( ENSPIRE Music ) Former RIFF Member, Kenny J. Wilkins, Releases His Newest Song, Love Is All We Need
ENSPPIRE Contributor: Wesley Tran
Kenny J. Wilkins, singer, songwriter, producer, and former member of the group RIFF, has just released his latest single Love is All We Need. A song about spreading love and bringing attention to what ills society, Kenny aims to leave a mark on the world through music. Born in the small Northern New Jersey town of Englewood, he and his family were consistent church attendees. His father was a church musician. With music constantly being a part of his life, his father’s influence, other musicians, and God’s gift helped develop his passion for music.
When Kenny was 5, he cultivated his passion for music. In church, you’d see him strumming an acoustic guitar when the music was playing and sleeping when the preaching began. Famous musicians like Silvia Robinson and Dizzy Gillespie, came from Englewood as well, inspiring Kenny even further. After he learned multiple instruments in the early ’90s, he began to produce and be a part of many projects from Hip-hop, R&B, Latin, and Gospel music. He is not only a former member of RIFF but also a solo artist, working on projects to express himself using all the skills he has learned. Love is All We Need results from not only his upbringing but also to give back to a world that needs more love and positivity.
ENSPIRE was given the amazing opportunity to interview Kenny. Read about it below!
Kenny, growing up in Englewood surrounded by talented musicians like Silvia Robinson and Dizzy Gillespie, how did their influence shape your passion for music?
For me, the passion for music was something I’ve always had a passion for. As a kid music was always a passion for me. Although Silvia Robinson and Dizzy Gillespie weren’t born in Englewood their influence in music rang loud and contributed to shaping many musicians. Silvia Robinson’s influence on Hip-Hop was major and because of her influence she’s recognized as “The mother of Hip-Hop”. Dizzy Gillespie’s influence in jazz and his hand in the development of bebop and modern jazz all create a recipe for influencing great musicians. Their presence in Englewood by itself was certainly an influence and helped contribute to many great artists we know today.
Can you share some memorable experiences or valuable lessons you learned while studying music technology at The Institute Of Audio Research in Manhattan?
One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had at IAR is being exposed to the transition from the analog format of recording to the digital format. I’m sure that dates me but that time was definitely memorable. The valuable lesson during that time for me was to always be prepared and/or knowledgeable about changes that may come. During that time the change in a very familiar format in recording was happening and you either moved with it or were left behind. It was changing whether you liked it or not!
As a musician proficient in multiple instruments, how do you believe your diverse skill set contributes to your ability to freely express yourself across different music genres?
Having a knowledge of multiple instruments and the ability to express myself musically across different genres is like a painter having a litany amount of colors while painting. The picture that the painter will create will be palatable across the eyes of whoever looks at it. As music for me has no boundaries. Its listener will not put it in a particular category; as they will simply listen and enjoy.
What inspired you to release your single “Love Is All We Need” and how do you think music can play a role in spreading love and positivity in today’s world?
“Love Is All We Need” was inspired by the need to spread love and speak to what’s needed in our world as we speak. True love is lacking and it’s important that the essence of it returns. Music is a very powerful art form and to me, if it’s used properly can contribute to change. As we are gifted as artists to be agents of change; our muse is the source of inspiration hopefully inspiring our world to love.
Could you tell us about your approach when writing for a project, whether it’s music or lyrics, to ensure the message remains clear and reflects a positive perspective?
For me my approach to writing for a project is not always the same; as the inspirations are different. As a foundation, I’ll probably start with the music or the melody and I’ll build from there. To make the message clear and positive I believe a person will have to have that intent. No matter how you write it may not always end on a positive note but I try to keep the perspective clear and always try to give a solution
What can we expect from you in 2023, including your upcoming rendition of John Legend’s “All Of Me” and any surprises you have in store for your fans?
Well, you can expect great music and thoughtful ideas that can inspire and bring about change. My rendition of “All Of Me” is ready and rolling right now. John Legend and his team definitely pinned a great record and it was really fun covering it. As far as surprises I am working on more music “possibly” recording an EP. Also, I have a shirt line I’m working on and a documentary.
As a proud musician, Kenny continues to produce songs that not only give a message to the world but also to himself. He writes and produces songs not only for a living but also to express himself as a human. With an open mind and a wish to bring joy and inspiration to everyone, he continues to create exciting and passionate songs for the public. Love is All We Need is an amazing song filled with passion and talent only to be topped by Kenny’s next song, his rendition of John legend’s All Of Me.
Listen to Love is All We Need below or listen to it on YouTube!
To learn more about Kenny J. Wilkins, visit his Instagram!