Kenny DeShields
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Kenny DeShields

University City, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

University City, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Alternative Soul

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“When it’s tough, when it’s unfair, that’s when you love, that’s when you love,” Kenny DeShields sang to the packed audience of the Pageant. The crowd followed right along with the second line of the chorus. “When it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient, that’s when you love, that’s when you love.”

They sang and waved their hands along to the rhythm of “That’s When You Love.” A few “Sing, Kenny” shouts could be heard . They carried on in the typical “that’s my jam” fashion.

To an uninformed spectator, Friday night would have seemed business as usual. A hot artist singing their signature song in a venue known for showcasing the best in rising stars. But Friday night was a bit different for the audience of several hundred who came to one of the best midsized concert venues in the nation.

“That’s When You Love” has never been played on the radio or released as a single. DeShields, who also wrote the song, was one of a dozen local performers who graced the stage as a part of Café Soul Live – which closed out with a performance by The Dirty Muggs, another St. Louis act.

“To be up on stage as a local artist doing an original song and have people showing their support like that … it was like, wow,” DeShields said.

The show featured some of the most buzzed about local talent in town – including Tiffany Elle, Theresa Payne and Corey Black.

“That girl can throw down. Is she from St. Louis?” the security guard leaned over and asked as Tish Haynes-Keys belted out Fantasia’s “Win to Lose.”

She was. Every act except one (who flew in from Florida) was from St. Louis or the Metro East.

Some did originals; others did covers – from Stevie Wonder to Cee Lo Green and Lenny Kravitz – and made them their own.

Corey Black (joined by Theresa Payne) even made the bold decision to embark on the rare hip-hop cover with a performance of The Roots’ “You Got Me.”

“Friday night people saw that there are artists here that are ready – they just need an opportunity,” DeShields said. “And to see people step it up and rise to that occasion, I’m sure it motivated everyone to just keep moving forward and try to move on to a national scale.”

He admitted that it was still sinking in that he had played one of his bucket list venues so early in his career as a singer. To do it with people singing along to his original tune was “an out-of-body experience.”

The entire lineup of performers that preceded headliner The Dirty Muggs had played Café Soul at a host of clubs over the past seven years, but few had graced a stage like the Pageant.

“It was surreal,” DeShields said. “To go from where I started at the Lucas Schoolhouse to this is really something special here. To see how Café Soul has grown and to see how packed it was and to see the camaraderie between the singers and the musicians was just amazing.”

In seven years, Café Soul co-founders Angela Brown and Nichol Stevenson have fulfilled their mission – to give St. Louis artists a platform and to show St. Louis audiences the caliber of local talent.

Café Soul is also embarking on their sidebar of bringing national acts to St. Louis. Next month Café Soul returns to the Pageant with KeKe Wyatt as a special guest.

“I think Café Soul Live showed people our potential,” DeShields said. “It was like, ‘Okay, don’t sleep on St. Louis – because there is something special happening in this town.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, I was a part of that moment.’”

- St. Louis American


St. Louis singer Kenny DeShields is one of those artists who has found a comfortable niche for himself between secular and sacred music. You'd just as easily find him performing in a nightclub as in a church.

"Just because I'm in a club doesn't mean I won't do a Christian theme," DeShields says. "I read the crowd and get a feel for where they are. I want to make sure whatever I do is a good fit.

"I'm a lover and student of music of all styles, and what you see is what you get. It comes from an honest place, and it all means something to me, whether its Christian or secular. I don't just do stuff for the sake of music. It has to come from the heart. People can tell the real from the fake."

DeShields likes to call what he does 'soulternative."

"I'm a Christian and I'm saved and all that, but I can do straight-ahead church music, jazz or rock," he says. "I can go in any of those directions, and I like to blend them. I don't like to limit myself. People need to see the authenticity in my music and life. The Kenny DeShields story is about finding out where I am, how I'm wired and finding music to fit that pattern."

Next week, DeShields will be at the Gramophone, where he'll perform a free show as part of the venue's showcase series. He'll do a few covers, including PJ Morton's "Blah Blah Blah," Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" and Bill Withers' "Lovely Day." He also is likely to perform favorites such as "Gotta Be Me" and "You Changed Me," as well as new material.

DeShields, who played classical and jazz piano as a child before playing in church, is at work on his first full-length album, "The Real Love Project," which takes its cue from a Bible verse that says love is patient and kind.

"People can really wear on your nerves," he says of the album's concept. "I'm learning how to not hold grudges, how to really be your brother's keeper, and understanding none of us are perfect. We each have our own journey."

"The Real Love Project" follows his 2008 EP, "Mosaic."

"I'm much more creative and more musically in depth (now)," DeShields says. "This time, I'm really working with a band, and we've all grown, from the music to the presentation to the quality."

"Gotta Be Me" was featured on "Mosaic," and DeShields is likely to revisit the song on his upcoming project.

