Ken Hardy: ‘Music is a powerful language!’

Ken Hardy’s new single Blink of an Eye was inspired by the deaths of his friends.

Different people may know him for different things, but those close to him and within his circles often remark how talented he is although he seems still searching to refine his forte. But now he may have found it, an artistically adroit and philosophically diverse Ken hardy who has taken part in poetry, spoken word, dance, visual arts and music says. His latest single “Blink of an Eye,” is seen as the beginning of a journey which will focus solely on his music with an album to be released pretty soon, featuring the input of Rob “Zi” Taylor, Francis “Leebo” Delima and Carl Gustave. The young artisan stopped by the STAR last week to talk about his music and new single among other things.
I first ask Ken Hardy about the inspiration behind the song “Blink of an Eye.” “This song was inspired by the loss of some good friends, Athanasius Laborde, Sabby and Adrian a dancer whom I knew very well. And it was also about the hurricane which hit us and the homicide rate where we were just losing so many of our young people, you know. So I felt that urgency to express my thoughts and feelings in song and came up with Blink of an eye,” he told the STAR.
“The message is an important one for those of us who are still around. It is basically telling us that when love comes around open your heart cause friends get lost in a blink of an eye. So it is about showing appreciation for the people around you and your friends and love ones,” he says.
The song was composed by Ken Hardy and produced by Leebo of Heights studios. Although he has done some recordings before as part of other projects including the Souldreadz, a band formed in 2007, Ken Hardy describes this as his first official recording, one that he is truly satisfied with. Satisfaction is something that has not always come easy for him, although the arts have always been his passion.
Ken Hardy grew up in New Village, Castries a community he describes as once full of life when it came to the arts. “There was the influence of the drums from the Lapo Kabwit band which I grew up around as well as dance from Charmalion and Afro Caribbean dance who had studios in the community. So I was influenced by the music
and dance, but at age
12 I left and went to Vieux Fort where I attended the Vieux Fort Secondary school and picked up visual arts, painting and stuff,” Hardy recalls.
After leaving secondary school he returned to New Village, placed furthering his education on hold and took up dance again. “There was just something in the arts I saw and felt. I gave up on academics to pursue the arts, taking a dive into dance but I continued doing my painting as well,” Hardy revealed. In the years that ensued he took part in the M&C Fine Arts Awards where he won prizes in the visual arts category and was also recognized for his poetry. Ken Hardy also dabbled in some work as a model and was employed as a full time dancer at Club Saint Lucia and Almond Morgan Bay for eight years. A number of well known choreographers here have helped shape his dance including Rose Marie Etienne, Christine Samuels, Germaine Alexander, Carlton Ishmael, Michael Francis and Tennille Thomas. “I also performed at CARIFESTA representing Saint Lucia and I also represented the hotels at regional events as well,” Hardy informed us.
In 2008 Ken Hardy also performed at Jazz in Soufriere and Tea Time Jazz and Jazz on the beach in 2009 as a musician.
So after all of this, has he found his niche I wondered aloud. “I think my niche is being a writer and having a love for music and playing music. I think it is a powerful language. I think music, you don’t have to be able to speak the language, once there is rhythm and there is a vibe you would feel it because it’s a universal language. That’s why I love music.”
He credits his cousin and Saint Lucian reggae artiste Meshach as one of his earliest musical influences. “Persons like Sky from Amate also inspired me and along the way I also have to give thanks to persons like Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and Leebo for their input,” Hardy says. “But universally my musical influences are persons like brother Bob (Marley), Seal, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Hendrix, Lenny Kravitz, the Beatles, you know, just people who are true to their game,” he adds.
Ken Hardy says he would like to position himself and his music to reap all the rewards possible. He is presently working on releasing two more singles “Light of the Night” (previously released as an acoustic version) and “Prodigal Son” before his first album drops later this year. He describes his music as a fusion. “There is something taking place, it’s a cultural integration so I embrace that, I embrace music for what it is. My approach is universal minded, open to outside influences as well as sharing what I have from where I am from,” he says.
The artistic director of the entertainment group L’esprit des Arts says when he is not busy writing and recording he can be seen and heard live at places like Habitat Terrace in Bonne Terre, Fire Grill Rodney
Bay and H2O at the Rodney bay Marina. Meanwhile “Blink of an Eye” is
enjoying some airplay here and has the potential of blooming into something big for Ken Hardy.

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