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Still The Smooth Jazz King: 5 Questions With Kenny G

The saxophone legend shares the secrets to his long career

Photos: CK Star Entertainment Singapore

Earlier this month, the one and only Kenny G treated us to a magnificent performance at The Star Theatre.

It was only the legendary jazz musician’s second show in Singapore, the last time being 2015. He dazzled us with the smooth bossa nova tunes from his latest album, The Brazilian Nights, inspired by his travels in Brazil.

Kenny G has enjoyed success that not many musicians can claim to have. With a career that has lasted over 30 years, while touring all over the globe, he has over 75 million albums sold worldwide. Besides inspiring our musical soul, the enduring popularity of Kenny G got us curious about how he did it.

So questions about his long success were certainly on our minds when we caught up with the king of smooth jazz after his show. We also found out more about his love for Singapore, and news on his upcoming album.

Hi Kenny! Welcome back to Singapore! It’s been three years since you were last here – what do you feel about performing here again, and how was the audience during the concert?

I’m very happy to be here again and excited to perform for my fans. I was greeted with warm-hearted fans at the concert, and  was very touched to see Singaporeans, Indonesians and expatriates based in Singapore attending the concert.  It’s really heartening to see that music knows no boundaries, and I’m glad that I was able to bring them a joy-filled and memorable night.

The concert featured music from your latest album “Brazilian Nights.” What draws you to bossa nova music and Brazilian music?

The Bossa Nova beat is extremely catchy and I fell in love with it when we toured Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro, where the Brazilians spend their nights dancing and singing to the Bossa Nova sound. The percussions and the bossa nova rhythm are just so mesmerising, that it gets you on your feet.

You’ve had a very long and successful career. Can you share with us the secrets to your longevity?

There is no shortcut to success. I would say that hard work and dedication pays off. I spend three hours every day, practising each day. This is my daily routine and that has not changed since the start of my career. I also spend more than an hour exercising each day so that I can maintain my stamina and keep my body healthy.  I love how my body feels from exercise. 

All these years, because people have responded so positively to my music, I feel that I owe to them to give off my very best – no matter where I perform at, or who I perform to. At the end of the day, it’s all about dedication and discipline in order to maintain my performance standards.

What do you think it is about jazz music that can appeal to people across the world, over decades?

Jazz music is timeless – it can be improvised to suit the tastes and liking of people of different ages, which is why jazz music is widely-enjoyed. 

What’s next for you? Can we expect a new album anytime soon?

Yes, I’m currently working on a new CD entitled “New Standards”. The album is based on my love for Original Jazz. In musical terms, songs from the era of 1950s to 1960s are known as “standards”. For example, I like this song called  “Body and Soul”, which is a romantic song, but I’m putting my own spin on these “standards” by infusing my style, to make it appealing for my fans.