The Evolving Kenyon Dixon: Singer, Songwriter, Entrepreneur

(L-R): MARIO PRINS, ASSOC. DIR., CREATIVE SERVICES, SESAC; KENYON DIXON [CENTER]; AND SESAC SVP, CREATIVE SERVICES SAM KLING ONSTAGE AT THE RECENT 2017 SESAC POP AWARDS, NEW YORK CITY

Singer, Songwriter, Background Vocalist, and two-time Grammy nominee, Kenyon Dixon recently won the 2017 SESAC Pop Award for the song “Waiting on You,” performed by Tyrese, featured on the Black Rose album. Dixon co-wrote not one but four songs on the Tyrese Black Rose project. Not only does Kenyon have a prolific pen for other artists such as Mary J Blige, TGT, and Ann Nesby, but he’s also a copious artist himself, releasing independent projects, Hollywood & High Land Project (2012), Twenty Four (2014), Higher Ground (2015), Supafly (2016) and his anticipated summer release, We Should Talk (2017). Here’s some excerpts of our conversation.

Whether as a background singer, or creative collaborator, who are some of the artists you’ve worked with over the years, and how does it feel to be in such demand?

It feels amazing for sure. I think it definitely is a testament to working hard and loving what you do. It’s a great experience especially when you desire to be an artist yourself, so it’s kind of like work study on the job. I’ve worked with Justin Timberlake, Mac Miller, Nick Jonas, Pharrell, Tyrese, Faith Evans, Usher, John Legend, Kelly Rowland, and a bunch of artists. I’ve definitely been blessed to work with most of the artists that I’ve actually dreamt of working with before I seriously got into the field. I’ve made my rounds for sure.

As a songwriter and artist what makes you standout from other R&B acts?

For me, at least from things that my fan base has expressed, it’s that I’ve been very consistent, honest and transparent with my music, and I think it’s because I’ve been involved with my music from day one. I’m getting more into production. I’ve been producing more of my own stuff. I’ve written every single record that I’ve put out on my own, entirely. I’m unique, so as long as my music is me and it’s honest, you’re always going to get that piece of me, as long as I stay true to myself. I think anything that I’m doing is going to exude that.

How does marketing and promoting your solo material without the benefit of a label, affect you as an artist? Would you like a record deal, or do you feel it’s not necessary to be on a major label in today’s musical climate?

As an indie artist, your marketing and promotion is you. It’s basically like a medium of tying in your personal life with the business you’re doing. You pick up the logistics as you go. Some stuff you figure out and you probably should never do again, and some stuff you figure out you should have done more of. It’s definitely a lot different than someone with a bigger budget because I’ve managed to build my fan base organically by myself and I appreciate that each one of my fans have made their own decision to rock with my music; it’s not some hype. I don’t ever have to do a label deal in my life. I’m okay with a joint venture or if it’s something like a partnership. I think for me, I can do without a label controlling my music. With a million dollar budget, I’d rather be at home on my computer with a mic cutting songs, putting them out, and finding a way to maximize my interaction with my audience based on someone who’s like, “let’s do it.”

How does it feel to win a SESAC Pop Award for the song “Waiting on You” by Tyrese?

We laugh about it all the time but we worked on Tyrese’s Black Rose album back in 2013, I believe, in Arizona. It’s funny how that record ended up being a single, because it wasn’t even going to make the album. So that’s amazing that the song was able to be recognized.

Talk a bit about your new music project, We Should Talk. What can audiences expect and how different is it from your previous projects?

There’s a specific project I released before called Higher Ground, which has been the most popular amongst my listeners. What I’ve always gotten from them is they appreciate my male perspective on being vulnerable and still making it look cool. For me this project is almost like a follow up to Higher Ground. I got back to what I know they love about my music. I’m more excited for this than I’ve been for anything I’ve ever released. I think sonically, the vibe of it, and what I feel about this project is amazing. www.kenyondixon.com

INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY ADAM WHITE