Photo Credit: Derrell Todd
From Grammy nominations to performing at the 2020 Oscars, Kellindo has surely lived the life a million and one aspiring musicians could well, only dream of. His reality has already been filled with numerous accolades but this talented guitarist ain’t done yet. After spending a good amount of time working alongside Janelle Monae, he knew it was time to walk down his own path. With his debut album, ‘Games,’ out February 28, 2020 – this is just the beginning and we can’t wait to see where life takes Kellindo next!
Kendra: When it came time to join the choir, was that something you initially pushed for as a kid?
Kellindo: Not at all. My friend’s mom told my mom that her son joined the Metropolitan Opera children’s choir and my mom encouraged me to audition. I’m so glad that I did. It was so exciting performing on that legendary stage. It became my first professional job and lasted for three years.
Kendra: When did you realize you had not only a love for singing but performing?
Kellindo: When I was a kid I used to perform with my cousins for our grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles every summer at my grandmother’s house. We had so much fun performing in front of the family we would practice like it was a real concert.
Kendra: What lessons with your time on the road with your uncle did you then take with you as you moved on to work with Janelle Monae?
Kellindo: Never to quit when the going gets tough. To lose the ego. There’s really no room or reason to have an ego. To inspire and encourage everyone involved to feel happy and appreciated. Especially the boss.
Kendra: Like yourself, many greats started out working alongside and/or in the studio with others like Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, and John Legend. Each of them having to do what you did and finally take a chance on doing their own thing. Which I can’t imagine is easy. When did you decide you wanted to step center stage and make a name for yourself as a solo artist?
Kellindo: I knew I wanted to become a solo artist before working with Ms. Monáe. However, after seeing and hearing her talent, her ability, I decided to put my solo career on hold and focus on her career. Now that I am pursuing my solo career I have even more respect and admiration for Janelle Monáe and her ability to put on an outstanding performance every night.
She knows how to command an audience. I really love playing live. I add a little improvisation in the music that I play and in some of the things that I say. I tend to make people laugh during my show which is a surprise for most of the concert-goers but I am pretty funny. I think laughter is very important in life. Yes, there is room for laughter in rock and roll.
Kendra: How much time did you spend writing and recording ‘Games’ and were you nervous about creating your own album?
Kellindo: ‘Games’ is a collection of works that started during the time that we were writing and recording music for ‘The Electric Lady’ album by Janelle Monáe. But most of the songs were written in 2019.
It’s exciting and it feels like it’s about time that I release my first solo album so I’m not nervous about it. I am more relieved to have it completed. And I am so excited for the world to hear it.
Kendra: Based on your latest single, “Sugar,” if you had to compare ‘Games’ to a sugary treat, which would it be and why?
Kellindo: I would have to say Skittles because of the variety of colors that this album has. There are songs that are uplifting, sad, songs that express anger, jealousy and express the desire for love and peace. Overall I want to spread happiness throughout the world with my music. I’m doing that I believe it’s important that the people know my journey, struggles, and realizations.
Kendra: You’ve done your fair share of touring thus far, but when can fans expect to see you out and about touring with ‘Games?’
Kellindo: We’re planning for a very exciting tour in the fall of 2020, so stay tuned!