"I used to wonder, 'Why can't I fit in? Why can't I be like Usher or Justin Timberlake or Maxwell?'" he says. "So I took my time, learned my imperfections, the good the bad and the ugly of me, and songs came out of that."



Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/kevin-johnson/kenny-deshields-finds-comfort-in-clubs-pews/article_57234e67-3a73-58d8-9de7-89623052667f.html#ixzz1o05jo3yD - St. Louis Post Dispatch


St. Louis singer Kenny DeShields is one of those artists who has found a comfortable niche for himself between secular and sacred music. You'd just as easily find him performing in a nightclub as in a church.

"Just because I'm in a club doesn't mean I won't do a Christian theme," DeShields says. "I read the crowd and get a feel for where they are. I want to make sure whatever I do is a good fit.

"I'm a lover and student of music of all styles, and what you see is what you get. It comes from an honest place, and it all means something to me, whether its Christian or secular. I don't just do stuff for the sake of music. It has to come from the heart. People can tell the real from the fake."

DeShields likes to call what he does 'soulternative."

"I'm a Christian and I'm saved and all that, but I can do straight-ahead church music, jazz or rock," he says. "I can go in any of those directions, and I like to blend them. I don't like to limit myself. People need to see the authenticity in my music and life. The Kenny DeShields story is about finding out where I am, how I'm wired and finding music to fit that pattern."

Next week, DeShields will be at the Gramophone, where he'll perform a free show as part of the venue's showcase series. He'll do a few covers, including PJ Morton's "Blah Blah Blah," Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" and Bill Withers' "Lovely Day." He also is likely to perform favorites such as "Gotta Be Me" and "You Changed Me," as well as new material.

DeShields, who played classical and jazz piano as a child before playing in church, is at work on his first full-length album, "The Real Love Project," which takes its cue from a Bible verse that says love is patient and kind.

"People can really wear on your nerves," he says of the album's concept. "I'm learning how to not hold grudges, how to really be your brother's keeper, and understanding none of us are perfect. We each have our own journey."

"The Real Love Project" follows his 2008 EP, "Mosaic."

"I'm much more creative and more musically in depth (now)," DeShields says. "This time, I'm really working with a band, and we've all grown, from the music to the presentation to the quality."

"Gotta Be Me" was featured on "Mosaic," and DeShields is likely to revisit the song on his upcoming project.

"I used to wonder, 'Why can't I fit in? Why can't I be like Usher or Justin Timberlake or Maxwell?'" he says. "So I took my time, learned my imperfections, the good the bad and the ugly of me, and songs came out of that."



Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/kevin-johnson/kenny-deshields-finds-comfort-in-clubs-pews/article_57234e67-3a73-58d8-9de7-89623052667f.html#ixzz1o05jo3yD - St. Louis Post Dispatch


Whatever you think of the God delusion and the spaghetti monster in the sky, it's clear that something more than material animates the music of Kenny DeShields. One of the young lions on the St. Louis contemporary gospel scene, DeShields clearly loves Jesus, but he also loves Stevie Wonder and D'Angelo. With his wide, infectious smile and a silky tenor voice that can shake churches and seduce nightclubs, he's a humble powerhouse, gifted on piano and synth-programming, open-minded to the glitchy and the trippy, and refreshingly disinterested in sanctimony. His recent narrative video for the "Gotta Be Me" single is witty, charming and honest, a portrait of a young artist chafing against the nine-to-five grind and finding truer, higher ground.

- River Front Times


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The Kenny DeShields Experience brings the heart of life, love, and music to the stage with a collection of original songs, penned by the singer/songwriter. With a style that dabbles along the lines of Bruno Mars and John Mayer, Kenny allows listeners to take a look into the heart of a man with an undying zeal and passion. Kenny is currently showcasing new tunes from the highly anticipated "The Real Love Project," slated for a Spring 2014 release. After taking a year off from performing to focus on writing new material, the new album takes the listener on a journey of life and love. 

Kenny is no stranger to taking the road less traveled. The Real Love Project is a breath of fresh air to a familiar but overlooked topic. Loves not just a four letter word. Its a day by day, moment by moment, conscious decision. Its a culture, a way of life. says Kenny. 

The album features production and writing credits from some of the whos who in the St. Louis music scene, including Grammy Award winning producer/artist J.R., fellow singer-songwriter, Theresa Payne, and his wife and media personality/fashion stylist/blogger, Christia DeShields. 

He was a 2012 nominee in the RFT Music Showcase for Best R&B Artist and the 2011 Winner for Best Gospel Artist in the RFT Best of St. Louis category. 

Kenny has had the privilege of sharing the stage with music greats such as Grammy nominated and BET J Virtual Award Winner - Eric Roberson, Tyscot Records Recording Artist - Christopher Lewis, Leon Timbo, Anthony David, Mali Music, Meaghan Williams, Daniel Eric Groves, and Sundays Best Finalists - Jessica Reedy and Durward Davis. 

Band Members