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Kenny Eng

RIYL

Jeff Buckley, Lenny Kravitz, Steve Poltz, Carlos Olmeda, Aaron Bowen, the Wrong Trousers

Influences

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, Miles Davis

Discography

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Singer-songwriter Kenny Eng is a self-taught guitarist. “I took piano early on,” he says, “but basically picked up the guitar by ear. When I discovered that I could figure out songs on the radio by ear very quickly, I thought I might try my luck as a guitar player.”

After attending UC Davis in 2003 to study Political Science, he says “It wasn't fulfilling, so I began taking classes in music theory and ended up graduating with a degree in Political Science and Music Theory and Composition. The Theory classes taught almost exclusively modern concert music, which is what I wrote for almost two years. But I never ditched pop music.”

In 2005, Eng’s only sister -- eight years younger -- was diagnosed with cancer. “It was tough on my family. I would drive from Davis to Oakland almost every week to visit her when she went in for chemotherapy, I would call every day to check up on her and, in those moments, I became more self-reflective and began writing songs about life.”

“I have yet to write a love song, because I feel like there is more to express than the star-struck love story, which is also why I try to be more harmonically complex than the standard guitar music.”

Eng moved from San Francisco to San Diego in 2007. “I don’t have family here, and I didn’t have a job. I’d just graduated from college, and I had my heart set on making music and being successful on my own.”

Since arriving in SD, Eng has played with several notable acoustic acts, including Gregory Page, Carlos Olmeda, Aaron Bowen, and Bushwalla. His debut EP Self Centered was released in 2008.

He describes his music as “an attempt to combine the complexity of Jeff Buckley into the pop-song format of John Mayer. The tunes range from sweetly tinged jazz to dark, ominous soundscapes. My songs are hard to listen to at times, but art is like that. You have to pay attention to what is happening in order to understand what the songs are doing. My lyrics focus on personal feelings and internal struggles.”

In 2008, he won the 103.7 Radio Sophie Songwriter Competition, and his debut EP Self Centered was released later that year.

He usually performs solo, though he’s been toying with auxiliary players. “Playing with a band is always fun for the side of me that wants to entertain people, but the acoustic solo side really allows me to explore my own music and my own capabilities.”

A collection of solo-acoustic performances was compiled for the album Live from Lestat’s, released in January 2010 and featuring workshop-version of several songs intended for his subsequent studio album. Edited, mixed, and mastered by Johnny Shoebox, Eng wrote all the songs, except “Call You When I Get There,” by Ruben Quinones.

“I’ve decided to go the opposite direction of most singer-songwriters, favoring complexity over catchiness,” says Eng. “I liken myself to the serious jazz and blues musicians of 40 to 50 years ago like Ornette Coleman, who didn’t care about fame or money but wanted to make music for the sake of making music, even if it is only for a few people in a little coffeehouse somewhere. I am not about pleasing anyone except me, and that -- for me -- is success.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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