Kenne Blessin - Working with a rock band
I sat down with Kenne and he told me about his time working with a rock band..
The band was called ‘Itchyfeet’, his good friend Steve Morgan provided the link whilst Kenne was in Antigua. Steve has always supported Kenne’s career, constantly looking for ways to drive it forward. Through his introduction, Kenne joined and became their lead singer. He said people would laugh at it’s name; but ‘Itchyfeet’ would always pull the crowd.
When asked if they just played rock, Kenne answered, “I encouraged them to play some different styles of music including Soca and even managed to get one or two of my original tracks on the playlist. Not an easy task as the band really only sang covers. I brought songs to the set that the band didn’t know but learnt to improvise. They would play a certain type of rhythm and I would sing my own song on it or remix. The people of Antigua started coming out and saw a side of Kenne Blessin they had never seen before”.
Kenne stayed with the band for several years, they were popular on the island with regular bookings but as Kenne was already a recording artist, he was keen to drive his own career forward. He spent a lot of time travelling back and forth to the US until eventually they brought in a new singer. “They were and still are so good but not where I wanted to be. I didn’t feel like they respected my originals unless they were already hits. I was one of the top ten acts in the country with fans requesting my songs after the show. I wasn’t there nor committed to just doing covers. It was time for me to move on and concentrate on my own music.”
Kenne’s time in the band had its pros and cons, there was good and there was bad. “On the downside I was singing for 3 hours at a time which made me hoarse, caused nodules on my vocal chord and sometimes I didn’t get the sound and resonance I needed. But, on the upside, it helped and continues to help me entertain the tourists. When I go to Europe I am familiar with songs they know and love which makes it easy for me to put together a set that I know the audience will enjoy. These classics, mixed with my own tracks, always makes for a great show.”
Kenne told me that he doesn’t sing rock per se now but whilst with the band his favourites to perform included, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen, ‘Mony, Mony’ by Billy Idol and the Steel Pulse classic ‘Life Without Music’. “When I hear these songs today it reminds me so much of that time. It was through playing with ‘Itchyfeet’ that the local people of Antigua started to respect the Kenne Blessin sound and I learnt a genre of music I may not have otherwise been exposed to. When I think of pivotal moments in my career, my time with this rock band would be one of them.”