Singer & songwriter Kenya Kondo comes out with his debut album 'WAIT'.
Kenya Kondo's impassioned pop song craft is the undeniable product of the journey that brought him from Africa to Canada and launched him on his present musical course.
'I got started in music by accident', confesses Kondo, who aspired to a career as an astronomer as a teenager in Kenya.
'My mother bought a second-hand guitar from a local carpenter and had it lying around the house with the intention of learning how to play. She loves music. I picked it up whenever the radio was on figuring out how to play the melodies by ear.'
From picking out pop vocal melodies on the low E-string of an out-of-tune guitar, Kondo was writing his own songs within a couple of years and, in no time, recruiting his brother and other musicians to perform them at school and church functions, eventually winning a spot in the finals in a national star search competition.
'I started out doing a lot of covers: Simon and Garfunkel, Eagle Eye Cherry, Matchbox 20, Motown. I love the Motown sound. Anything with a great melody, a catchy beat, that is what gets me going.'
Still fascinated by science when he finished high school, Kondo started looking around the world for his next opportunity, eventually selecting the physics program at the University of Alberta as his gateway to a career in astronomy. The harsh reality of his decision set in when he arrived in Edmonton in the dead of winter to begin his studies.
'The sense of transition from one culture to another, learning to get settled here, and arriving in January for the first time, dealing with the literal darkness and the cold, missing the things I took for granted at home really started hitting me', he recalls. For better or worse, Kondo found himself flush with lyrical inspiration.
Seeking to build on his solo sound, Kondo rounded up players from diverse background who cohered around his songs, founding the acoustic jam band Kitchen's Passport, which allowed him to extend his reach onto Edmonton's louder live music stages. Kondo also branched out into writing music for television and independent film, even lending his warm, sonorous tenor to voice work. Kitchen's Passport disbanded and Kondo took a break from live performance. But the urge to write and perform music never left him.
'There's always been a strong desire to have something that says, this is my music', Kondo says. Kondo hooked up with LA-based musicians for a continent-spanning collaboration: a 10-song album entitled Wait.
The back-story of Wait is the journey of life: 'The ups and downs, falling in love, having your heart broken and hopefully, learning something about yourself at the end of it all', Kondo says.
He adds that while the difficulties of the transition to Canada stimulated his songwriting at the time, he's found inspiration in assuming other viewpoints.
'The more I wrote, the more I found that when I was in a low place that's when things really flowed. Writing for other people, other voices, with other musicians in mind -- that helped me to keep writing without having to go to that low place.'
Kenya returns to his roots as a singer-songwriter with his debut album 'Wait' which is available on iTunes and all major online music retailers.