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Music

Kenny Lattimore. PHOTO | COURTESY 

He has been one of the most prolific stars of R&B over the last two decades and fans of the genre will certainly relish the opportunity to watch Kenny Lattimore’s performance in Nairobi this weekend.

Such is the quality of his music that some of his classic hits notably “Never Too Busy” and the romantic ballad “For You” are still played frequently on many radio stations to this day, almost two decades since their release.

The singer, songwriter from Washington DC is not just a washed out star who harks back to an era gone by; his music still hits the contemporary R & B charts and he continues touring around the world. His ninth solo album “Vulnerable” released in 2017 continues in his trademark silky smooth R & B grooves delivered in emotive vocal fashion.

The album has produced chart hits including his version of the Phil Collins 1980s ballad “One More Night” and “More Than Life” which was written for his teenage son.

Lattimore’s mission statement is to sing to ‘the hearts of women and to the minds of men encouraging them in love’ His influences range from gospel music that he grew up on, to R & B greats, Chaka Khan and Marvin Gaye to Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder.

The concert repertoire of this classically trained singer typically combines songs from different generations of music; his current hits, classic R & B from 1970s and 80s all the way to songs from the 1940s and 50s.

“I love the idea of being completely diverse and having no boundaries as a singer, “ he said in an interview published by the African American magazine Ebony in October 2017.

The 52-year-old attended Howard University’s Fine Arts programme but dropped out as a freshman after getting a deal to join the group Maniquin as a lead vocalist. The group recorded just one album in 1989 before Lattimore relocated to New York City to pursue his solo career.

His self-titled debut album was released in 1996 yielding the hits “Never Too Busy” and “For You” which was nominated for a Grammy Award the next year.

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Lattimore arrival on the scene coincided with a period of rich renewal for R & B with the emergence of such talents like Maxwell and D’Angelo during the same era. Their appeal was down to a musical style that borrowed the finest elements of classic soul served on a contemporary edge.

Lattimore’s second album “From The Soul of A Man” was released in 1998 with the hit songs “Days Like This”. His fans in Nairobi will be looking forward to a unique experience when this crooner takes to the stage at the Carnivore Grounds tomorrow evening.

“It is going to be romantic!” he says in a video post on Twitter promoting the concert. “Bring your Mums, your sisters, boyfriends and friends.”

His third album “Weekend” was released in 2001 and the following year he married the female R & B star Chante Moore in a ceremony in Jamaica. The couple formed a musical duo with their first joint album “Things That Lovers Do” released in 2003. The album featured classic soul songs of the 1970s and 80s including a funky version of “You Don’t Have To Cry” originally by Rene and Angela.

That success of that project was followed by another joint album, “Uncovered/Covered” in 2006. After a nine-year marriage and two albums together, Lattimore and Moore announced their divorce in 2011

His own career continued with the release of another album of cover songs “Timeless” in 2008 led by the first single “You Are My Starship” originally by Norman Connors.

Lattimore took a break from the music business to focus on raising his son and refocusing his passion for the singing, songwriting and performing. He returned to recording with the 2015 album “Anatomy Of A Love Song”, and the following year a holiday album “A Kenny Lattimore Christmas”.

His latest album “Vulnerable” contains 10 beautifully written songs that continue in the Lattimore reputation of powerful melodic and lyrical quality. According to him, the thing that separates traditional R & B from the contemporary styling is the element of being able to sing it live in concert.

His fans in Nairobi will be looking forward to a unique experience when this crooner takes to the stage at the Carnivore Grounds tomorrow evening.

“It is going to be romantic!” he says in a video post on Twitter promoting the concert. “Bring your Mums, your sisters, boyfriends and friends.”



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