Internationally-acclaimed singer-songwriter KJ Denhert was recently tasked with telling her life story in a series of 10 slides. The first image she chose was that of a record player. “I spent hours in front of the record player dancing to the same song over and over. I must have been about 4 – music really held me together growing up. ”
KJ’s career spans 40 years, 10 albums, with legions of devoted fans worldwide. She grew up in a time of fiery cultural upheaval and has experienced profound social growth in the world as she sees it. Her albums are personal and this, her 11th album, is her first in five years. “The songs on this album are a look at who and what made me who I am today. It is the right time for these particular stories for me.”
KJ is a kinetic soul unbound by identity directives. With her acoustic guitar, she draws from a broad palette of urban musical heritage, and jazz and folk traditions. KJ is a gifted guitarist who can effortlessly inhabit and meld many musical worlds with reverence and authority. Her soulful and smoky vocal stylings are earthy and elegant. Her lyrics embody the romance and poetry of the American Songbook; her truths are written with empirical detail. As the storyteller who has lived these tales, KJ liberates her listeners with understatement.
Her formative influences include singer songwriters like, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. Born the same year as Michael Jackson and Prince she embraced them and loves Stevie Wonder and Chaka Kahn. everything from the classic folk of Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn to the jazz rock fusion of Steely Dan and of course the Beatles who she re-invents on several of her last albums.
She has seen the pyramids in Egypt; and the Indian Ocean, where she entertained a 4,000+ audience of troops for the USO. Her fans have flown her around the world like the trip to play a surprise birthday party in Sweden last June. She has a collection of high adventure tales, like being lowered from helicopters to perform at sea and visiting the active border between North and South Korea. This album could be seen as a prequel to those early years on the road.
KJ has garnered critical acclaim, earning seven Independent Music Awards, as a winning finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Song Contest, the Mountain Stage New Song Contest and as a grand prize finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. In addition to these accolades, she’s maintained a 20 + year residency at Manhattan’s storied 55 Bar and enjoyed notable artist residencies in Italy and on the island of St. Barthélemy.