Kenny Lattimore Returns With Love
Kenny Lattimore, a classically trained vocalist, caresses a note and lyric while having the ability to belt out his heart when the melody calls for it. His legacy is one of love songs laced with a sensuality that comforts women while enlightening men.
An example lies in Kenny’s 1996 hit single “For You,” which propelled the charismatic entertainer’s repertoire and remains in high demand 19 years later.
Since the release of his 2008 album, Timeless, one in which he “needed to hear myself sing,” life has been a journey filled with ups, downs, and most importantly, time dedicated to focus on being a dad. The award-winning singer was in a good place in his personal life, but Lattimore’s creative core and artistry needed to be fed.
“Feeding me creatively happens in stages,” he expressed during a visit with JET. “It’s not really one-dimensional. Wherever I am at the moment, I can live in that space, if I’m truly given that space to be creative.”
Now, seven years later with a chart climbing single, “Love Me Back,” Anatomy Of A Love Song has emerged. Producing 14 tracks of authentic love-threaded melodies that intertwine the foundation of Kenny’s sultry tempo’s with upbeat, feel-good backdrops. In essence, he’s not missing a beat while “singing to the hearts of women and the minds of men, encouraging them in love.”
See our conversation below:
JET: Welcome! To kick things off, let’s go back to the beginning of your relationship with music, melody and lyricism. What is your earliest memory?
Kenny Lattimore: My earliest memory was when I was 6, sitting on my bed listening to Stevie Wonder and somehow music hit me really differently. Earlier than that, my mother used to sing “Precious Lord” to me. She’d grab my face and I’ll be [imitates crying] and I felt the power of music and I was like, “What is it, that this is doing and making me feel emotional?” I began to recognize the power of music at that point and that it had some kind of connection with me.
JET:Before returning to the forefront of music, you questioned the importance of your presence on the music scene. Why was that? Were these thoughts created by you or outside influences?
Kenny Lattimore: Absolutely. It was a combination. I went through a rough period when I was signed to Columbia and felt that my career was going in the right direction, then they let me go. Then Clive Davis took me so I was like “Whoa. This is great.” Then Clive got let go. [Following that was a continued spiral of executive changes]. So it felt like I was proving myself over and over again and none of what I had done previously on Columbia had meant anything.  had no value at the time. So during that time period, it started making me feel like well, I don’t write songs like Chris Brown, Usher and I don’t sing quite like them so if that’s what the labels want then it’s over – maybe I’ve done what I was supposed to do. I had a wonderful career – done so many things. So I was like, “Hey I got stories I can tell my grand kids.”
JET: Wow. That’s understandable, but the good news is that you’re back and the people are happy! Anatomy Of A Love Song. Talk about the title and the vision going into this project.
Kenny Lattimore: When I look at Anatomy of a Love Song, the title really came from after the whole process was over, looking at each step of what I had gone through. I wanted the title to be something like “How do you make a love song?” because that’s all I’ve done all these years. I wasn’t even thinking about this album, I was thinking about the legacy of music that I had done for years. I had to question and ask God and I felt like He spoke to my heart and said, it’s always been about singing to the hearts of women and the minds of men and encouraging them in love through song. What is the making of that? I just wanted to connect and make sure if I was going to have a conversation, that what I’m saying to “you” is truly translating and I’m not just being self-indulgent. I didn’t want to title it “The Making Of” so a friend suggested “anatomy.” The heart of it would be the lyric, all of the veins, muscles and all the things that make it become a breathing, living thing is the instrumentation, the voices and everyone’s music contribution is what makes it live. But the heart is definitely the lyric.
JET: With the core of your music and message being lessons in love and relationships, speaking to the mind of men, what would you offer to help them understand the sentiment of love and how to identify its truth and essence? And to flip it, what would you offer women on that same topic?
Kenny Lattimore: I would offer vulnerability. My life, my story to say this is what I learned and authenticity. I look at every part of my relationships as successes – whether good or bad – because they’re part of my process. I just try to use my own progression – for both. Women look at the thought of something. Men look at the big picture. I tell the ladies – recognize the man that’s trying to do the right thing. The authenticity and vulnerability of a man, it’s hard to break through because we’ve been taught to cover emotions, it’s part of our strength. I have to teach my son how to communicate his emotions – it’s not weak. It’s not feminine to communicate your emotions. It is just …communication.
JET: So True! We’re in an era where social media is now a key part of branding, packaging and messaging. This time around, did you experience any difficulties translating your brand in the digital space? Is it exciting for you?
Kenny Lattimore: At first I just didn’t get on board right away but what we started doing, because I do have a great team behind me that helps me to get positive quotes up of things that are really reflective of what my brand is. I think now it’s about making the music connect with all of that because just like I’m talking about love and relationships, I think over the years people have heard my voice, but they haven’t heard my heart through the music. So now I have to marry that. The great part and the blessing that I have had in my career and legacy is not just one song…but I’ll mention this song,”For You” because the lyric is the embodiment of the brand. That song continually gives the same message in the depth that I needed it to – to sustain the brand. So now [with] Anatomy of a Love Song, it begins to come back and accompany all of the other feelings and emotions that For You evokes and then it comes out in the show. I love being on stage! That’s given me the most energy, performing live again. There’s nothing like it!