Interview from Push Global ‘zine, GrindWeekly.com
Today we interview Kerry Kennard, an influential music composer, performer and educator from Ohio, USA.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today? *
Thanks for the opportunity to share my life, Sebastian. It all started watching a band play in Junior High, Freedom jam/Freefare. I think some people might remember them, a definite high energy rock & roll show. In high school, I was in band all three years. I played drums in a few bands and music theatre in the Ohio area.. Then I went on to a local college, Wright State University (WSU). From studying music ed. there, I transferred to Belmont University, studying contemporary music/Percussion Performance. During time at Wright State, I took a year off and traveled with American Entertainment Productions (AEP), doing HS/JH, and convention shows. We travelled across the U.S., mostly states close to Ohio. Doing some graduate work at Univ. of Dayton and Eastman school of Music, I transferred credits and did a year Master of Music in teaching at Eastern Kentucky University. I also learned about Film Music – one class – doing four short videos which are on YouTube.
After EKU, next step went towards more performance with Holland America Line cruise line, doing Percussion and some drum set. I performed for three years, equating about our to five six-month contracts. It was a great experience, playing with click tracks for some Production shows, dance sets (for guests), and other music sets around the ship.
In 2016, with continued interest in Film Music – I studied Michelle Lockey’s music licensing and sync class information online. In 2019, I graduated with a one-year Online Master’s degree in Jazz, with a 4.0 GPA, while working other jobs. Starting my own business, KennardMusic and continue to learn business/Finance skills, all these experiences and education help me become an Artist, as well as a musician. The music education supports the writing and creative side, while music listening and performance experiences has shaped my music in different ways.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way? *
Great question, Sebastian. Fear of the unknown – there have been a few of these circumstances in my life. Some doubt / hesitation – about how to walk through some situations in this life. Depression – at different times. Growing up, I went to a counselor, and it helped a little. This person started prescribing some drugs, though I think it made it worse. I stopped taking them and stopped going to the counselor. Advice, … work out your own issues … if possible. I was depressed / sad for a few years after my Dad’s passing / death. It was hard … lots of grief to deal with. Living in Nashville, TN at the time, there was a support group which helped during this period. Hearing other people’s stories helped to relate to mine, at times. The weekly and monthly meetings did help. Since going through depression and some doubt, I feel I am a stronger person now – able to take on most situations. Granted, I’m still human and am grateful to make it this far in life.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition? *
I specialize in Drum Set now; I still play congas and other hand percussion when needed. Going back to school for Jazz, I wanted to work on my drum skills, as well as learn more about jazz music, being able to compete with some of the other players / Educators in the College marketplace. Granted, having the degree helps, finding work during these Pandemic times is trickier, and hard to know what schools are hiring for Adjunct and/or Full-time teachers. Some schools I heard are not hiring; so, creating KennardMusic seemed a way to create my own studio last year (2020). Knowing drums and percussion with Latin/World knowledge is one area where I excel. Learning these patterns during the online Jazz Program will help people who are interested learn Brazil and South America drum patterns. Being part of PASiC is a blessing. The yearly conventions are great! To the clinics to seeing new gear, PASiC is a great Convention – able to help learn about the competition. I am able to download information from the website. Receiving the monthly magazines helps to keep up with other Drum Artists and the whole percussion scene. Speaking of magazines, I read and skim DownBeat and JazzED articles – two great resources ‘zines to be part of any serious musician’s life.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life? *
I would say stick with it (persistence), no matter what instrument, or outside field you are interested in. Keep up with what’s going on in the industry you’re interested in. Within the Music industry, there are so many sub-categories to find a niche. For example, Performance there are the music genres (Rock, Pop Rock, R&B, Country, Jazz, etc.). In the music business, there are many subgroups as well, i.e. music publishing, education, composition, and learning about Performance Rights Organizations/Music Businesses, and new ones which are created with the growing digital market, like the MLC.com for example. It has come into existence from the signing of the MMA, which President Trump signed into law, being a digital collector of mechanical licenses from new works, and past works. The company’s database started with the Harry Fox database, as “Technology company ConsenSys and mechanical licensing administrator Harry Fox Agency (HFA) received unanimous approval from the MLC Board to become the primary vendors responsible for managing the matching of digital uses to musical works, distributing mechanical royalties, and onboarding songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers and their catalogs to the database”. (www.theMLC.com)
Learn all you can about the field you plan on going into. Focus your energies toward those goals, which are written down (right? :~) . Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you? * For the longest time, I thought it meant having a desired amount of income. Now, I believe it is finishing a desired task. For example, finishing the last music degree is a success. Finishing a certain part of a career is considered a success. Yes, money is important, as in Webster’s dictionary, one definition of success states, ‘the gaining of wealth and fame’. Since my father died, I have struggled with what success means. Therefore, I make this point saying, ‘to attain a desired end’, as Webster defines the word succeed.
What’s next for you? *
More composing and … performing. Talking with a singer this week, I’m looking into a band doing R&B/Motown. We talked about doing Festivals, with a few possible booking agents assisting with gigs. I do have a Jazz project which needs funding to finish. It’s called Coolin’. The GoFundMe campaign link is: https://gofund.me/d02240c4. There are short music mockups inside the GFM campaign. My composing life is still growing; I like this new plug-in called GrainStates, which has a lot of interesting sounds with lots of parameters to make stimulating music. Two recent tunes are ‘Grainy Sounds’ and ‘April Mystery’, both found on SoundCloud. As my music theory teachers always said, … develop your own music/sound. Always liked Schoenberg (12-tone system) and quartal harmonies. Seems many percussionists used these musical devices for composition –another story someday. :~)
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Of course, Sebastian, they can contact me at http://www.kerrykennard.com, which has all the Social Media means to connect. Facebook page is www.Facebook.com/KennardMusicLLc. I do spend some time on LinkedIn also; feel free to converse with me there.
Thank you again, Sebastian for the opportunity to share some of my story with everyone. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this great new network of acquaintances.
Buy music from
iTunes / Apple Music
Currently all music from Apple Music
Notes from Afar (January 2022)
C Where it Leads
For full listing of music, please go to:
Newer tunes (2018+)