Brian Kennedy is a songwriter, record producer, and musician from Kansas City, MO. Revered as a piano prodigy, he has been making music tracks since 2001. He is considered one of the industry’s top up-and-coming producers and has since worked with many high-profile artists, including Chris Brown, Rihanna, Joe Jonas, Jamie Foxx, Natasha Bedingfield, Brandy, Backstreet Boys, Nelly and many more notable artist.
Kennedy is best known for chart-topping hits ‘Disturbia’ recorded by Rihanna off her Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, album and ‘Forever’ the 2nd song released by Chris Brown off his Exclusive – ‘The Forever Edition.’ Brian is also the producer on two songs on Chris Brown’s latest F.A.M.E.’ album. He earned a Grammy Award in 2009 for his contribution to Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson’s self-titled debut album, which took home honors as Best R&B Album. The hit song ‘If This Isn’t Love,’ garnered an ASCAP win for him as well.
With such a broad stylistic range, Kennedy’s music is not genre specific. On the airwaves now is ‘See No More’ for Joe Jonas, which he produced and co-wrote with Chris Brown. ‘Easy’ co-produced with Dann Huff for Rascal Flatts featuring Natasha Bedingfield, and ‘This Time’ for American Idol Season 10 cast-off Pia Toscano. Pia is currently performing ‘This Time,’ her debut single on the American Idol tour.
He is a graduate of Paseo Academy of Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO. He now resides in Southern California and has recently opened his own recording studio, Kennedy Compound.
Mr.Brian Kennedy, what’s the science?
Making music, enjoying life, and just taking it all in, you know.
We hear you recently opened a new recording studio. Tell us about it.
Yea, I’m in the process of putting the finishing touches on it now. It’s called the Kennedy Compound. Opening a studio was always something I wanted to do, so sometimes I’ll walk into the building and look around and just think like ‘wow this is MY studio.’ It’s surreal.
Coming from Paseo High School in Kansas City, MO all the way to the bright lights of Hollywood, CA what keeps Brian Kennedy down to earth?
My Family! They won’t just sit there and let me get a big head or go “Hollywood!” (laughs) No, but really…just knowing that I didn’t get to where I am today on my own. I had a supportive team. I know I’m blessed ’cause not everyone gets to experience this. I surround myself with humble and down to earth people so I can look at them and say ‘oh, yea… this is why I’ll never change.’
You have composed beats for almost every genre of music the industry has to offer. How do you feel this process has developed you as a producer?
It’s definitely made me more versatile and more open to try new things that other people might find “weird” or out of the ordinary. I’m more of a risk taker now when I produce records. I didn’t start off that way.
With each song you produce there has to be an understanding that you are moving music forward. Since you’re in the driver’s seat, where do you plan on taking music with your production?
I plan on taking music to another planet (laughs)! I don’t believe that the sky is the limit. You can go farther than that…like outer space, so that’s what I plan to do. If it sounds crazy, I’m going to do it anyway! If it raises a few eyebrows, I’m still going to do it. When Quincy Jones took the drivers seat he produced “Thriller.” Good music will always speak for itself.
Where do you feel your best quality of work comes from?
When I’m in front of a piano…or keyboard…or drums…or any other instrument that I play. Music is what I love, so anytime I sit down to create music I’m going to give it my best.
If you had a choice to collaborate with any artist past or present who would it be and why?
Michael Jackson. He was a musical genius! He wasn’t afraid to be himself and it showed through his music. He broke down barriers and set new standards. Michael Jackson was, and always will be one of my inspirations, and I would have been honored to work with him.
New productions/collaborations you have planned or are in the process of making?
I’ve been working with Kelly Clarkson the past couple of months. She’s ridiculously talented and a great person to work with! Got some other stuff going on, but I don’t want to give it all away. You’ll just have to wait and see, but you won’t be disappointed. Out now is “See No More” the track I produced and co-wrote with Chris Brown for Joe Jonas; “Easy” by Rascal Flatts featuring Natasha Bedingfield is also a project I co-produced with Dann Huff out of Nashville and Pia Toscano’s debut single “This Time” is co-produced by me as well. Pia is the cast-off from American Idol that everybody loved. My single is her first one and she’ll be performing the song while she’s on the American Idol tour this month.
Now with the many projects you’re undertaking on with other artist and their albums, do you have any plans on creating another Brian Kennedy album?
Not just yet. I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a lot of phenomenal artists so I’m focusing more on doing music for them right now. But, you never know what could happen…
We have to ask this! Your Top 5 emcees currently in the game?
Kanye West, Jay Z, Common, Andre 3000, and Eminem…in no particular order.
What advice would you give young musicians who aspire to be in your position someday?
You have to have patience. Success isn’t going to come over night. You’ll face some rejection, but never stop grinding or lose that drive. When one door closes, go bang on another one. Keep going until you hear that one ‘yes.’
Well, we appreciate the time you took to sit down and talk to Wheat City Magazine. Much respect. Any last words for the people?
No problem. Thanks for having me. I’ll leave you with this quote my dad used to always say to me when I was growing up ‘Do today what others won’t do, so you can do tomorrow what others can’t do.’ Oh, and visit my website bkclassik.com and follow me on twitter @BKmusik.
Joe Jonas – See No More (Prod. By: Brian Kennedy)