KLOUD 9
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KLOUD 9

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Jul
04
KLOUD 9 @ Jazz Festival

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Detroit, Michigan, USA

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*“This is our fourth full album,” said Kelvis, one of the duo members of Kloud 9 about their current “Enjoy the Ride” CD release on the Shanachie label. “We grew up listening to Gospel music…we always wanted to do true R&B with a touch of Jazz.”

That desire to do “true R&B with a touch of Jazz” was so strong for Kendall, the other member of the duo and twin of Kelvis, that he gave notice at his job and moved to London to pursue that dream.

“I moved to London, England out of frustration with the U.S. music scene,” Kendall explained about why they had to release the first three albums overseas. “We were shopping for a record label (in the U.S.). The industry said it was too clean. I broke down and went home and was talking to my sister and I said, ‘I'm going away and not coming back to the U.S. until I found an outlet to release my music.’”

Six months after arriving in London Kendall met Maysa (formerly of the group Incognito) and later met Bluey (founder and producer of Incognito).

‘Soon after that (meeting Bluey and Maysa) we got a call from Expansion Records in the UK to do an album,” Kendall points out.

In 2002 Kloud 9 released their debut “On Kloud 9” in the UK. The album topped the UK “Sweet Rhythms Soul Chart” for three weeks and spent twelve weeks on Finland’s Soul charts. In 2005 the brothers released “Yearning to Love You” and “Kloud 9 Presents the Vibe Room,” which reached number one on the UK Soul music charts.

Now the twins are running their own company, Deep 3 Entertainment, and releasing their debut U.S. album on Shanachie Entertainment. The CD is truly impressive and a reminder of how soulful vocals can move you deeply. Kloud 9 gets the support of Incognito and Mitchell Jones on the album.

In promoting the “Enjoy the Ride” release Kloud 9 has been performing as opening act for The Isley Brothers, The Whispers, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and Maysa. They will be performing in California in October, just left Washington, DC performing with Marvin Sapp and will be off to the UK in November. In 2010 they will be releasing a “Best of Kloud 9” CD in the UK.

Though the whole album is full of outstanding soulful R&B numbers, my favorites that I find myself playing over and over again are “Appreciation,” “I’m Calling You,” a nice head-bobbing love song, and the single off the new CD “Can’t Be Love.”

To learn more about Kloud 9 and to hear music from the CD log onto to www.myspace.com/Kloud9Twins and at www.facebook.com/SoulTwins.

Saxophonist Mekiel Reuben is ‘Cookin’ in East L.A.” with his new CD

I love to hear a horn sing and I was pleasantly rewarded with a CD of a saxophonist that can do just that. On the newly released Mekiel Reuben “Cookin’ in East L.A.” project he shows such skills. After looking into his background I found that the man is just a natural born horn player (any horn).

“I use to ditch freshman year in high school,” Reuben recalls with a chuckle. “I was in the auditorium while the band was practicing.”

By his sophomore year Mekiel was in the band. He pointed to a trumpet and called it a clarinet, which shows his knowledge - at the time - of instruments, the band director pulled out an actual clarinet and he just started playing it. Reuben went from the clarinet to the saxophone, where he stayed. He went on to join the jazz band in school.

“I wasn’t a great reader,” Mekiel said of his musical skills. “But they said I had a great tone.”

Exactly what I mean about making your horn talk, he uses the tones to make his horn sing. “Cookin’ in L.A.” has ten Jazz cuts that will get you hooked on Mekiel Reuben music.

“Miles Away” was Mekiel’s debut CD release in 1994, in 1996 he released “Simply Peaceful;” in 2000 it was “Shadows of Love,” and in 2005 “Hangin’ on Moonlight” was released.

His 2009 release “Cookin’ in L.A.” (MekMuse Records) gives you such numbers as “Love Triangle,” the cover song “I Keep Forgetting” and the first single, “Too Hot,” featuring award winning Jazz guitarist Vernon Neilly.

