One wouldn’t necessarily expect Maine to be a hotbed of soul, but sure enough, there’s an up and coming soul band emerging from the…er, whatever Maine is famous for (anyone from Maine reading this post-please don’t kill me.) If you’re from the area and you haven’t checked out the Kenya Hall Band, then shame on you. If you’re not from the area and you love soul music, please allow this column to be your introduction. I was fortunate enough to be able to toss lead singer (and band namesake) Kenya Hall a couple of questions as she prepares for her show at Church of Boston on April 12th while juggling songwriting, recording and being a new mom. Homegirl is Superwoman like Karyn White.
1) My favorite soul record of all time is…That’s such a hard and unfair question to have to answer..and I can only try to narrow down that answer to what albums could I never ever live without…Sly and The Family Stone-“Fresh”…Erykah Badu-Mama’s Gun…Marvin Gaye- “What’s goin on”… Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway “Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway”
2) Most people would be surprised to know that in my spare time, I...Spare time is the equivalent of unicorns to musicians who are also new moms.
3) What does “soul” mean to you?
Soul means: remembering how much I loved how my mom smelled to me when I was 5…the first time I was hurt cause “he” was gone…my dad’s hands…1123 8th Street Canton, Ohio…love..growth..the fear of stepping forward and the reward of doing so…tomorrow and the day after that…hope…gratitude..and my son.
4) The strangest thing I’ve seen while performing is…Oh man how PG do I have to be on this? (ed. note: we don’t believe in PG on this site)..The truth is I’m a freak magnet..and to be a performer with that as a curse has made it so that I have a book’s worth of material on “strange”
5) What was the last great album you bought? it’s a toss up between Sharron Jones’ Naturally or Don Blackman (self titled).
6) What’s the thing you love most about Maine? What about the thing you like least? Maine is beautiful! I’ve come to know nature that was never known to someone from the city. And people here are open and easy going..not to mention I feel the music communities are amazingly supportive and and brimming with ridiculous talent.
I like the winters the least. And sometimes it’s hard to pedal soul music..this is an indie rock..singer/song writer..or hard metal kinda place for the majority.
7) Do you secretly laugh to yourself when you see people with no rhythm dancing at your shows?
All too often..Haha..in fact sometimes it’s not so much to myself that I’m laughing..however it just comes across as me smiling and enjoying myself.
8) If you got signed and got a million-dollar bonus, what would you do with the money? I’d buy my mom and my sister a house where ever they wanted it. Then I’d pay off some bills…haha..(spoken like a true broke ass woman)
9) What inspired you to become a musician?
By never being told not to. It’s the only thing that’s always been immediately right. I can’t think of anything else I wanted to be. And when I came to terms with who I was (which everyone who becomes an adult has to do), me doing anything else would have just been me playing myself…I would have been constantly pretending to be someone I’m not.
10) Michael or Prince? Prince.