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Our guest today on this edition of the INTERVUE is gearing up to perform at the newly named Bethesda Theater, the former Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club this tomorrow night at 8:30pm to a sold-out crowd. But what else can you expect from one of DCs own who attended the famous Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Since 2016, he has written to the forefront of the culture with over 100 million streams and counting number one billboard entries on the adult R&B charts, and countless sold-out shows. And now he continues to blaze a trail with more music under his artists own Art Society Music Group, and he recently became the first in the artists to have not one, but two simultaneous singles on the top 20 Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart.

Ladies and gentlemen let’s welcome DCs own Washington grown, Kevin Ross!

Hi Kevin, welcome to THE INTERVUE!

Oh, that sounds amazing, man. Great intro. Thank you so much for having me. And it’s a pleasure to be sitting and chopping it up with.

We mentioned moments ago that you are about to participate in a sold-out crowd at the newly named theater in Bethesda. What can people expect for those who are coming to this wonderful show this Friday?

Honestly, a great experience. I love to make my shows interactive, to make sure that I connect with my crowd. I just want people to prepare for a really great experience on Friday night.

Your latest single is “Ready for It” with Eric Bellinger. And it’s rising through the charts. With your collaboration with him, you stated, “I wanted to make a pop that wasn’t completely toxic, men can still be clear with their intentions for love without being perceived as soft and corny.” And knowing me, I’ve heard that phrase many times before. I want you to emphasize on saying that.

I mean, I think you really hit it on the head as far as with the statement. But most importantly, is just about really being an antithesis to the climate that we’re in, and what culture deems is cool, and have a sense of toxicity or being in the gray. And if your life is indicative of the gray, then that’s fine but to stay in the gray and to try to constantly live in the gray without the search of clarity, I think that that’s just not a great human experience.


So, for me, I want to create a soundtrack for people who are clear about their intentions and clear what they want out of life who and what they want out of love or if they’re on a journey to clarity. I think that I wanted to fill a void that I that I felt that was missing within specifically within the R&B genre as it pertains to feel good records that aren’t valid, that still had a bounce to it.

You’re absolutely right. Now let’s take a step back to where you were and what you felt when you first heard R&B music. When did you get the taste?

Well, that’s kind of crazy because I want to say that my first time listening to an R&B record was Lisa Stansfield. Yeah, so that was my first introduction. That’s the first memory of music that I have, is that song. When people ask me what is the first time that you recall listening to R&B in your existence, it’s that song!

So, it just so happens to be an R&B song regardless of where it went as far as in pop music. It was still R&B structured & written. It’s very, very interesting but I love the song to this day, in a sense of just the lushness of it. The strings, the upbeats to it, in contrast to the lyrics from it all.

What was it about this song that spoke to you directly?

You know, being grown up now, I think it was that were that were use the instruments, vocally. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I just knew that it felt good. It felt euphoric to me as a child. You know, it was still set apart from whatever that was played on radio during that time because obviously, that’s the only thing that I remember during that timeframe of it being on radio. I don’t know if it was currently being played or whether it was like in syndication. I just remember standing out so profound.

Absolutely, in fact, I remember I was 10 when that song came out. And every time I hear it, it always takes me back to the early 90s R&B where the music was positive most of the time. And the lyrics were amazing!

I couldn’t agree with you more. I couldn’t agree with you more.

Well, along those lines, how do you feel that the sound of R&B has evolved from you listening to Lisa Stansfield back in the day to where it is right now with what you’ve been performing lately?

Well, I think that you listen to the lyrical content of what Lisa was talking about. I mean, the first thing she said is, “we had a quarrel, and I let myself go.” So, I think that, on a lyrical standpoint, we’re in a space where we can relate. The music bed is different. The rhythms, our syncopations, that part is a little more advanced. However, because of the advancement of technology, you don’t get a lot of songs with the strings. You don’t get a lot of songs with a lot of live musicianship. I think that’s what we’re kind of missing, in a sense of making sure that our music is lush, and that it has legs to stand on fifteen years from now.

I think that I don’t want it to be encapsulated as this was this music was then, and it just doesn’t translate over every decade has had, at least I say, from what the 50s to the, all the way up to maybe the early 2000s have had their signatures. But they’ve always used live musicians to create that wholeness, that warmth, that translates later on in life, so that when people listen to it, years down the road, they’re still in love with it. I just want us to make sure that within the genre that we keep the musicianship alive, that we hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard, not just with them recording, but also performing. And also, how we communicate with one another and to the world.

How’d you feel that your time at Duke Ellington School for the Arts has helped you create and expand the music you have brought to the masses?

Discipline. If Ellington teach me nothing else, that was discipline from nine to four, it was all about academics, liberal arts, and a little bit of arts classes. From four to like 10pm, that was when we really got deep into preparing for shows or competitions. And so, at a very young age, you’re either cut out for it, or you’re not, because of the fact that we wanted it so bad, that we wanted to change our trajectory, of our lives and our family’s lives, that we were willing to put in the time.

Now, for some people, some of that discipline got lost in translation. And for me, I felt like I had to kind of figure out where to use the discipline, but now more than ever, as it pertains to having my own company. I use that a lot in the sense of being able to work hard, and everybody putting in the time, the energy & the effort to make sure that that translates to my team as well.

Absolutely. For those who have not heard about your company, I want you to talk to us more about it.

So, the name of my company is Art Society Music Group. It was founded in 2018 and it’s my pride & joy. The mantra is “God Engineered, Vision Driven.” I’m a very spiritual person. And for me, I’m always led by the Spirit. I’m always asking God for a vision because I’m nothing without the vision of what’s next, the vision for my family division, for anything as my motivation in life. And so, our society group music group started with just me and then it grew to two people, then three people and, so now it’s a team of ten.

Are you looking to scale even more? It’s just it’s a great feeling, and a sense of starting to develop an artistic hub for those who may feel misunderstood for those who may need assistance and how to navigate certain avenues within music. As we dive into other disciplines as well as far as visual arts and dance, any way that we can help. I just want this to be a kind of a safe haven for creatives that wants to know more about business and wants to be empowered by what they’re able to do and to be able to monetize from off of it as well.

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