Legendary jazz keyboardist and producer George Duke once described vocalist Kevin Whalum as "butter," and that's about the best depiction I've heard. Whether covering soul, jazz, scat or gospel, Whalum's smooth, sweet voice (think of Will Downing as a tenor) makes him one of the most exciting new artists. The younger brother of noted jazz saxman Kirk Whalum, Kevin grew up in Memphis in the shadow of Olivet Baptist Church, where his father, the Rev. Kenneth T. Whalum, served as pastor. His journey ultimately led him to create Timetable, his independently released debut album.
Kevin Whalum was born and raised in Memphis, TN. He was reared in the church his father pastored named, Olivet Baptist Church. It was there where his love of music was nurtured, as the musicians and singers there were the very best the city had to offer. “Our dad was always fine with us listening to different genres and styles of music.” Kevin says. “At home, my brothers and I had everything from Edgar Winter to Cannonball Adderley. We had everything from Sly & the Family Stone to Al Jarreau.” Kevin now has three solo albums under his belt: the self-produced solo debut, Timetable (2002); the George Duke-produced, One Life To Love (2008); and the new self-produced, I Live For You (2016). Although Kevin eschews any effort to force him into a category or genre’, he freely admits to defining himself as “primarily a jazz vocalist who just happens to be a Christian”. He exhorts, “I hope I never agree to be just one thing. A true artist never wants that. I have been-and will remain-free to explore the musical universe. There’s too much out here to stay locked into one soundscape forever. Music is big, but Jesus is infinitely bigger. I want to touch his face with everything he puts in my heart to do. I hope people find my new record, I Live For You, refreshing, and dare I say it, groundbreaking.”