Kevin Reeves’s musical journey has been an amalgamation of many styles, each day bringing new forms of artistic expression. As the son of a young member of the U.S. Coast Guard, his family moved numerous times allowing Kevin to experience different cultural communities. From the down-home country music of Alabama, to the many forms of Hip hop originating in California, Kevin assimilated these musical styles and incorporated them into his arsenal of musical ideas.
Born on December 22, 1977 in Frankfort Michigan he was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy, a condition, which caused him to be totally blind. This visual impairment did not negatively affect his young life. Kevin’s early childhood was met with total inclusion into the sighted world around him and daily filled with the music of Billy Joel, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Grover Washington Jr. and the Electric Light Orchestra.
At age 3, he moved to Mobile, Alabama where he heard the music of Charlie Daniels, Lynard Skynard and Alabama. Combined with the rock of 38 Special, Billy Joel and others, Kevin began to understand and differentiate the many musical styles that existed, adding each one to his lexicon.
Elementary school brought Kevin back to northern Michigan where he not only furthered his exploration of the idioms of rock music, but also began to gain an interest in the sound of electronic instruments such as synthesizers, keyboards and drum machines. In 1985, at age eight, he received a small toy keyboard that propelled his interest to new heights. Several times, he tried to take up piano as an academic instrument but to no avail. He was too free spirited to exert the discipline needed for learning written pieces. Instead, he spent his time working with his keyboard and the family’s upright piano exploring his musical world for himself.
At this time, he began to take a deep interest in the art rock of Yes, Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, Rush, post "Rubber Soul" Beatles and Electric Light Orchestra. While his sighted counterparts were sneaking flashlights into their rooms in order to read at night, Kevin was sneaking headphones or putting speakers under his pillow in order to hear the sounds of local rock radio station WKLT. "There was this really cool show on Sunday nights called The Sunday Night Sides at 8," Kevin remembers. "Dave Duran would play a side from 8 albums." "I especially remember when he played side 3 of "The Wall." Man that was something I had never heard before as an 8 year-old kid."
1989 found Kevin in Northern California, near San Francisco, where he was introduced to the black culture and the music it held dear. He began to experience the hip-hop of Public Enemy, the R&B of Boys to Men and the vocal jazz of Take 6. This was also supplemented by the hard rock culture of Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Van Halen and Nirvana.
Toward the end of his Junior High career, he began to take an interest in choral music and began his classical vocal training that he continued off and on until the completion of his college career. He also once again attempted to take piano lessons, coming under the tutelage of jazzer Dean Solan, who brought to Kevin’s musical journey the influences of jazz and blues. Kevin soon learned the basic theoretical concepts behind these styles, later building on them as his musical ability increased.
In the summer of 1993, Kevin once again returned to Northern Michigan, where he began his High School career at Traverse City Central High. There, he involved himself in the choral program, working under the direction of Russ Larimer. During this time, Reeves began to study audio production, sound re-enforcement, and electronic music composition. Larimer allowed him to use these skills in several capacities during his high school career. Reeves also heavily involved himself in the local Christian music scene, playing with several local bands and performing at several local churches.
Graduation ushered in a 2-year season of uncertainty for Kevin. He knew that he wanted to be a performing musician, as well as working within the recording field. With no focus and no direction Kevin entered Northwestern Michigan College in the fall of 1997. Following a disastrous semester, which included suffering the loss of two grandparents in a matter of a month, Kevin returned home to pursue his musical goals. He thought that a fresh clean start would help him make something happen. But without direction, he was unable to create any opportunities for himself, except for a few church gigs, club dates, and a couple of wedding receptions as a DJ. He even tried his hand at playing keyboards in a blues band, but this did not bring him any sense of happiness or direction. In result, he began to make preparations to attend Spring Arbor College, a small Christian Liberal arts college near Jackson Michigan. This decision, made in February of 1999, would positively effect the direction of his musical career forever.
With a new lease on life and a fresh sense of direction, he began to invest in his musical career, purchasing his first digital recording unit. Kevin’s first independent collection of original music was recorded over a two-week period in August of 1999, and featured five original songs and one cover. Entitled, “Where Love and Justice Meet”, this project became the first step in helping Kevin realize his dream to become a recording artist.
After two years at Spring Arbor College, Kevin expanded his horizons and began to truly learn a musical trade by transferring to Greenville College in the fall of 2001. During his two years at Greenville College, another small Christian Liberal arts institution in Greenville, Ill, he began to study the recording arts and the mechanics of the music industry itself, working under the direction of Mike Johnson (University of Miami), and Andrea Johnson (Island Records, Estefan Enterprises (Sony), Silverlight Entertainment (Warner Bros) and Palm Pictures/Rykodisc). He also furthered his exploration of jazz and fusion. The change in college atmosphere brought a spiritual change as well. Kevin soon came to the realization that his involvement in Christian music ministry began to rob him of his artistic expression. His music had become utilitarian, pushing artistic expression out of the picture. In result, Kevin retreated from music ministry and chose to create art for art’s sake. This artistic realization brought Kevin to another spiritual search, which he continues today.
During his senior year of college, Kevin was accepted to attend the Contemporary Music Center, a 3 month program on Martha’s Vineyard, which began in the fall of 2003. Under the direction of Tom Willitte and Warren Petit, this program provided an eye-opening experience for Kevin. Not only was he given real world knowledge of the music industry, but his somewhat dormant songwriting skills were encouraged and brought to life. During this 3 month period, Kevin struggled to find his sound. Thrust into an environment where most of his peers spent their greater musical experience as writers, forced Kevin to come to grips with his weakness as a songwriter and push through his self-imposed roadblocks. This experience allowed him to write and record “Shine,” a song birthed out of Kevin’s intense desire to reach his potential, and prove a point to a critical professor. "I was sitting out on the picnic tables with Tom," Reeves recalls. "I asked him if he thought I could really do it as an artist. He said that he wasn't sure, because he had only seen me doing canny imitations of other artists. At that very moment, I came face to face with the artist I wanted to be, but wasn't. That's where Shine came from. Tom wasn't telling me I couldn't do it. He was just telling me that he hadn't yet seen me do it. So, from that day forward, I proved to him and the other students that I could indeed do it. After years of living in musical darkness, I knew that it was time for me to Shine."
“Shine” is Kevin’s first single from his debut full length solo release entitled “It’s About Time”, which will initially be released electronically via the internet. Kevin’s local and worldwide fan base have been expanded thanks to the Podsafe Music Network, a project for Independent Musicians spearheaded by Adam Curry, of MTV VJ fame. In support of his new release, Kevin will be touring extensively.
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