A complete Biography of Welsh Singer Songwriter, Producer, front man of Alternative Rock band KYSHERA & owner of Record Label Konic Records, James Kennedy.
James Kennedy is a UK based Singer Songwriter, Producer, frontman of the Alternative Rock band Kyshera and owner of the Music Company Konic Records. Born in Cardiff, South Wales, Kennedy is a self taught multi-instrumentalist and Producer with Guitar & Vocals being his main instruments. Kennedy writes all of the words & music on his solo albums and Kyshera releases & also produces all of these albums and has released them all on his own label, Konic Records. Throughout his career Kennedy has explored many different genres of music including Alternative Rock, progressive, noise, electronic, experimental, pop, acoustic, orchestral & others. Kennedy's most successful album to date is the 2017 Top 50 Best Selling solo album 'Home' although Kennedy upholds that his proudest moment is the experimental & political 2012 Kyshera album 'Made In China'. Kennedy has also written songs for other artists such as The Military Wives Choir, Tenovus, Katie Waissel, Cat Southall and Alen Seed among others and has also placed music in many adverts & TV shows around the world including Aria Hotels Las Vegas & Koko Bank Taiwan. Kennedy has performed in many countries around the world and is known as a passionate, energetic, entertaining & engaging performer.
When Kennedy was 10 years old (a year after he began learning the Guitar) he was diagnosed with advanced Bilateral Cholesteatoma in his ears which meant having 3 major ear operations leaving him with 40% hearing loss in both ears and life long Tinnitus in his left ear. In and out of School as a result, he also didn't enjoy school for other reasons & didn't get very good grades but did start performing in his first band as a lead Guitarist in a School band playing several gigs in the School hall & clubs around Newport, performing covers of Nirvana & Green Day. Kennedy went on to Crosskeys College where he met other musicians and continued performing live as a Guitarist (at this stage Kennedy wasn't a singer). Kennedy then proceeded to study at the esteemed Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama but left 2 years in to the degree when one of the lecturers who had recognised his talent offered him a teaching job. At age 20, Kennedy was a teacher and working at a local recording studio (WhiteOak Studios in Crickhowell, now closed) and it was here that he started penning ideas for his own songs and experimenting with his singing in the night time. Kennedy wrote, produced & played all of the instruments on the 1st draft of the Kyshera album 'Made in China' during this time & released a demo of it under the name 'Kennedy' but later had to change the name when contacted by the management of classical violinist Nigel Kennedy and told that if he didn't use a different name they would consider him to be 'passing himself off' as their artist. The demo fell into the hands of several major labels & Kennedy had calls from Sony, Warner & other labels who urged Kennedy to set up a band and do some live shows. The demo created a stir & Kennedy was played on BBC Radio 1 (and topped their New Music Chart for 6 weeks), received much acclaim in the local & national press & management offers rolled in - all before Kennedy had played a single show or formed a band for the record. However, the following year the music industry fell in to its historic depression due to the rapid growth of the internet & digital formats and interest in new artists (especially artists with challenging music like 'Made In China') dried up over night. Kennedy persevered through this period by forming Kyshera and setting up his own label Konic Records, however, finding musicians willing & able to play the technical & complicated music on 'Made in China' proved difficult and Kennedy endured many years of line up changes whilst the band had frequent periods of non activity while looking for new members. Each of the 3 Kyshera albums has a different drummer and for many of their early years the band performed as a 2 piece due to issues with bass players leaving the band. In 2010, after many years of pursuing the initial industry interest in his music, Kennedy decided to begin releasing independently and released the '1st' Kyshera album 'Paradigm' through Konic Records. Despite being recorded with 'zero budget' at Kennedy's home on a desktop PC, the album is very ambitious and includes an experimental 'tone colour' piece for Orchestra as well as the experimental Rock leanings of the bands early music and saw the band do live shows all over the UK and as far as Canada. Kennedy held off the proper release of his precious 'Made In China' album until 2012 with the album getting a complete re-record and finally seeing Kennedy's huge musical ambition on the album released properly to the public at large. The album contains not a second of silence and contains very progressive / experimental technical rock leanings, noise, electronica and highly political lyrics.
Alongside Kyshera, Kennedy has released 3 solo albums also. The first being the experimental & instrumental album '9.i.P' which was released during Kennedy's experimental Made in China period. The album is very highbrow & challenging and features experimental techniques such as Musique Concrete, Serialism, Micro-tones, PolyRhythms, noise & more. Many people can't understand how the same artist could make this album as well as a song like 'Misfits' but as Kennedy himself has said, he started out very left field & technical and gradually became more melodic & mainstream rather than the other way around (which is usually what happens with other artists). His 2nd Solo album 'The National Health Service' is a simpler, acoustic based album of songs which coincided with a more melodic direction coming through in Kyshera, such as on their 3rd album 'Circle'. Circle is a character based story about a celebrities' rise & fall and explores themes of vice, loss, love, death, suicide, fame & meaning and ironically it was after this album that Kennedy himself began experiencing his own mental burn out & depression from years of struggling as an independent artist in the modern music industry. Both of the previous 2 Kyshera albums resulted in Kennedy having to sue either a record company or their manager over financial matters and after Kyshera's brutal European tour with cult American band 'Snot', Kennedy had a mental burn out and wanted to take a long break from the music industry in order to reassess his life. Despite this, Kennedy ended up writing his most successful album to date during this time, the Top 50 Best Selling album 'Home' which features songs like Unconditional, Misfits, Hometown and Just a Man. Kennedy poured his depression and sense of isolation into the album and used it as a form of therapy for his feelings and gradually came out the other side with a more positive appreciation for his life. He resisted touring for 2 years after the Kyshera hiatus but did perform a very small solo acoustic tour in July 2018 called the Misfits Tour which had no promotion and was only announced to his Twitter followers in each town.
As well as Kennedy's wildly eclectic & ambitious musical output he is noted for his intense lyrical content which has covered subjects such as religion, terrorism, war, death, love, modern culture, celebrity, meaning, family, the media, protest & much more. Kennedy also writes articles, essays & does talks on a range of subjects as well as being a heavy user of Social Media and posting cover songs and chat videos (called Twinterview) on his youtube channel where he answers questions from his Twitter followers. Complete lyrics, interviews & Kennedy's articles, reading lists & other material can be found on his website at https://www.jameskennedystuff.com.
Kennedy has not expressed what is next in store.
1. Kennedy was voted as one of the 50 Sexiest Men in Wales by the Western Mail.
2. Kennedy has a 3.46 octave vocal range with his lowest recorded note being a C2 on 'Burning Witches' and his highest note being A5 on 'Neurons'
3. Kennedy is 5' and 4" tall or 163 cm.
4. Kennedy identifies as a Socialist
5. A list of Kennedy's equipment can be found at : http://equipboard.com/pros/james-kennedy