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shannon kennedy
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SK:  I’ve had some of my friends ask me about getting into the studio and recording and what it’s like, and pretty much with the record label since I can’t really afford to be a real record label and fund projects, I pretty much….the Web site for the record label’s just to kind of push my friends’ CD’s, so I put them up, add them to the catalog, I do the artwork and design for all the CD’s on the record label. It’s pretty much just….the record label just shows my involvement with the different projects, which is just try and help other people out.

Smitty:  That’s very cool of you to do that. Talk to me a little bit about your sponsors. Rico Reeds, right?

SK:  Yes!

Smitty:  So tell me how that came about.

SK:  I have two endorsements. I have one with Hollywood Winds Saxophones. I got that one a little over a year ago when the company was Unison Saxophones. I met Rheuben Allen and Shun Hwa Chang, who owned Unison, and they found out that I played Unison Saxophones and they approached me about sponsorship and I said “Of course, I’d love to,” and I recorded my CD and they heard it and they were amazed, when they switched companies to Hollywood Winds, or changed their name, they kept me as an artist, and when they were Unison, I played soprano and tenor for them, but as Hollywood Winds I’m actually their bari sax artist, so Rheuben is very impressed with my bari playing.

And the other one is with Rico, or D’Addario. I actually just got the contract for that, but I’ve been an unofficial kind of pseudo artist with them since this last summer; I’m one of three junior artists for Rico. There’s Alex Han, Isaiah Morfin and myself. And with Rico, that came about because I played in a band with someone who works with Rico’s son, and I use Rico reeds and I made a few calls and I asked about the possibility of being signed as an artist, and they said they would be interested in having me as an artist, and that’s pretty much how that happened.

Smitty:  Nice! You’ve gotta be excited about having that kind of support.

SK:  Yes, I am. It’s really great because it just shows that pretty much anything is possible as long as you just try. It’s just getting out there and doing it.

Smitty:  Yes. So talk to me about where Shannon Kennedy goes from here.

SK:  Well, for a while I wanted to own my own record label. For now I know that I just want to perform, get out there and play. I intend to be a contemporary saxophone player, Smooth Jazz. I have the ability to be a straight ahead saxophone player, it’s just I enjoy playing contemporary music more. And I feel I should play festivals, play at clubs, and I hope to play with some of my influences, like I’d love to play with Mindi Abair, Kirk Whalum or Kurt Elling, people like that.

Smitty:  Oh yeah, I’m sure that will come in time. How can people get your CD?

SK:  Right now it’s on CD Baby at http://cdbaby/cd/shannonkennedy.shannonkennedy/.  

Smitty:  Very cool. Do you prefer the live performance or the studio?

shannon kennedySK:  Well, they’re both very different, but I would have to say that I like performing live more because there’s just so much energy that you get from a live audience that you don’t get in the studio. But when you’re in the studio recording and then there’s an actual product that you can hold in your hand afterwards and you can say “I did this,” it kind of is more of a physical accomplishment where you can give this to people and say “Look, this is me” or driving in your car and hear yourself or be at the dentist’s office and all of a sudden you hear yourself on the radio…that’s amazing. And then just going out and playing in front of people and having people just enjoy your music so much and what you’re doing and just admire you for that, and then having people come up and tell you how much they love hearing you play, so they’re both very unique and very enjoyable.

Smitty:  Yes. Well, Shannon, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this great story with us and talking about your music and your career and what you have coming down the road. I think we can look for some very wonderful music from you in the future and I certainly wish you well with this project and your projects of the future. All right, we have been talking with a very young talent, Ms. Shannon Kennedy. Once again, her debut album is called Angel Eyes. Look for her at a venue in Southern California and beyond in the near future. Shannon thanks again for such a wonderful time.

SK:  Thank you very much for having me.


Baldwin “Smitty” Smith