Being told that his voice sounds like Michael Jackson is a complement that Kenny Iko doesn’t take lightly. The singer talks with HL EXCLUSIVELY about his new song and more.
“I know I’m heavily influenced by him, so sometimes it comes out,” Kenny Iko says about Michael Jackson when speaking EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife. The young R&B singer has been compared to the late King Of Pop, and it’s easy to see why on his latest song, “Everything.” With silky-smooth tenor tones that float like clouds at sunset, Kenny delivers one seductive line after another. But, don’t be mistaken: the 30-year-old Washington, D.C. native it no pretender to the King of Pop’s throne. He’s a king forging his own crown — an artist establishing his own voice – through his catchy R&B grooves and high-energy performances.
Kenny first honed his chops as part of the group 4EY. Now, as a solo artist, he’s been forging his own path, performing alongside artists as City Girls, Tamar Braxton, Anthony Hamilton, and Keke Palmer. Kenny released his WAR of Love album in 2019 and followed it up with two singles – “Big Mad” and “Everything” in 2020. The latter is, as he tells HollywoodLife, his “jewel, my pride and joy right now.” While speaking with HL, Kenny shared who came up with the “dope idea” for the music video, which member of the Jackson family he would like to reach out to him, and why he thinks it’s “no time to be quiet” when it comes to politics, specifically the upcoming presidential election.
HollywoodLife: Tell me about your latest single “Everything,” and what’s the message behind the song?
Kenny Iko: “Everything” is my jewel, my pride, and joy right now. I released it a couple weeks ago. It’s saying to that person that, ‘I love you, I want you, I want to show you how much I love you.’ And the only way to show someone that you love them is to give them your everything. Give them your all, your time, your love, your care.
How did you shoot the music video?
Shout out to my videographer Clairvoyance, he had the dope idea to keep it super simple because it was during quarantine time, so we didn’t want to put too many people on set. We kept it under six [people], so we could get it done, and it came out really great. I think the song is so straight to the point, I wanted the video to be that way, too.
What was it like filming during quarantine? What did that process look like for cast & crew?
We had to wear our mask unless we were shooting, and they checked our temperatures with the thermometers on our heads. And we kept it super, super quick, and super clean. The week before, we couldn’t go out to be on the super safe side of things. We made sure it wasn’t a long shoot, and we all got tested before filming.
What does it feel like having your voice being compared to Michael Jackson?
I know I’m heavily influenced by him, so sometimes it comes out. It’s not that I’m trying to be like him, but he’s the [greatest] legend of all time, so yeah, I would just say I’m influenced by him.
Have any of the Jacksons every responded to the comparison?
No, I wish, I wish Janet Jackson would hit me up (laughs).
You’ve worked alongside so many talented artists. What was it like working with Justine Skye?
She’s a beautiful person outside and inside, and she’s so sweet. Since she was little, and she’s more advanced than us, and she really took out the time to talk, hang out and like give us little gems here and there. It was just cool. She was just like, one of the friends, one of the homies.
What do you think about the importance of artists and influencers like yourself using social media as a platform to spread awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement and everything going on in our nation and the world right now?
As an influencer, this is no time to be quiet. It is definitely not the time to act like you don’t see what’s going on. Of course, just continue to protest and do what you do, but also be sure that any person that follows you is aware, and they see what side you are on, and you push other people to use their voices to be heard. Because, honestly, we wouldn’t be where we are without the people that follow us. So we owe them the courage to speak up on their behalf and speak up on our behalf, but also be the voice for them since they probably can’t be heard.
Why is it so important to vote?
Voting is super important. It’s your way to be heard. If you’re African American, our great grandparents fought for that right, so let’s not take it lightly, and let’s not play around with it like it doesn’t mean anything because every vote counts. And if you have a problem with something, the best way to make a change is to vote.
Kenny Iko’s “Everything” is out now.