My favorite cuts on the “Cookin’ in L.A.” CD seems to be “Blackwood,” the cover songs “Ain’t Nobody," “Baby Come to Me,” and “Operation.” Learn more on Mekiel Reuben at www.MekielReuben.com.
- Mekiel Reuben/EURWEB.COM


Change is in the air these days. Last Fall, we had two presidential candidates injecting the word into nearly every speech they make. Of course, both of them assumed that change is a good thing, and we know that ain't always the case. A lot of people have gotten pink slips or have seen their retirement investments tank, and that resulted in a change in their economic status. Some people have had to make a change of venue because of they could no longer afford to stay in their homes. Then, there is the ever changing sense of security brought on by the wars being waged in foreign lands and in some communities right here in America. All of these things drive home the point that change sometimes forces us to jump into the unknown, and the unknown is often scary. It's at those time when we reach for the comfort of the known quantity.

We might reach for a little comfort food, or fall into the familiar arms loved ones and enjoy the security being in the company of friends and family. Then, of course, there are those old songs that take us back to that time when it all seemed so much simpler. However, as Kendall and Kelvis Duffie - the twins better known as the musical duo Kloud 9 - have proved throughout their career, that kind of musical comfort food doesn't have to be old.

Kloud 9 latest recording, Enjoy the Ride, offers the same solid-as-a-rock formula that served the duo so well on their previous recordings - On Kloud 9 and the award winning Yearning 2 Love. Those recordings feature the silky smooth and soulful soft tenor voices, tasteful lyrics that explore every aspect of romantic love and musical arrangements that seamlessly move from funky up-tempo dance tunes to laid back love ballads that continue to catch the attention of soul fans.

The duo explores the importance of not taking a lover for granted on the tune "Appreciation." "I'm Calling You" proves that men can be eloquent and convincing singers of torch songs. The pulsating horns give the funky jam "Grateful" a definite old-school flair, while "All That Matters" features an ultra-smooth bass line that might remind some listeners of classic Maze.

The Duffie twins don't inject their politics into the music they make. However, a song such as "Step" makes it obvious that the twins are aware of the tumultous times in which they live. Thematically, this song is similar to Earth, Wind & Fire's 1979 hit "Boogie Wonderland" - another song released during a time of ecomomic upheaval and global unrest. In both cases, the singers' search for security in an uncertain world leads them to the dance floor. However, the Duffie brothers don't want to get crunk - they want to revive the kind of classy couple dancing that is epitomized by Chicago-style stepping. And while "Boogie Wonderland" took its cue from disco (and has become a disco anthem), Kloud 9 is aiming "Step" at the fans of that musical genre and sub-culture.

Overall, Enjoy the Ride is a record that will make the "grown and sexy" crowd very happy. This group of listeners often gets pegged as people who are reacting against the synthesized hedonism and materalism of contemporary R&B. And while it is clear that these listeners recoil at much of what they hear on the radio, artists need to do more than feature a good voice and musicians playing real instruments to truly appeal to this demographic. The grown and sexy crowd are "total package" people. The best artists give their fans music that is lyrically strong, vocally inspired and musically well balanced. Kloud 9 does all of these things on Enjoy the Ride, and listeners will conclude that this record is aptly named. Highly Recommended
- Howard Dukes/ Soultracks.com


