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  • Jonathan Widran

KEVIN FLOURNOY and AMANDA COLE, "To The Water"

Vers•a•tility,


The title of Kevin Flournoy’s upcoming independent debut album says it all about the multi-talented keyboardist/producer’s ever-evolving artistry and ability to create inspirational magic in a multitude of genres. After three decades as a visionary creative force for some of pop, R&B and contemporary jazz’s most iconic performers, his emergence as a recording artist in his own right is likewise driven by an exciting spirit of collaboration.


On the project’s latest lead single “To The Water,” a poignant, heartrending ballad sung from the perspective of a dying person getting ready to cross over, Kevin returns to one of his all-time favorite wheelhouses – the epic R&B/pop ballad – with Amanda Cole, one of contemporary music’s most versatile veteran vocalists.


If it seems like the track’s emotional arc and vocal dynamics harken back to the classic 80’s-90’s powerhouse Whitney Houston vibe, it’s with good reason. In addition to one of her best- known gigs, as a longtime replacement member of legendary girl group En Vogue, Amanda received rave reviews performing an 18 song, symphonic tribute to the late icon with many symphony orchestras around the country. In addition to 130M+ collective views on Facebook, Amanda has 10M+ on her YouTube channel – including 1.9M for her rendition of Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”


Throughout her illustrious career, Amanda has performed every genre of music imaginable – including country, R&B, rock, classical and Tejano. In addition to Houston and Michael Jackson, she has shared the stage with Destiny’s Child and Mary J. Blige and has been featured in productions

  such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “Anything Goes” and “Dream Girls” as well as a

 string of other successful gospel and off-Broadway plays.


 Kevin had been working with Amanda on tracks for a solo project when she presented the song

 to him as one she would like to record. Written by Matt Simons, an associate of David Foster,

 “To The Water” felt very timely to both of them, capturing the spirit of the post-COVID era in

 which people were reflecting on the many friends family and loved ones they had lost. It was

 exactly the kind of song he envisioned they would create together. Instead of saving it for

 Amanda’s solo project, Kevin thought it would fit right into the stylistic blend he had in mind for

 Vers•a•tility.


 “When I first heard ‘To The Water,’ I felt like this is where I live musically and emotionally,”

 says Kevin. “When I started writing music, this was exactly the kind of pop/R&B I specialized

 in, songs that also tapped into my developing ability to arrange strings. The original demo

 Amanda gave me had piano and vocal but I immediately heard an orchestra in my head, which I

 later created in the studio with a live quartet, 20-plus tracks of real strings and some additional

 synth strings. I recorded different elements of the track at Sunset Sound and United Recording

 Studio, and she flew out from her home in Arkansas to record several vocal sessions at EastWest

 Studio, including a redo of the big part at the end which captured the kind of big vocal

 performance we both love.”


 Kevin has released three previous singles that will also be included on Vers•a•tility. In December

 2023, he dropped the smooth urban jazz instrumental “Smooth It Over,” which marked a special

 reunion with one of his legendary early collaborators, saxophonist Ronnie Laws. That track

 followed “Tell Me If You Still Care,” a re-imagining of the mid-80’s Jam/Lewis composed Top 5

 R&B S.O.S Band hit featuring vocals by Phil Perry and Shannon Pearson; and the original

 Kevin-penned R&B/pop vocal track “You’re All I Need” featuring Filipino singer Orion Song

 (winner of The Voice Australia), Anja Nissen and Christine Noel. The YouTube video of a live presentation of “Tell Me If You Still Care” has 3.4M+ views on YouTube and earned Song of the

Year honors from the Orlando Urban Film Festival.


Starting with Laws, The Emotions and Teena Marie, Kevin has written, performed or recorded over the past three decades with Chaka Khan, Babyface, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Jeffrey Osborne, The Pointer Sisters, Jennifer Hudson, Howard Hewitt, Jamie Foxx, The Jazz Crusaders and contemporary jazz greats Boney James, Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Harvey Mason. In the 2000s, Flournoy toured with Donny Osmond for six years.


In addition to his work with these artists and working on numerous TV projects including American Idol, Kevin is the creator of an original video music-talk program called The K-Flow Show, a fresh take on the traditional music/talk show featuring organic live performances by celebrity and independent pop artists. Conceived as something of a mix between Hugh Hefner’s classic TV show Playboy After Dark, MTV Unplugged and Daryl Hall’s Live from Daryl’s House, The K Flow Show – which takes place in an intimate, living room type setting – will also spotlight instrumental performers and TV and film actors. Kevin has brought a live version of The K Flow Show to the Miracle Theatre in Inglewood, CA and in January 2024 will bring the special presentation to the Blues and Jazz Festival in Ghana, Africa.


Kevin is also deeply involved in a philanthropic effort as producer of a celebrity recording compilation On a Very Special Note, which will benefit The Art of the Olympians and the World Harmony Run/Peace Run – a project that will ultimately benefit people all over the globe. The original songs for the project have been composed by Kevin for each celebrity participant. A very important strategic promotional alliance with the Peace Run organization was forged when Kevin was honored with the Sri Chinmoy-Torch-Bearer Award, given to individuals who support and contribute to making the world a better place. Previous recipients include Archbishop Kevin Tutu, Russell Simmons, Carl Lewis and Billie Jean King.

  




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