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Local Artist Spotlight: Kenny Eng


This guy’s cool.  Kenny Eng is super down to earth, funny, and I’d venture to say even quite witty.

Using music primarily as a way to improve self discovery and emotional growth, Kenny’s found a lifelong passion through song writing and the camaraderie of fellow musicians.

He’s not afraid to show what he’s got, musically or personally.  On his website you can find some really interesting blog entries, my favorite being the one where he decided to experiment with Radiohead’s philosophy of “pay what you want” per CD.

Growing up listening to Motown and Michael J, thanks to his mama, Kenny classifies himself as unclassifiable, noting that he switches from an acoustic rock vibe to an R&B sound, and back down to his roots of the Motown vibe, at any given time.


How do you go about charting your emotional growth through your music?

"By seeing where I am in my life. The first few songs I wrote were kinda melancholy and it was kind of an immature time for me. I thought I knew everything and didn't need anyone's help. But as I got a little older, I started to realize that my attitude towards a lot of things had shifted to a better, more productive place! I guess what it means is that I use my songs to mark a specific period in my life, emotionally. It is like my time capsule or memory book."

What else 'gets you' about the music scene?

"I suppose the next most important commodity I get from playing music is the love of collaboration and community that musicians feel with each other. Every time we perform with people I know or respect, it's like my own mini Comic-Con. I get that geeked-out by music."

How long have you been playing acoustic guitar and what made you start?

"I've been playing guitar since I was a senior in high school. So that's about 2 years. Kidding. Closer to 8 years now. I started playing piano at a really young age and liked it but for some reason, the guitar was always more attractive (read: cooler). Music has always felt like a big puzzle to me though more recently, I've been trying to look at music in a less intellectual way and more as a way to connect with my emotions and the emotions of the people around me."

So did you always want to sing as well, and do you feel it comes naturally to you?

"When I was in college, I started writing music and really devoted myself to the idea of creating songs and had to really start paying attention to my singing. Had to break a lot of bad habits as well as overcome a fair amount of stage fright (which I still have from time to time). I've gotten to a pretty comfortable place with my voice now, although I'm always trying to improve my singing. It's taken quite a bit of practice to get here, just like learning to play the guitar."


I liked your blog entry about paying what you want... did you really try it and how is it working out?

"The Pay What You Want method has been pretty good.  I just want to give my music away to people who are genuinely responsive to it. There are some days when it doesn't go so well because unfortunately, the illusion of value is a very powerful one. But sometimes, people are very receptive to the idea and even give more than I used to sell the CD's for. I've had days when I've made no money at all and days when I've made 5 times as much as I would have made off of selling 10 CDs."

Actually, I really like your blogs in general.  Anything you hold back from on there or does anything go?

"I try to keep things positive and meaningful to me. Negativity just isn't becoming anymore, especially when we have global forums like the internet. Fighting online is like a big poop throwing contest. Either way, you still have a big pile of poop in your hand and much more to clean up later. I try not to complain or be depressed on my website or in general which is kind of a new philosophy and outlook for me (even though my songs don't necessarily reflect that... they probably will soon). That being said, I try to be as honest as I can be without compromising the tone of my writing. It's a strange balance... Because I want to be funny but also sincere."

Which artists would you enjoy being compared to?

"I'd be super stoked to be compared to any of my heroes! I love Jeff Buckley. John Mayer was my first songwriter hero. Jimi Hendrix is my guitar hero. The Beatles are my newest musicial obsession. Any of them would be fantastic. Even D'Angelo would be cool. I've written a couple of neo-soul-esque songs that have been inspired by "Voodoo" which people seem to enjoy. But to me, those guys are immortal. I can't even touch them. At least not yet. I'm trying to pay my dues as much as possible so that maybe one day, they'll let me into their club of awesomeness."

Any you'd rather NOT have been compared to?

"People don't usually compare me to other artists. I've gotten some random comparisons like Van Morrison, Cat Stevens and Tracy Chapman (I couldn't tell if that was a joke though).  I don't know if that's because I have a unique sound or there's nothing that people can identify in my songs."


Well I am definitely curious to hear Kenny perform and see if I can classify him! His upcoming shows include the House of Blues this Tuesday night, 9-7-10 and then at the Adams Ave Street Fair on 9-25-10 at 11 am.  Check him out at


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