FeatureKLOUD 9: UP WHERE THEY BELONG
Having established themselves as firm favourites on the UK’s discerning modern soul scene via their acclaimed first two albums - 2001’s ‘On Kloud 9’ and 2005’s ‘Yearning 2 Love’ - Nashville, Tennessee-based duo Kloud 9 this month again come correct with their eagerly-anticipated third set ‘Enjoy the Ride’.
Comprising Illinois-born twin brothers Kelvis and Kendall Duffie, Kloud 9’s smooth blend of contemporary soul, R&B and jazz has previously seen them collaborate on-record with the likes of London jazz-funk dons Incognito and celebrated saxophonist Kirk Whalum. However, their aforementioned new release (written and recorded following select 2007 US tour dates with The Isley Brothers, Maze and The Whispers) finds them mostly going it alone, on cuts ranging from the infectiously catchy groover ‘Step’ and guitar-flavoured, breezy ‘Appreciation’; to the sultry, hypnotic ballad I’m Calling You’, and even a Latin-flavoured house mix (courtesy of Britain’s The Realm) of the sparsely funky ‘Love’s Just Better With You’.
Taking a late-afternoon break from rehearsals with their band in an East London studio, the ever-affable Duffie brothers reunite with ‘B&S’ to discuss their latest project. Which - as with their last set - was primarily written and produced by Kendall in his own, Nashville-based studio The Vibe Room.
“The title ‘Enjoy The Ride’ for us really represents the place where Kloud 9 is at right now”, begins the talkative Kendall: “It’s a place where we’ve come to understand how fortunate we are to be doing something for a career that we love to do. But then we also realise that a lot of people doing this find themselves looking back years later, and realising they didn’t actually enjoy it while things were happening for them. So what we’re saying is, no matter how successful you may get, you still have to embrace the moment and enjoy the ride! Plus the title also has a second meaning, in terms of relationships in general. In that, when we get involved with people personally, we spend so much time trying hard to figure out whether the relationship is gonna work or not. So again our advice is, if it feels good in your heart, just sit back and enjoy the ride! ‘Cause nothing in life or love is guaranteed!”
In terms of the album’s musical content, meanwhile, Kendall has strong ideas about how it represents Kloud 9’s place in today’s marketplace: “Musically, this album reflects the evolution of what Kloud 9 is all about, in that it represents quality R&B and soul music. It’s comparable to what groups like The Isley Brothers and Maze were doing back in the day. You know, those were groups who were always a little left-of-centre and who didn’t always choose the popular trends of the day. And, just like them, we aim to make music we hope will stand the test of time without necessarily trying to be trendy. Because we don’t go into a record thinking ‘Let’s go for a sound that’s hot out there right now’. Instead we’re more like ‘Let’s write songs that feel good, that we feel will evoke emotions, and that will stimulate power divides’. And, with this album, I think we have done that to the very best of our ability. Because, in my opinion, it genuinely represents our best work to date.”
“Also, lyrically we do like to create music that everyone - whether they’re three years old or whether they’re 90 years old - can listen to and understand”, adds Kelvis: “You know, we live in a time when love is something that people don’t really value. We live in a society where it’s not something that people cherish. And so we believe it is important for us as men - especially as Christian men - to be able to sing songs that make women feel like real women and not like sex objects. Which is why we want to portray lyrics that are sensual, but not sexual - things that people of all ages can listen to and appreciate, without feeling embarrassed or being offended.”
Having been in the business for an impressive 22 years (during which time the twosome initially performed in a contemporary gospel outfit, in addition to later being involved in radio promotions, artist development and production), Kloud 9 look back on their early upbringing with mixed feelings: “We actually grew up in a single-parent home with our mother, who was a church musician”, recalls Kendall: “So pretty much the music we were listening to in the early Seventies was by gospel greats like Andre Crouch and Edwin Hawkins. But then, as we started getting older, we started appreciating funk groups like The Commodores, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Kool & The Gang. Though to us the best of all was The Jackson 5! To the point where we’d actually pretend to BE them! Like, when our mom brought home some white shoes one day, we actually started to fight over who was gonna wear them - because it reminded us of something Michael Jackson would wear! But, having said that, we did grow up pretty much poverty-stricken and poor. I mean, there we - www.Bluesandsoul.com/PETE LEWIS


Discography

Singles: Can't Be Love, Enjoy the Ride, Appreciation,With me, Everything is good 2 nite, Off the wall, She's got that kinda.
EP: Love's just better with you, Kloud 9 Presents the vibe room.
Current Air Play: Can't Be Love (Music Choice and select Urban/Jazz radio stations)

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Bio

Already one of the most beloved soul duos in Europe, the Nashville-based group Kloud 9 is starting to create a groundswell of
interest in the United States as well. Already the first single, "Can't Be Love" from Kloud 9's new album ENJOY THE RIDE is garnering nationwide airplay on
Michael Baisden's top-rated nationally syndicated radio show. The group is
also appeared with soul diva Maysa as part of the Metamorphosis tour and also performed with comedian Sheryl Underwood (Queens of Comedy) early August’09 in DC. ENJOY THE RIDE was released on August 11, 2009
by Shanachie Entertainment.

