Music Track 3 - Artist Profile
Following Music Tracks part 2, where we looked at preparing cover artwork for music streaming and print services. Today we focus on a brief journey with musician, Lenny Deneb (Kingdom Soldier), a recent artist we have helped with pulling together some of the graphical assets for his latest music album and cover artwork.
For this, the 3rd part of our “Music Tracks” series, we take a sneak peek at the real-life under-goings of an experienced musician working in today’s digital environment.
And so, armed with the typical type of questions other music artists may find inspiring, we place Lenny Deneb, under the spotlight, starting with our first question…
Lenny, where did you start your career in music and what inspired your most?
My journey in music began around the age of thirteen when I would often spend time at home playing my parents records and trying to play the guitar on my own as parents could not afford to pay for guitar lessons. However I continued to be interested in music and about five years later met four other like-minded young guys at the local youth club called St. Paul’s & St. Stephen’s Youth Club (affectionately known as Saxon) in Bow, East London and we decided to form a band. At that stage my focus had turned to the keyboards. The name of the band was Cygnus and we were heavily influenced by Jamaican reggae, notably Bob Marley & the Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and others.
As far as music goes, I can honestly say that my greatest inspiration to play music and become involved in music was down to Bob Marley & the Wailers, and to date he remains my all time favourite musician, especially after attending the concert Bob Marley & the Wailers at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park.
Cygnus released a number of singles for Greensleaves Records including ‘Babylon (you’ve got to set Jah children free), Jahman, ‘Thank you for last night’ and a cover version of the Peter Noone hit ‘Silhouettes’..
The band then received a licensing deal through Barclay Records in France and Silhouettes was included on a compilation album entitled ‘Rhum and Reggae’. This success brought more exposure and the band toured the UK, France, Holland, Norway (Cygnus played Oslo before groups like Steel Pulse and Aswad) Ireland, Spain, Finland and Ireland. For a while reggae artists such as John Holt and Errol Dunkley requested the band’s services on a number of live dates as well as playing support to Tapper Zukie in Glasgow, Scotland. Further success followed as the band did some recording work with Jamaican producer John Rubie releasing two singles for Rubie’s Freedom Sounds namely ‘ It’s not hard’ and a cover version of McFadden & Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t no stopping us now’.
How does digital technology help you most with your creative business? For example what can you more readily accomplish digitally as opposed to conventional methods?
Without a shadow of a doubt, I would say digital is a timesaver. Making music with live musicians has to be the best way to go, because of the emotion and inspiration you draw from each other. However this can be time consuming, because musicians are not the world’s best time keepers, and when you are working to a deadline, this can be a major problem.
Working with technology, one can accomplish things a lot faster as long as the technology does not breakdown. For instance, with modern technology, you are no longer limited by number of tracks available, because with digita,l tracks are limitless. For instance when recording or mixing, having this flexibility, you can be as creative as your imagination would let you.
Lenny, what if anything, stifles your capability to be more efficient or successful with your business?
As a recording artist running my own home studio, I would say that being in St. Lucia, the environment as far as availability of equipment (software & hardware) is concern can be a problem. You can buy online, but the duty on musical items is very high. Added to that we do not have a strong music industry locally, lacking in legal advice, marketing personnel, and neither is our media houses very supportive of homegrown talents, and so you have to continuously look outside and that brings with it its own challenges.
How would you describe your music and which are your favourite pieces?
I would describe my music as conscious reggae, but spiritual in nature. Interestingly enough, I now go by the name of Kingdom Soldier. The reason is that I am now a believer in Christ. As Kingdom Soldier, I do not consider my music to have changed that much from what I recorded as Lenny Deneb. I still sing about the injustices that I witness around me and in the wider world. The main difference is that there is a greater spiritual aspect to the lyrical content. All inspiration behind my music comes from the Almighty God. I have always felt and believed that a greater Power is working in me when it comes to writing the kind of lyrics and the emotion which I feel when singing and performing my songs.
The music that I make is all about life’s journey and experiences. Some are personal and others are from observations made due to my work within the field of social science with youth, young offenders, and families in crisis. Ordinary people living ordinary lives and struggling with issues such as religion, drugs, lack of family support, loneliness, unemployment, marginalization and looking for help to come from somewhere.
I find it hard to pinpoint this because every song has its own story to tell. However I would say songs like “Pirates”, “Families at war”, “How can this be justified?” and “The Begging Game” from the Solidarity album are favourite songs; and on the new album The Watchman songs like “Murderers, gangsters and thieves”, “Train to Zion”, “Sweeter than the sweetest” “Under Your wings” and “Futureless children” are favourites.
Where do you go from here?
I would say to continue writing and releasing new materials. However I would like to see a change in the manner that homegrown music are treated in my country. Therefore I hope the time will come when the situation will change for the better; and may I add that I am specifically talking about music of a conscious nature that goes to uplift the youth and divert them away from the negativity.
Connect with Lenny
Where to buy The Watchman album: https://kingdomsoldier.hearnow.com/
Where to buy Solidarity album: