kevin   Hello and welcome to One on One in 10, where we pick the brains of some of the most talented Indie artists in the Tri state area with 10 questions. It’s your girl Mai Mazzi reporting live on the scene, bringing you the real with todays’ movers and shakers and allowing you to meet them, one on one. May has introduced us to some pretty nice days. So far, they have me wanting and not wanting the summer to come; Mother Nature is very indecisive and I’m hoping that unbearable heat waves don’t have us running for cover! For our May one on one interview, I have the pleasure of chopping it up with the very talented opera singer Mr. Kevin Maynor, repping Newark, NJ. Mazzi: Thank you so much for taking the time out to sit and speak with me. KMaynor: Thank you for having me! Mazzi: So for our first question, what made you first realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music? KMaynor: It was an experience I had in Europe that made me sort of realize that I had the ability to have a career in music of this nature. We were performing in a semiprofessional choral competition in Markal France and I had sung a solo as an addendum to a portion of the program. I left the theater and changed my attire to blue jeans and a white t-shirt and came back to the theater. I sat in the back. The people started applauding in unison. The usher came up to me said that it would be impolite (of me) to not offer a selection for the audience and I was like, “Right here in the middle of the whole competition?” It was a beautiful theater and a very formal situation and I am in my blue jeans and white t-shirt (laughing). So I stood up and I sang “Were You There” and the crowd went crazy; they picked me up and took me to the front of the theater and there I sang “Deep River” and then the French National television came after me and rushed me right off to the mayors’ house. The next thing I knew I was on French National TV singing; it just didn’t make any sense what so ever. Everywhere that I went in France they just went crazy like this, even when I went to Spain and London the reaction was the same way and that’s when I figured that I must have some ability. When I came back (to the states) I began working on my Masters at North Western University and I was very serious then. Mazzi: Before you became a professional in the Opera arena, what were you doing? KMaynor: Before that I sang in the church choir when I was a small child. There was a fellow by the name of Dave Herring who heard me sing and told me that I was going to go to the choir rehearsal at church because I had a voice; I didn’t think much of it but I did go to choir rehearsal. The choir director made a fuss over me so I stayed (and sang in the choir). They gave me solos and I enjoyed it. But I was a big basketball player. I was very good in basketball; I wasn’t exactly sure that I was going to be an Opera singer at the time. I was singing because I liked to sing. I later joined a group after the choir, sort of like the Temptations. When I got to college I formed another group. Not until the end of my college years did I have that experience in Europe, which hooked me line and sinker! Mazzi: How would you describe your music for the public audience if they have never seen or heard you before? KMaynor: I would tell them that the way that I sing is sort of an exaggerated full nation I would say; I sing so that I do not have to use a microphone so it is imperative that I take a nice, great, big, deep breath and I open my mouth wide, or just appropriately. When I take this big deep breath I sort of support the sound and then I sing. I connect one sound to the other and I make the biggest, loudest, fullest sound I can make without hurting myself. That sound usually takes on the sound of my body; in other words my entire body resonates that sound that I make. If you are someone new to this whole thing, I novice if you will, my sound would be relative to an Opera singer, a sound that you might have heard in the south, or the Preacher when he sang. The only difference is that it is a little bit more of a refined, rounded out, and I dwell on the vowels (laughing smoothly). Mazzi: If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit? KMaynor: Well see it’s not really my music, but it is my voice. If I had to categorize my voice I would say that I sing like an Opera singer, but when I sing Spirituals, or call and shout and holler songs, they are the sound of the Black church in the South. Mazzi: How does your style differ from other artists in the same genre? KMaynor: I am a low base; there are others that sing like me that are sopranos, tenors, etc. But not only am I a low base, I have a very distinct sound and when you free the voice it takes on the sound of your body. You have your own sound that rings freely based on the makeup of your own body. My sound has my stamp on it; if I free the voice it will not sound like any other voice. Mazzi: Are you familiar with the term “starving artist”? KMaynor: Yes. Mazzi: How do you cope with major obstacles as they relate to the term? KMaynor: If a real artist is not really concerned about the competition or the financial gain in making the art that they make, they better not be because there are going to be good times and bad times, and times in between. It’s important that you understand that your art is most important. If you really are an artist, for example for me, being able to be flexible with your (singing) range and the ability to color my voice and to move people in different languages awards me great satisfaction. If you do it well, people will pay you for it. But sometimes they don’t pay you and they still want you to do it. No matter whom your audience is or whether you are getting paid or not should affect your performance, you give it your all no less. Mazzi: What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical career? KMaynor: My biggest break was going to the Soviet Union. That experience changed me. The attitudes towards me were reasonably changed. And that definitely changed me. Mazzi: What image do you think your music conveys and why did you choose this type of image for your music? KMaynor: I think that my voice conveys a sense of strength, power, and pride; a majesty, control, discipline. These characteristics attracted me to my style of singing. It requires great discipline and there is enormous beauty in it. The way that I sing and the technique that I have practiced have allowed me to sing in any genre of music. Mazzi: Art and music has an impact on both the young and the old; sometimes the older generation loses respect for the music we listen to today because they cannot comprehend the value of it. What advice can you give to the youth of today looking to enter the industry in regards to being able to stay relevant for every generation and for any audience? KMaynor: Your product is what is important; it’s what you are offering. I have a saying that some go early and some go late but they all go that really want to (laughing). I think that it is important that when you are working musically that your product is right. The art has to be right; you are not a fake you are the real deal and you are working for excellence. You want to be sure that the work that you are doing is moving people. What is the point of the art if you are not going to move the people? It is imperative that you are true to that; you cannot be just about the show or about the money. What people really have to have is to feel inspired. Mazzi: What are your immediate music career goals (1 to 3 years)? KMaynor: There are some recording projects that I want to do. There is this Russian piece called “The Michelangelo Leader” that I want to record. Then I want to do a complete anthology of the ten most important African American Operatic productions and I want to record them. I want to continue in the largest way to promote the work of Black composers and my dream is that African Americans will give us more money than they have ever given us to do this. I want our Black investment bankers and Black financial leaders to be right at the front of the giving. We do not separate ourselves, but I want to motivate new individuals to be involved. Mazzi: Do you have other interests or talents that you would like to share with us? How do you like to enjoy your relaxation time away from the music? KMaynor: I love going to the beach. I love eating, I love lamb! I like homemade ice cream and I like making homemade pancakes. And I am a country guy too. I enjoy my country places that I have. I like chopping wood, and cleaning out the streams and the creeks. I love the outdoors. I love children; I have two. I am also very involved in the church. And to you, the readers thank you for tuning in. Make sure you stay tuned for more NMNJ One on One in 10!   Fever_2_flame color Twitter: @MaiMazzi   Facebook: Mai Mazerati   Email:

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