"To finally have our music heard in the States is what I've worked towards my entire life," notes Kloud 9 producer and vocalist Kendall Duffie. "I was born to make music and after spending a few years building my chops overseas, I am glad the time has come to bring our brand of soul music back home.

ENJOY THE RIDE delivers that special Kloud 9 blend of smooth grooves, love-sexy
lyrics and soulful, spot-on vocals that puts them in their own unique niche.

"Kloud 9 is music to just sit back and groove to," adds Kloud 9's Kelvis
"Clyde " Duffie. "Its sexiness is understated and we've found that peoplereally
appreciate us for that."

Besides the single "Can't Be Love", ENJOY THE RIDE offers many
highlights. "Everything Is Good 2nite" is a sinuous dance groove courtesy of UK
Funk-Jazz band Incognito. Also included is a dance mix
version of the song which should be a club favorite.
"She's Got ThatKinda" is stellar contemporary R & B in the vein of recent hits by
Charlie Wilson or Joe. "All That Matters" marries smooth jazz and soul
perfectly. But the album is more than a collection of tracks; the individual
songs cohere into a seamless entrancing whole that truly works as a
complete album experience--a rarity in these track-oriented times--and indeed seems like one long enjoyable ride.

Twin brothers Kelvis and Kendall Duffie formed Kloud 9 in the tradition of such artists as The Isley Brothers, The Whispers and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, all of whom the group would go on to appear with on tour.
Growing up in a single-parent home in Denver, CO where their mother was a church musician, Kendall and
Kelvis started singing in church at an early age. By the age of fourteen they captured the attention of producer Jerry Weaver (former guitarist with Aretha Franklin and producer of Janet Jackson's debut album). With Weaver,
Kendall and Kelvis laid the foundation for a music career and began learning
the ins and outs of the music business. Weaver formed a gospel group called
Meekness which included the Duffies but the group experienced only minor
success.

When Meekness disbanded, the Duffie twins headed for Nashville to try
to further themselves in the music industry. Their experiences their propelled them into careers as record executives with major gospel labels.
However their thirst to perform and record never left them and so they
decided to form a vocal duo. The name Kloud 9 was derived from the concept of
wanting people to experience a mood of ultimate pleasure when listening to their music.
The spelling of Kloud with a "K" was a nod to the fact that both their names
began with that letter. After shopping their music and
being constantly told they should push their music in a more edgy and
raunchy style, Kendall decided to look abroad for audiences who
appreciated quality soul music.

"I remember driving to work one day and pulling over at a grocery store
parking lot and literally breaking down in tears," states Kendall. I felt so
empty and unhappy and I knew I had to do music and do it at a level that would satisfy the desire in my soul. I called my job and resigned on the spot bought a one-way ticket to London where I knew music had a different
appreciation, knowing that being an American would open doors for me over
there. I told my family that I would not return until I found an outlet to release
my music. I realized I didn't have enough money to travel on public
transportation every day so I bought a map of London, got numbers and
addresses to all the indie and major labels in London and my game plan every
day for the first few months I was there was walking 4 - 5 hours each way
for 20-30 minute meetings. At one point I recall feeling rocks on my foot and looked under my shoe and saw I had literally walked a hole in my shoes!"
During my time in London I met a producer named Ray Hayden who produced
Maysa's first album. He allowed me to work in his studio to help him with
production on various projects. I remember leaving his studio one morning around 3AM with not a penny in my pocket and knowing I had several hours to walk back to where I was staying but I was finally feeling happy again. I
was creating music. It was through Ray that I eventually met Maysa and
through Maysa I met Incognito leader Bluey. Shortly thereafter we