Kentrell
11.11.2009

Unrapped: Pop-Soul Singer Kentrell

While some singers aspire to have careers like that of Michael Jackson, Kentrell envisioned walking down a different path as a teen. “Before music?” Kentrell continues, “I thought that I would be the next Michael Jordan. I thought I was going to play basketball!” Shooting hoops may have been his occupation of choice long ago, but once the 23-year-old Mississippi-born, Chicago-bred artist, dove into music, he never looked back.

Kentrell’s debut album, U Will Believe, is a springy mix of pop and R&B, which he promises will cause some serious inspiration and perspiration. “It’s going to be real fly and sexy on this album,” he reveals. “But at the same time, I may have my inspirational uplifting track [and] up-tempo songs on there. It’s going to be a mix of everything you want on an album.” For instance, there’s the slow jam “Encore,” in which Kentrell promises to have girls screaming for more.

The self-described “pop-soul” artist looks to a mix of singers to capture the essence on his debut. While Kentrell gets inspiration from Prince, he also applauds the greatness of Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. “Marvin Gaye had various emotional feelings to his music,” he says. “Prince, he was real creative and just different. And Mike, his energy… Just to dance and to sing like he did was amazing.”

When Kentrell isn’t singing like MJ, he likes to “chill” in his off time. But most every waking moment is spent on his craft: “I chill at the same time, but even when I’m chilling, I’m either watching a documentary on music or a live show of musicians performing. It’s always something musically that I’m doing even when I’m not doing [music].” Interestingly enough, with music on his mind all the time, one would think Kentrell has some sort of vocal training. But this crooner just plain sounds good without the solfège.

Kentrell’s debut album drops next year on Jive Records. Listen to his first single “Encore” below.

–Tanya Remekie