Attracting fans across the water from every demographic, Kenan Bell (pronounced ken’an) is no ordinary US rapper; in fact, he cringes at the title.
“In so many places there’s a negative connotation with the word,” the 25-year-old says, agreeing that, yes, one of those places might be the private school in Montrose where he teaches fourth through sixth-graders. “But even with the negative persona rap music has, I think I can make music that embodies better things.”
Born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Kenan Bell grew up as your archetypal teenage hip-hop fanatic, but with a diverse group of friends ranging from Goths, Skaters, Indie Kids and Ravers it was evident early on that he was far from conventional. It was during these early stages of school that Kenan met long-time comrade/producer Jason Burkhart.
For several years, Kenan and Jason produced hip-hop beats and rap demos, eventually discovering that Kenan was ready to step out from behind the mixing console and display his talents as an artist. Jason reached out to hometown friend/musician/producer Jon Siebels (Eve6 and Monsters Are Waiting) and after one studio session, the three decided that it was time to begin working on a record.
Fresh from supporting homegrown chart topping talent Dizzee Rascal overseas, Kenan Bell is causing waves across the board. Gaining recognition on numerous trend setting blogs for his exceptional remixes of The Smiths’ “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” and MGMT’s “Weekend Wars”, Bell manages to blend pop sensibilities, indie-rock edge and hip-hop attitude with ease.
August 2008 saw this remarkable talent hit the road with his 5-10 piece band “The Music Industry” (including the likes of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and drummer Eric Gardner) with stops that included San Francisco, New York, and London (with none other than the almighty Diplo turning up to DJ at the YoYo gig at Notting Hill Arts Club!). But do not fret if you missed him this time around, he’ll be hitting our shores once more in November with some seriously impressive venues lining up as we speak.
“Good Day” – Kenan Bell’s debut release by Cutlass Recordings – is a four track hip hop EP with a sonic foundation consisting of programmed beats and live instrumentation, coupled with Kenan’s original and intelligent lyrics. Among the tracks featured are “Qwerty” featuring Tom Pritchard, and the topical “Celebrity” featuring Annalee Fery. His first full-length record – tentatively titled “Sounds Awesome” – is scheduled to be released early 2009.