Amused Now Featured Artist Winner ~ Kirk Green

Kirk Green

Kirk Green

Congratulations to smooth jazz, funk and R&B recording artist Kirk Green for winning our first Amused Now Featured Artist Contest! We selected Kirk Green because we love his singing voice and we adore his hit single Ocean Breeze.

When I asked Kirk for the back story behind Ocean Breeze, he told me that he was inspired to write the song while attending the Oregon Newport Jazz Festival last year: “I saw all the musicians performing and they were having a great time. I enjoyed relaxing on the beach, enjoying the sunset and listening to smooth jazz. So I said hey, I’m going to write a beautiful song about the experience.”

The single Ocean Breeze has been getting a lot of airplay and internet radio airplay. How does Kirk Green get so much exposure for his music? He knocks on doors: “I contacted some DJ’s and let them hear it. I let a few club owners hear it. Fans who normally come to my shows loved it. So, now it’s on the radio.”

Kirk Green sounds like he’s been singing his entire life, and he has! Kirk started singing at age five: “My dad was a pastor at a church, so it was imperative that I go to church and sing in the choir. Then I started playing piano. After all those years of paying music developed my inner person, which I could project through my outer person as improvisation and singing.”

How did Kirk get into jazz? “Even before high school, I started learning jazz when I played with a creative jazz ensemble under Thera Memory. It kept me out of the street. I played jazz in the after school program at Jefferson High School under the instruction of Jim Little. We traveled to all the jazz concerts. I won the Most Outstanding Pianist and several other contests. I played in the Clackamas Jazz Festival and the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. I then attended Portland State University and studied music theory. That helped me develop my reading and arranging skills.”

Kirk Green performing 2Kirk Green collaborates with many other musicians.  What skills does he look for? “I normally play with veteran musicians, because they understand music theory. We play all styles of music. We play jazz, R&B, hip hop, classical music and folk music.” On the Ocean Breeze CD, Kirk Green collaborated with Chris Stone on alto sax, Gary Fountaine on bass, Dennis Dove on drums, Rannel Hall on guitar, Carl Falls also on bass, and Kenny Poulson on soprano and alto sax. Some of the other artists he’s worked with are Marlon McClain from the Dazz Band, Nathaniel Philips from the Pleasure band, Bruce Carter Sr., and Dennis Springer from the band Pleaser.

Who can we credit as Kirk Green’s major music influences?  Kirks credits Gerald Levert, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, the band Return to Forever, Stanley Clarke, Jon McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Harvey Mason, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Smokey Robinson.

Music is Kirk Green’s first love. He’s either writing, rehearsing or listening to music every day. You can see him at all the local jazz festivals.

Coming from the viewpoint of a veteran musician, Kirk Green advises: “Stick to your plan. Don’t let other people influence you. Use your own talent. You can listen to other styles of music, but remain true to yourself.”

Kirk Green has a new music instruction book coming out: 8 Steps to Play the Piano. According to Kirk, “You gotta get it. Anyone can learn to play, from 5 to 85.” Kirk Green also has a new CD coming out in May. No title yet, so you’ll have to follow him and keep tabs on his progress.

Kirk Green lives in Portland, OR. He performs all around the club scene, so follow him on Facebook for all the details about dates and times. You can buy the Ocean Breeze CD on CD Baby.

Amused Now Featured Artist Contest Winner

Kirk Green posingKirk Green

Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now