles seem to be the way to go. It’s more feasible to release a new single every few months and that way remain relevant. Should I receive a sponsorship for a full album, I’ll definitely go ahead with that.
Can you talk us through the writing process when you write a song, does the lyrics or the music come first?
Answer: for me, 90% of the time, the music comes first. I’ll have a riff or chord progression in mind, put my phones voice recorder on and just sing random babble over those chords. After a few minutes of improvised lyrics, I’ll replay the recording and pick out the parts I like. From there, the rest of the song comes together sort of like a puzzle. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes a few days.
Can you tell us what a typical Kenny Hughes gig is like for anyone who hasn’t seen you play live yet?
Answer: well since I’ve been doing the solo thing for a while, you could probably expect a solo show, haha.
I use a looper and a few different effects pedals to “build a band” live. I also use a kick pedal for a bit of a fatter sound. I play mostly originals with a few covers here and there. When I play a cover, I try my best to make it my own. More of a rendition than a cover.
Do you have any funny on the road stories either on or off the stage?
Answer: it’s always quite entertaining to me when I snap a string. More often than not I have to finish the set I’m in the middle of, before I cab replace the string, so that’s quite interesting. Especially on one occasion where in a single set, I snapped 3 strings. Playing half a set (5 or so songs) with 3 strings is, interesting, for lack of a better word. Haha.
Thank you, for doing this interview, do have any last messages for our readers and your fans?
Answer: thanks so much for having me, Duzzy. Yeah, please check out my socials so you can follow my releases and see where I’ll be playing next. Please pull through to a show near you, as the support is hugely appreciated! Watch this space, much more to follow.