My Music DNA: James Kennedy

South Wales musician and founder member of Kyshera,  James Kennedy has both a new book, Noise Damage and a debut solo album entitled Make Anger Great Again set for release during October 2020.

James hearing was impaired due to a childhood surgery, he later became an ambassador for several hearing charities, as well as speaking on panels and writing articles on a wide range of issues including mental health, the music industry and politics. He has toured much of the world, featured in many mainstream music publications and owns the music company Konic Records.

His first book, Noise Damage is the story of a half-deaf kid from a tiny, remote village in South Wales who was hailed as a genius by the UK’s biggest radio station and headhunted by major record labels, only for the music industry to collapse. It crashed hard, taking with it an entire generation of talented artists who would never get their shot at fame and fortune.

Part memoir, part exposé of the music world’s murky underbelly, Noise Damage shows that the best lessons are often to be learned from good losers. It really is all about the journey and a celebration of the life-changing magic of music.

James Kennedy chats to Andy Howells about the music that has inspired him.

What was the first song that made an impact on you?

Come on Eileen – I used to LOVE that song when I was young, and I played it over and over…and over. My parents have Vietnam flashbacks whenever they hear it.

What was the first single you bought?

I’ve never bought a single in my life. I’ve always been an album guy. Even when I was a kid, I used to record every Michael Jackson single from the Radio on to cassette and compile my own album out of it.

What was the first album you owned?

I think it was Led Zeppelin 2 – on cassette! Bought for me as a gift when I was in hospital as a kid. Or maybe it was Hendrix? Either way, it rocked and it was the best education a ten year old could get.

What’s your constant go to track?

At the moment, it’s ‘Born Young & Free’ by Marmozets. I’ve heard the song a thousand times, but it still fires up my day.

What’s your constant go to album?

Argh, choosing one is so hard! If I really had to pick just one, I’d say Jeff Buckley ‘Grace’. An absolute timeless masterpiece.

Who’s your latest music discovery?

Reignwolf. I absolutely love his album ‘Hear Me Out’. Check it out!

What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?

Hmmmm tricky. I guess I’d pick the song ‘Terrorists’ from the Kyshera album ‘Made in China’. Because if you look at my back catalogue there’s hard rock, electronic music, acoustic, prog, experimental, noise, metal & much political ranting – and that song has all those elements in one sexy schizophrenic sandwich.

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