JAZZ CROONER EXTRAORDINAIRE!
Born in New London, Connecticut, USA, in 1961, jazz and cabaret crooner Ken Slavin grew up a military brat, attending 10 schools in seven states by the time he was 17. After graduating from high school in Alaska, he settled in his father's hometown of San Antonio, Texas, where he enrolled at St. Mary's University, one of the most respected liberal arts institutions in the Southwest, graduating with honors in 1983.
Despite being naturally drawn to the stage and deeply in love with all kinds of music, Ken put his show business aspirations on hold for several years while he pursued a successful journalism and public relations career. He finally listened to his heart and began singing professionally in 1990 at the relatively late age of 29.
Although his smooth and intimate vocal style is often favorably compared to such legendary pop singers as Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro and Tony Bennett or noted jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman, he has steadfastly followed his own musical path and has never tried to emulate anyone. He has no formal vocal training — just an exceptional ear, a God-given voice and an innate sense of how to communicate to audiences through song.
"I choose to work in the jazz and cabaret genres because they offer me the most freedom," he says.
Ken came of age in the 1970s and '80s - during the height of Disco and New Wave music - but always had a secret love affair with the music of the 1930s and '40s: the timeless jazz and pop standards of the Great American Songbook. "I was born in the wrong era," he has often commented.
He was influenced by many classic jazz and pop singers — all of whom were famous before he was born. His "music school" was his bedroom (and sometimes the shower!), where he sang along with records by Sarah Vaughan, Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Patsy Cline, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Matt Monro, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Doris Day, Eydie Gorme, Bobby Darin, Jo Stafford and his longtime favorite, '50s and '60s pop superstar Connie Francis.
"People think I'm a little nutty because of how much I love Connie, especially my jazz friends," he says. "But she is an incredibly gifted and talented artist with a vast repertoire, an unforgettable stage presence and a phenomenal voice. She could sing multiple styles, including jazz. And she recorded in a total of 15 languages! If that isn't true accomplishment, I don't know what is! To this day she is one of the top 10 best-selling female artists of all time. I believe she is sadly underrated by the music industry elite." If you ever visit his home, he will gladly show you his collection of Connie Francis LPs and CDs — more than 100 in all - as well as dozens of memorabilia items. (In 2011 and 2012 he was invited to host four editions of "A Visit With Connie Francis" on Baltimore Net Radio and realized a lifelong dream of speaking with his favorite female singer of the golden age of American pop music. The programs he produced focused on her jazz/swing and foreign language contributions to the recording industry.)