ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kenna

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While Kenna Zemedkun – better known simply by his stage name of Kenna – has an international background that spans from Ethiopia to England, but his real musical birthplace is in Virginia Beach. It was there that he first became enamored with the music of U2, Stevie Wonder, the Cure, and Duran Duran, and also where he attended high school with Chad Hugo (who would go on to become one half of the wildly successful hip hop production duo the Neptunes).

Once he began college, Kenna began working on demo tapes with Hugo that soon caught the attention of Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst, who had recently launched his Flawless imprint on Geffen/Interscope. Durst gave Kenna and Hugo the green light to produce an entire album; and while the label would end up releasing Kenna from his contract (the heads at Interscope were unsure about how to market his music), New Sacred Cow eventually was released on Columbia Records in 2003.

Kenna’s brand of new wave mixed with synth pop and hip hop garnered attention with critics and a small audience. His follow-up, 2007’s Make Sure They See My Face, was also co-produced by Hugo and sported a more mainstream, pop sound. The album also earned his song “Say Goodbye To Love” a nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the 2009 Grammy Award, and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 20 Heatseekers Chart.

Throughout his career, Kenna has also collaborated with a slew of artists whose diverse genres reflect his own personal style, including Lupe Fiasco, Kings of Leon, RJD2, The Clipse, and Mark Ronson. He’s currently working on recording songs for his third studio album Songs for Flight, scheduled to drop sometime in 2010.

by SeanDammit

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