January 1996. Capitol Hill, Denver Colorado. Myself and DJ Dealer were recording our first collaboration together and we took some time out to sit and listen to some music to inspire us. Dealer mixed live for me playing song after song; it was an amazing and memorable time.
The next song he mixed into started off with the lyrics: “In Life you have/ups and downs/smiles and frowns/some friends may come/and some will go/but I wanna let you know….”
This is when I began to be inspired on a daily basis by Kenny Bobien.
Songs like the aforementioned “Brighter Days”, “I Shall Not be Moved”, “Father” and many others have inspired us all to be better, to think, reflect, release, live and move. As a highly esteemed international recording artist, Kenny Bobien has given the world hit after hit like only he can. His instantly recognizable voice, spritually-centered lyrics and passionate vocal delivery define what House Music is really all about.
Only Pastor Bobien can take us to church on the dance floor and get his message though without making us feel judged for “catching the Holy Ghost” with a fresh Long Island Iced Tea in hand. His music has gotten us through on some of our darkest days and I have opened my weekly radio show, The RaShaan Houston Show Live with his songs numerous times. We caught up with this legend of music and he shared with us all things Kenny.
Mr. Bobien thank you for taking the time to speak with 5 Mag. Tell us where you’ve traveled lately and where we can see you live this summer?
In the last six months I’ve been to Portugal, Switzerland, Atlanta, LA and this summer I am slated to go to South Africa, Chicago, and close to home I’ll be live at Fort Greene Brooklyn with Mikki Afflick and the Movin Management Crew July 10th.
My favorite KB song is “I Shall Not Be Moved” and it always gets the crowd going. Do you have a favorite KB song?
There are a couple of them… but I think my favorite one is… Wow, it’s really hard for me to pick just one. “I Shall Not Be Moved” is one and “Reach” is another. There are really so many that have a special meaning to me as I write from life experiences.
What are your latest and upcoming releases?
The one I am most excited about is the Kenny Bobien “Defined” project on SoulArt Music Group and the “Defined” Mix LP. The first LP was released digitally on May 24th and later in the summer the mix will follow.
SoulArt Music Group is my own label that I started with my partner Abigail Adams from Movin Records that was a label and store in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
As a minister, how do you balance your ministry and your music career so they both receive the focus they require?
The only way I can answer that is that they are both one: my music is my ministry. In terms of speaking engagements and juggling gigs and recording, I owe that to my manager Abigail. She keeps me organized and on track.
Your list of hits is endless. Have you developed a hit making formula? If so, can you tell us your secret to creating a song that makes a huge impact?
No, I don’t think there is a secret or magic formula. I write from the heart and from my own life experiences. I write through my own experiences that other people can relate to as well. Somehow God has given me a gift to know just what to say, because everybody can’t always put what they feel and experience into words.
What advice would you give newcomers to the industry that you wish would have been given to you at your start?
That’s a great question. There’s an entire book right there.
One of the important things is stay focused. I don’t want to sound to religious or fanatical but I have to tell you to always keep God first. Pay attention and learn from where you are at every level of your career. It’s not all just about your talent or your looks. The best things I have learned are from being in the background at first. Always keep your eyes open and learn from others, even from their mistakes. If you can find someone you trust who has experience don’t be afraid to ask them to mentor you. And it’s always important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who will support you through the valleys and the peaks.
What are your 3 top favorite songs of any genre at the moment?
Right now my favorite songs are Fred Hammond “Lost in you Again” (for Gospel); El Debarge and Faith Evans “Lay With You” (R&B); Black Coffee ft. Bucie “Superman” and Kenny Bobien “About Love” (House).
Anything else you would like to share with the 5 Mag readers?
I am really looking forward to the release of “Defined”, not only because it is a collection of all of my early songs, but because SoulArt Music is my own record company. I have been rehearsing with a full band and a choir of background vocalists with the focus of touring larger concert venues in the near future.
I thank all of my fans and listeners for the devotion and support you have given me over the years.
Kenny Bobien was interviewed by RaShaan Houston