Kendal Rhone gives Gaye Magazine™ an exclusive look on his hit song and video “Latex”, inspirations, music processes and his plans for the future.
Kendal describes himself as a unique artist with an androgynous touch. The 24-year-old singer shares that his music is “really groovy and funky”, citing the inspirations and influences from his childhood in Uniontown, Alabama as the groundwork for his sound now.
“My earliest inspiration comes from my first CD - Beyoncé. I made AB honor roll so my mom took me to Walmart, and she let me pick my own CD. I was like, ‘wow this is cool, I like the color’. It was Beyoncé's “Dangerously in Love” album. From there I listened to Tina Turner, Prince, Michael Jackson and Usher."
He adds, “I was in the marching band so my funk and groove also came from that. I feel all of that made me into the person I am today. My lyrics, I feel like they reflect my life. I also like to manifest love through my music as well.”
Kendal also finds inspiration from artists today such as Lil Nas X and Chloe x Halle, in both their music and how they inspire him in his everyday life.
“I look up to artists like Lil Nas X. I praise him for being himself. He inspired me to be myself more. Chloe and Halle, as musicians, I respect them so much, you can tell they work hard.”
Kendal's respect for hard work is apparent, as he is very open about still taking vocal lessons as an artist. While in college at Alabama State University he danced, which was a self-described “crutch” for him, as he wasn’t too confident in his voice. In his junior year, he offhandedly decided to try singing again, which is when he wrote his song “Fall in Love”, and his journey blossomed from there.
“I became insecure of my voice and of my talent. I loved dance but I feel like dance was a crutch for me. Inside I felt like I was a better dancer than a singer, but I didn’t feel like I put my all into dance. I felt like it was time for me to do something else and singing was it, so I started taking vocal classes.”
“Even though I know I can sing I just wanna be really, really, really good at it because I respect the art, and I respect the technique...that’s why I really go hard.”
Kendal's hard work reveals itself in the music video for his song, “Latex”. Despite him expressing his insecurities, the video displays Kendal showing off his vocals as well as his dancing.
“I haven’t always been this comfortable. It took me a while to just be myself and not be afraid to come out. It took me going off to college and seeing different lifestyles. I come from a small town, so a lot of stuff that I’m doing now I feel like if I would've done it when I was younger I would have been shunned. I went to school for a dance so they kind of exposed me to a lot of stuff, I feel like that played a big role.”
While he had the lyrics for “Latex” down, crafting the whole song has been a year in the making.
“I started off with the lyrics and then I heard this beat it...the song as it is now is not the original beat...it was a rap beat, another producer had made it. I told him, ‘I really like this beat’ and it took him a year before he sent me the beat because he wanted to use it on his project. I kept asking, ‘are you gonna give it to me, are you gonna use it?’, and after awhile he was like ’fine, you can have it." After that, I took it to a musician and he made it an R&B beat. So yeah, Latex was a crazy process of me begging for a beat, but I eventually got it and the rest was history."
"Latex” talks about being safe in sex, which is important to Rhone, as he finds that people of today, especially LGBTQ+ people, are deep into hook up culture. Kendal hopes that the message from his single will encourage a more informed and safer experience.
“I’m a part of the LGBT community and I know how HIV, AIDS and even STD’s affect our community. I know we’re young and sometimes we’re not committed to just one person you know, we have options, so I want people my age to know to wrap it up and be safe about it. Just don’t go out there and just do anything, ’because it’s real'. So, that was my biggest message I wanted to convey because I know like we do it, a lot of people are afraid to talk about it. Like, one-night stands and stuff, I know everybody’s not gonna do it, but if you are gonna do it, be safe about it.”
His latest song, "I Wunna Know", gives his fans the funky and groovy sound they fell in love with upon his inception. While his current discography is very much focused on the importance of love, he tells us that his music right now is more of a foundation for his future sound.
“I don't want to give too much away because I want to keep it a surprise. But, I want to step away from the topic of love and romance, and more about self-love. The music I've been dropping is more of a foundation of what is really about to come. I'm about to turn it up a little bit! I do like rock. I want to tap into rock, but I wanna make it R&B and soulful. I’m kind of trying to make my own genre, but I know it’s gonna take time and inspiration and just more work in the studio. I wouldn't mind doing a country song.”
While Kendal plans to keep specifics a surprise for his listeners, he shared more on his intentions of discussing self love in his future songs.
“I plan to talk more about mental health and things that I go through…I want people to know, even though I may seem secure, sometimes I have my down days. I don’t want people to feel like they have to have it together all the time. I want people to know it’s OK to express how you are. It’s OK to wear your feelings on your sleeves, but at the same time you can create a balance.”
When asked what he'd like to manifest for his career within the next 5-10 years, he replied enthusiastically, “I want to be a successful independent artist!"
"I also want to give back to my community through the arts because where I’m from the arts is not really big. We don’t have like that much funding. I see myself with a bunch of different business ventures and a bunch of accolades, but that's not my main priority. I just want to be really successful in my career as a musician and a businessman. I love fashion and I eventually want to get into real estate!”