Rising artist Kvn Tajzea talks ’90s R&B and new album, ‘The First Return’

Kvn Tajzea
Photo: Ron Love

Kvn Tajzea (pronounced Keh-vun Tah-Jhay) might be one of the best R&B vocalists you’ve never heard … until now.

The 30-something crooner is set to drop his debut album, The First Return, and recently sat down with rolling out to discuss his musical background, what fans can expect from the album, and the current state of R&B music

How did ’90s R&B shape the artist that you are today?
There are so many brilliant artists that inspire me that I could go on forever but for brevity’s sake I’ll say the ’90s period of R&B in general really encapsulates a great deal of what I love about music. My music has been described as “Stevie Wonder meets Keith Sweat” and I think that’s pretty spot-on. Listening to groups like Jodeci and Blackstreet as well as solo artists like Babyface, Mary J. Blige, Keith Sweat, and Faith Evans (who recently shared my cover of her hit “Soon As I Get Home” on her social media sites) really left a mark on me creatively.

Who were some of your other influences outside of ’90s R&B?
Influences beyond that era include, of course, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, The Temptations, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. I also love any music with great lyricism whether it be country, rock or even folk music. The Swell Season is one of my absolute favorite acts.

Talk about the feeling of performing your material live for audiences and getting that reaction from them? What’s that like for you?
Performing is one of the best feelings in the world. Being able to share your unique creative expression of the world in which we all live is both exhilarating and an honor. Seeing people react and feel the same feelings that you felt while you were writing and recording certain songs is breathtaking.

Who’s one of your favorite performers?
Luther Vandross is one of my favorite performers. My all-time favorite performance is Luther singing “A House is Not a Home” at the 1988 NAACP Awards. It was really special to me as a child and even now, it still blows me away when I watch it. It was so nuanced and perfect. The ladies were swooning! I kept telling myself “that’s gonna be me someday.” There wasn’t a single person in that audience who wasn’t captivated.

Do you think a lot of contemporary R&B artists have strayed too far from the roots of the music? Perhaps influenced too much by hip-hop? 
Indeed. The quest for never-ending relevancy among the current music landscape has lent itself to true R&B being almost completely swallowed whole by the hip-hop genre. I love hip-hop, with all my heart but when I was younger, the beauty of the pairing of R&B with hip-hop music was in the stark differences between the two. That beautiful juxtaposition between the two genres is what has gone missing for the most part.

Tell us about your new album, The First Return, and what fans can expect to hear on it.
This is my debut album and it features the dope music production of my friend and brother Ron Love of MonaRK Productions. I wrote all of the lyrics and arrangements on the album except for one song. My goal was to present one of the best written R&B albums period. There are no features and I’m singing everything from backgrounds to lead. I titled the album The First Return to signify the fact that this is my first album and it marks a return to real R&B music.

What’s next for Kvn Tajzea?
The first thing is getting ready for this album release. Early next year I’ll be touring in the states as well as overseas in support of the album. In addition to my solo music career I’m an actor, screenwriter and co-own MonaRK Productions with Ron Love. I have some acting and writing commitments for 2016 and MonaRK has some upcoming film projects that we will be working on the music scores for.

The First Return drops on Nov. 27 and will be available via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and all other major digital retailers. The album will also be available www.kvntajzea.com.

Connect with Tajzea via the following soclal media platforms:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kvntajzea and Instagram / Twitter: @kvntajzea

TJ Armour
TJ Armour

"I'm not a biter, I'm a writer for myself and others."





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