Ken Elkinson, Composer/Producer Chants for Meditation
Ken Elkinson saw his musical dreams come to fruition when he released his debut CD of original piano solos in March, 1997. Entitled Midnight Conversation, Ken’s CD finds its roots in Pennsylvania at Muhlenberg College. It was at Muhlenberg that he found many comforts and sources of inspiration; its artistically-minded, close knit community and close proximity to New York City helped shape Ken’s outlook and composition. After a short stint with a college rock band, Ken began paving the way for his solo career during his junior year. He attributes much of his initial determination and songwriting success to his college’s musical facilities. “I never had to wait to play a beautiful baby grand piano, and this certainly kept the creative process flowing,” recalls Ken.
A New Jersey native, Ken selected Tullen Sound Recording in Morristown, New Jersey to begin the initial steps of the recording process in the summer of 1994. Soon after these sessions, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, which became his home for the next three years. Ken spent nearly a year in post-production both planning and saving to finance his release. “On a whim, I asked the popular New York illustrator, Dave Cutler, to paint my album cover. With paintings starting in the tens of thousands, I never thought that he would consider me, with my shoestring budget. Luckily, he listened to my music and believed in the opportunity to help create my artistic image,” explains Ken. He also tapped New York-based Edie Altschull to contribute to his identity with her cover calligraphy. Ken then sought the assistance of some local Atlanta artists to complete his project including: recording/mastering engineer Glenn Matullo, manufacturing coordinator Kris Larsson and graphic artists Mike Weikert and Paula Staska. Meanwhile, Ken called upon his business background in creating August Son Productions, his own full service production company. Registered in 1997, ASP encompasses Far Blue Music, a publishing company, August Son Productions, the record label, and August Son Films, a film production company. In 1999, Midnight Conversation sold out its initial pressing.
Born August 28, 1972 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Ken has always considered the greater New York area his home. After playing in several Atlanta bars and restaurants, he decided to move to New York City in August, 1997 to further his career and exposure. Since the 1997 release of Midnight Conversation, Ken’s music has received airplay on hundreds of radio stations, websites, satellite music and in-flight audio programs spanning the globe. Midnight Conversation is currently distributed in the United States by The Orchard, DeVorss & Company and Follett Audiovisual.
Internationally, the following distributors market the CD: Life Now Books & Sound (Canada), margen (Spain), Musea (France) and Universal (Philippines). In December, 1999, Musicmine Records released Midnight Conversation in Korea under a licensing agreement. In addition, Hong Kong, Germany and The Netherlands are candidates for distribution in the coming months.
In November, 2000, Ken released his second CD of piano solos entitled Revelry. Featuring cover art from world renown pop artist, Romero Britto – the CD features twelve new original compositions along with a solo piano rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” Like its predecessor, Revelry hit the top 20 charts of over 70 radio stations, as well as the New Age Voice Top 100 Worldwide Airplay Chart for several months. Tracks from Revelry were featured internationally in several documentaries and commercials, as well as on over 40 inflight audio programs. Revelry was listed on noted music reviewer Kathy Parson’s Top 10 Piano CD’s of 2000.
Ken and his wife moved to Los Angeles, California in late 2003, where he released his third CD of solo piano entitledOpal. Part publicity stunt, part for trailblazing online downloadable music, Ken decided to release Opal in its entirety for free at his website www.kenelkinson.com in early 2004. Featuring cover art by Aspen, Colorado based painter Brigitte Center, Opal contained ten introspective tracks that lean more towards jazz than classical. The CD was mastered by Mike Fossenkemper at Turletone Studio in New York City, who has worked with Madonna, Sting and PM Dawn among others.
Opal was a tremendous success, and in 2004 it was ranked #93 out of over 3,000 New Age releases in total radio airplay. Thousands of people took advantage and downloaded free tracks from Opal, which as of mid 2006 is still available for free download at kenelkinson.com. In 2005 Ken released a version of Opal with revised artwork which can be purchased through this website as well as at all major retailers and web music stores.
