Interview with Blues Rocker Kenny Hughes – Welcome to the creative mind of blues-rock virtuoso Kenny Hughes. His latest album, ‘Born & Raised,’ serves as a testament to the rich narratives woven through his music.
From his distinctive approach to storytelling and the delicate balance of personal experiences to insights into the dynamic interplay between live performances and studio recording, Kenny shares the intricacies of his musical journey. As the driving force behind the Kenny Hughes Trio, he discusses the influence of diverse musical elements, visual representation, and the profound impact of his South African roots on his craft.
Unveiling the man behind the music, Kenny opens up about pivotal career moments, the connection he cultivates with his audience, and the legacy he aspires to leave as a blues-rock maestro. Join SA Music & Entertainment Magazine as we embark on a journey through the soulful depths of Kenny Hughes’ musical universe.
Kenny Hughes Chats with SA Music & Entertainment
Q: Each track on ‘Born & Raised’ seems to tell a story. Can you share how you approach storytelling through your music, and how do you balance personal narratives with creating a connection that resonates with a broader audience?
Kenny: My approach to writing, in general, is to share my personal life experiences. I write about what I’ve lived through. I believe this still resonates with a large audience as we share so many daily experiences. Everyone has experienced heartbreak in one form or another, and as a wise man once said, “The blues ain’t nothing but a good man feeling bad.”
Q: Your band, the Kenny Hughes Trio, has experienced various live performances. How does the energy and dynamics of a live performance differ from the meticulous process of studio recording, and which environment do you find more creatively stimulating?
Kenny: I always experience a certain anxiety in the studio, to be honest. I feel much more energized and enthusiastic on stage, in front of an audience. There’s an inexplicable pressure in the studio, which is ironic because, in the studio, you can try over and over to get that “perfect take,” as opposed to the stage, where it’s now or never.
Q: ‘Born & Raised’ showcases a diverse range of musical elements. How do you navigate blending different genres within a single album, and what do you think this diversity adds to the overall listening experience?
Kenny: I believe the Blues blends seamlessly with Funk and Rock alike. Putting these genres together adds a lovely dynamic to an album. Some tunes can be slower, such as “Blues Truth,” and slowly build up to a full Funk jam like “All Over Me.” I always thought I’d stick to the Blues, but Funk has crept into my heart of late. I think these two genres complement each other nicely.
Q: Visual elements often accompany music releases. How do you approach the visual representation of your music, whether it be album artwork or music videos, and what role do these visuals play in enhancing the overall narrative of your work?
Kenny: For this one, I have to give credit to the man behind the scenes, Mr. David “Devo” Oosthuizen. While it’s always been a dream of mine to be able to sketch or paint, it’s really not my strong suit. Devo has taken the reins, and I’m always pleased with the results. The man has an eye for album artwork. The artwork of a single or album should tell a story in itself and add to the feel of the song/album in question, encompassing the overall vibe thereof.
Q: Beyond the technical aspects of music, how has being a Blues Rock musician contributed to your personal growth and worldview? Are there specific lessons or perspectives gained through your musical journey?
Kenny: I’m fortunate enough to be in an industry where I’m forever a student. Music has carried me through the highs and lows of life and taught me a lot about who I am. There’s something truly introspective about the silence between gigs and the drone of an electric guitar on a slow blues tune. Mostly, music has taught me gratitude; I’m just grateful to be here, honestly, trying to leave some sort of mark. “To leave something behind” as Mr. Sean Rowe sings.
Q: Your fans have supported you through the years. How do you cultivate a strong connection with your audience, and do you find that their feedback influences your creative process?
Kenny: By staying true to the sound that attracted them to me in the first place. There’s no greater feeling than being on stage and seeing a face for the very first time, and they request one of your original songs. If I can keep writing songs that people include in their playlists, I’ve already made it.
Q: ‘Last Stand’ is a statement of independence. Looking back on your musical journey, can you pinpoint a moment or realization that marked a turning point in your approach to your career, leading to this sense of self-reliance?
Kenny: Most definitely, it was the moment I left my first band and decided to pursue a solo career. It was at that moment I realized it’s up to me where this thing goes. While it’s been anything but easy, it has been the most rewarding route I could’ve followed.
Q: Having been featured globally, how do you think your South African roots influence your music, and do you consciously infuse elements of your cultural background into your work?
Kenny: Not consciously, no, but it just happens. You can’t escape your roots, even if you wanted to, which I don’t! There may or may not be a sense of those “African rhythms” in my music, I’m not sure. Very interesting question. I’ve really never thought about it.
Q: Your proficiency as a guitarist is evident in your work. Are there specific guitar techniques or experimental elements that you explored in ‘Born & Raised’ that you hadn’t delved into before?
Kenny: As I previously mentioned, I’ve been leaning towards the Funk side of things. In ‘Born and Raised,’ I used a lot of “Funky” rhythmic guitar playing and absolutely love this style of playing.
Q: Considering your achievements so far, what legacy do you hope to leave as a Blues Rock musician, and how do you measure the impact you want your music to have on listeners and the industry as a whole?
Kenny: It’s always been a dream of mine to play shows where the audience showed up because my name is on the poster. It’s never been about the fame or the money; I just really want my music to excite people the way it excites me. To share that connection with thousands of strangers would be the epitome of success for me.
Born & Raised – More than just another Album
As we draw the curtain on this captivating exploration into the world of Kenny Hughes, the resonance of his soul-stirring melodies and profound reflections lingers. ‘Born & Raised’ is more than an album; it’s a testament to a musician who pours his heart into every note. From the intimate storytelling to the dynamic fusion of genres, Kenny’s musical journey unfolds like a sonic tapestry. Now, as you’ve glimpsed into the artist’s soul, we invite you to embark on a continued voyage.
Follow Kenny Hughes online, immerse yourself in the soulful rhythms, and stream his latest album to experience first-hand the depth of emotion and artistry that defines his sound. Let the music be your guide, and join us in celebrating the enduring legacy of a blues-rock maestro.
Stream ‘Born & Raised‘ HERE
Follow Kenny Hughes Online
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