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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Exclusive: The Sound Cafe Interview With South African Blues Rock Singer-Songwriter Kenny Hughes


We have the pleasure of delving into the musical journey of the South African Blues Rock Funk Singer-Songwriter, Kenny Hughes. With seven years in the industry, Kenny as both a solo artist and now accompanied by his dynamic band, The Kenny Hughes Trio, left an indelible mark on the music scene. Join us as we explore Kenny's reflections on his career to date, the inspiration behind his lyrics, and his unique perspective on the evolving landscape of Blues, Rock, and Funk music.


Q: As a South African Blues Rock Funk Singer-Songwriter, how has your seven-year journey in the industry shaped your perspective on music, people, and the places you've encountered, particularly with your band, The Kenny Hughes Trio?


Kenny: It's always fascinating meeting other musicians, particularly at festivals. We're all so similar in certain aspects, but also so diverse in our approach. It's humbling to meet fans who have been listening to your stuff for years and especially fulfilling when they tell you that your music changed their lives for the better. Playing a show to a sold-out crowd is elating, the energy intoxicating and with the band, it's also just so powerful. Reflecting on seven years of music, I just love it, I honestly do.


Q: Reflecting on the lyrics of "Blues Truth" how do they resonate with your personal experience as a musician, especially in relation to societal expectations versus the reality faced by emerging artists in the industry?


Kenny: The funny thing is that I wrote "Blues Truth" long before I was a professional musician. It still hits me how close I guessed it. It's not all sunshine and roses; often it's a grind. But it's just so fulfilling, I really can't see myself as anything else. I'm a musician.


Q: Your song "Last Stand," conveys a journey of independence and self-reliance in the music industry. Can you elaborate on the challenges you encountered, and the lessons learned that inspired this anthem of doing things your way?


Kenny: In the music industry, as with any other industry I'm sure, you get promised a lot of things, but very few deliver. It's after a few of these types of disappointments that I realized it really was up to me. No one was going to make it happen for me; I just had to keep my head down and get it done. Here I am now, no idea if I'm close or not, but as long as I stay true to who I am and my beliefs, I'll die trying.


Q: With eight released singles and notable achievements, including chart-topping success and international recognition, how do you perceive the evolving landscape of Blues and Rock music in the global scene, and what role do you see yourself playing in its continued growth?


Kenny: The Blues has been around forever, literally forming the backbone of all music in the modern day. Blues is here to stay, in one form or another. That's why I'm here, to try and add my flavour to an already bubbling brew. I just want to leave some sort of mark on the world of the Blues; if I can achieve that, then I'm already successful.


Q: "Last Stand" signifies your statement of independence. How has this mindset influenced your creative process, and how do you navigate the balance between artistic freedom and industry expectations?


Kenny: I don't conform to industry expectations. The age-old saying of selling one's soul has a different meaning to me. To me, you've already sold your soul the moment you compromised your sound and belief in an attempt to appease the masses. I'd rather just write what I write and trust that my audience will find me for this reason.


Q: Having participated in global podcasts, interviews, and TV shows, how do these experiences contribute to your artistic journey, and what insights have you gained from connecting with audiences on such diverse platforms?


Kenny: I always find fresh motivation after one of these experiences. It just reminds me that there are people listening. It's invigorating to hear the feedback on a new release, whether good or bad, as it inspires me to write the next one. Always chasing that next release.


Q: In your bio, you express a genuine love for the entire musical experience. Could you share a specific moment or performance that encapsulates why there's nothing else you'd rather do than share your music with audiences?


Kenny: I've mentioned it in previous interviews, and you can ask any muso who's performed there, but STRAB (Subterranean Rhythm and Blues) fest is just insane. It feels like a different planet, and the energy from the crowd makes you feel like you can do no wrong. STRAB is definitely a highlight for me.


Q: As a finalist in the US Banger Music Awards and with notable festival appearances, what impact do these recognitions and live events have on your motivation and determination as a musician?


Kenny: Unquantifiable. To receive such accolades or make the lineup for that festival you've been dreaming about playing, it's an incredible feeling. Release day is like my birthday, and awards are like Christmas.


Q: Being part of The Kenny Hughes Trio, how does the dynamic with Jayson Pieterse (Bass) and Marais Swanepoel (Percussion) contribute to the unique sound and energy of your performances?


Kenny: These two gents add such a great feel to the overall sound. It's also just more powerful. I love playing with a band again; there's just so much room to breathe and add little nuances when I'm not the only person carrying the song. Fronting a blues/funk/rock trio, you need a solid backbone, and that's what they are.


Q: With multiple chart-topping singles, festival appearances, and opening for renowned artists, what goals do you have for the future of Kenny Hughes and the Trio, and how do you envision your continued growth and impact in the music industry?


Kenny: I aim to just keep writing, keep playing, keep performing and keep moving forward. Hopefully, an international tour is in the not too distant future, and I definitely want to start putting shows together with some local talent as support acts. I see good things headed our way; watch this space, you wouldn't want to miss it!


We extend our sincere gratitude to Kenny Hughes for sharing his insights and experiences with us. It's evident that his dedication to authenticity and independence has shaped a remarkable musical journey. As we conclude this interview, we invite you to immerse yourself in the world of Kenny Hughes by listening to his latest album, 'Born & Raised,' available now on all streaming platforms. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the continued growth of Kenny Hughes and the Trio, as they leave an indelible mark on the vibrant landscape of Blues and Rock music. Thank you, Kenny, for the chat, and to our readers, enjoy the musical journey that awaits!

About Kenny:

Kenny Hughes, who has traversed a musical journey spanning seven years, encapsulates the essence of South African Blues Rock. As a peripatetic Singer-Songwriter, Kenny has enthralled audiences at prestigious venues, festivals, and events. His passion for music, combined with an unwavering dedication to his craft, has culminated in the release of eight singles to date. Six of these singles have been featured on the Mix FM SA Top 40, and three have secured the coveted no. 1 slot (two making it to the overall Top 50 of 2021, and another claiming a spot in the overall Top 40 of 2023).


Kenny earned the distinction of being a finalist in the US Banger Music Awards, attaining global radio premieres and features, alongside chart entries in the UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia. His involvement in podcasts and interviews spans the globe, and he has been showcased on TV shows such as Expresso Live, Die Groot Ontbyt, and Doodgewone Jo with Jo Black. Kenny has collaborated with seasoned artists and producers like Jo Ellis, Albert Frost, and Evert Snyman. Additionally, Kenny performs live with The Kenny Hughes Trio, which includes Jayson Pieterse on Bass and Marais Swanepoel on Percussion.


Kenny has graced festivals like STRAB and Park Acoustics and has had the privilege of opening for esteemed artists such as Jeremy Loops, Karen Zoid, and Die Heuwels Fantasties.

Check out our previous article on Kenny's Album release by scanning the QR Code.

The Kenny Hughes Trio:

Kenny Hughes (Guitar & Vocals)

Jayson Pieterse (Bass)

Marais Swanepoel (Percussion)


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