In May of 2006 Ken released his fourth CD of solo piano entitled Cue. This time around, Ken decided he wanted to add a vocal track. Luckily for the fans, Ken will not be doing the singing. The critically acclaimed Tom Freund has lent his vocals as well as his song “Beautiful Sadness” – which Ken re-worked for piano and voice. In addition to “Beautiful Sadness,”Cue contains 11 original solo piano compositions. Tom has recorded with Ben Harper and Victoria Williams among others – and his original music has received accolades from many places including The New York Times, MSNBC, KCRW-FM and the Washington Post. Tom’s music can be found at www.tomfreund.com
2008 was a busy year from Ken that first saw the release of digital-only Borrowed Tracks – his covers album in July and then Generations of Yuletide – his Christmas offering in October. Both releases tore up the New Age Reporter Top 100 Airplay Charts with Borrowed Tracks remaining on the charts for 8 months and Generations peaking at #7 (and the second highest airplay of all holiday releases.)
With not much of a break, Ken released his seventh CD Link in May 2009. Link marks the return to all original material, containing twelve brand new very deep and introspective solo piano tracks. The album also features cover artwork from another world renown artist – this time around Chuck Arnoldi.
In 2010 Ken took a bit of a breather releasing only the CD single Opal – The Dance Remix. Ken was somehow able to convince all star Los Angeles based DJ Aaron Arce to do the remix, giving the world the first glimpse of drums/beats in a Ken Elkinson track. Aaron took Ken’s music up about 100 notches, providing both the radio edit and extended remix of Ken’s 2004 solo piano composition “Opal.”
2011 saw the return of Ken’s insanely busy schedule, where he once again gives Prince a run at being the King of Productivity. January saw the release of the epic “Music For Commuting” – a 6 CD box set of ambient music Ken composed specifically to calm angry drivers. Even Ken was caught off guard as the project garnered over 75 major press and blog articles and mentions from outlets such as New York Times (twice), Washington Post, Orange County Register, LA Daily News, LA Weekly, Autoblog and CNN.com. Ken also made no fewer than 6 TV news appearances including NBC, CBS, CNN en Espanol and Telemundo, the latter of the two showcasing Ken’s secret weapon – his mad Spanish skills.
November 2011 saw the release of 7890 – a CD of instrumental jazz/funk/fusion as Ken calls it. After 15 albums of agonizing over every single note played, Ken gave himself the challenge of coming up with an entire CD not playing a single note, while paying homage to his love of Harold Faltermeyer and Herbie Hancock. Ken also composed an Asian influenced spa music for a boarding video for a major airlines and recorded 40 solo piano lullabies during the summer.
2012 saw no rest for the weary/Ken. The above mentioned Asian score was turned into Eastern Spa, and released in October. Speaking of October, the only thing scarier than Halloween was Ken’s blood pressure, as he also released bothChristmas and Chanukah Ambient. Never one to discriminate, Ken loves all religions and has the music to prove it.
2013 has proven another banner year in the land of Ken – the Kennaisance as he calls it. Music For Telecommuting Volumes 1-2 dropped in January, side project Solxis – Elements Volumes 1-4 also in January, Around The Globe In A Lullaby Volume 1, Halloween Ambient, Solixis – Cause and Solxis – Effect all in August. September brought Solxis –Christmas Calm Volumes 1 & 2, and to top it off October will have Western Spa. Yes, your eyes read that correct – 13 Ken Elkinson related releases in ’13. Lucky for everyone, Ken has no fear of the number 13.
Early 2014 proved there was no slowdown in sight. Ken released St. Patrick’s Day Ambient, Equistice, Solxis Sounds + Nature Volumes 1 and 2 – all in the same week.Then in the summer he released a CD of CHillout and dANCE music aptly titled Chance. The lead single “Santiago” made its way into heavy rotation on Sirius XM Chill channel, brining Ken’s music to an even wider audience.
Ken is still shaking things up by working on original film scores, two more Music For Commuting outtakes CDs, a new original solo piano CD, more spa/acupuncture music, another lullaby CD, some non-trite nature sounds music if that is possible, and just when you thought it was safe – some vocal tracks. (He sleeps less than Citibank.) As always, he is enjoying all the plastic surgery, botox, teeth whitening, collagen and abundant sunshine Los Angeles has to offer.