A little bit about Aaron Akins...
Aaron Akins’ music is something out of the ordinary. On Aaron’s second studio album Love is All Around [2009 - Produced by Darryl Swann (Macy Gray)] he sings compositions like “God Made Women Beautiful,” “I’m Nothin’ if it Wasn’t for You,” Got to Have You,” and “I Just Wanna Luv U,” in which he pours out a heart filled with love and positive feelings and brings a smile to the face.
When Akins envisioned a song like “Mona Lisa,” performed with a twist of hip hop, he may not have been aware that a new concept in music was about to be acknowledged. The late Carole Cole and Capital Records felt the magic and the tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole, Nat ‘King’ Cole Re: Generations (King Cole Partners, EMI/Capital, 2009), was born, with Aaron Akins’ name listed among the ‘everlasting thanks’ of the liner notes. On this album, which features the voice of Nat ‘King’ Cole with the voices of Cee-Lo Green, will.i.am, Natalie Cole and Nas, among others, jazz meets a grownup great-grandson named hip hop. Just as Akins felt it should.
A brilliant songwriter for Kurt Farquhar’s True Music company (Burn Notice, King of Queens, Lost, Lincoln Heights), and a vocalist of impeccable taste, Akins’ voice is a prodigy of sensuality and elegance. Also, Akins was honored to sing for the Pope at the Vatican.
Akins creates a voice for a musically mature 21st century. Put Urban, jazz, Nu-Jazz and Neo-Soul together in the same room and you’ve got an artist named Aaron Akins. In his own words:
“I would describe my music as a contemporary blend of jazz, Urban and R&B. In college I formed my first band along with Darryl Jones, who was snatched out of that band by Miles Davis, and went on to play for Sting and now plays for The Rolling Stones. I went on to perform at some of the largest venues around the world, like the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1997. I was the singer for an Indonesian group called the JAMZ All Stars. It was very exciting to play alongside artists like Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton and many other great artists.”
“The title of my first album is Into the Cole. Darryl Phinnesee as the producer of Into the Cole and one of the stars of Michael Jackson’s movie “This is It.” I know that Darryl treated me with the same concentration and focus that he did when he worked with Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. Love is All Around is my second CD. It’s the CD with “God Made Women Beautiful” on it.”
“My song writing has been an intriguing, beautiful process. I think my writing is a reflection of what I think and how I feel normally. I seem to have a universal perspective, writing-wise. I know I was inspired by God to write this song “God Made Women Beautiful” I think there are so many negative images and thoughts and words in music today, especially some Rap, that it is absolutely imperative that there be some positive images and thoughts and words in music today. “God Made Women Beautiful” is an attempt to remind women about the truth of who they are. “God Made Women Beautiful,” because it has a message to all women, not just some women. Every woman on the planet, I am trying to remind them that they can’t be anything but beautiful. Because anything other than beauty is just an illusion, it is not real, it’s just an idea.”
Currently, Aaron is working on several projects. His “God Made Women Beautiful” was just considered for a Grammy. He is working on his new release. Aaron has also been in discussions about being the subject of a documentary. Finally, Aaron is enjoying that which he loves most: Performing live, bringing with him his love and deep gratitude for what life has provided him
Hailing from Chicago, Aaron began his singing career in church, much like so many before him. Before long he became the choir’s staple soloist and church members came far and wide to hear his musical interpretations of Gospel Music. His ambitions led him to Southern Illinois University where he completed his undergraduate studies in Music Business. He also found time to play basketball. Team members recall Aaron’s performance on the court as being impressive, yet it was clear to them all that music was his passion.
Moving to Los Angeles, Aaron endeavored to make his mark in the music industry. However, his refined looks and clever style landed him roles in a number of music videos, televisions specials and he even graced the screen alongside Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman in the feature film “SPLIT DECISIONS.”
Nonetheless, Aaron’s devotion to his music won out over any acting aspirations. He began writing his own music and performing in various nightclubs and other venues. His performances caught the attention of many including that of songwriter Henry Nemo, best known for his songs Don’t Take Your Love from Me, ‘Tis Autumn and I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart. Nemo’s works have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and other greats. Mr. Nemo appreciated Aaron’s vocal stylings so much that he solicited Aaron to record some of his original compositions. The album, aptly titled MR. NOSTALGIA & FRIENDS, released on Nemo’s independent label Omen Records, contains tracks that had never before been released. Aaron had the honor of performing Mr. Nemo’s songs at a gala affair hosted by Milton Berle, where he wowed the crowd.
Aaron claimed Southern California as his proving ground and has long been recognized for his achievements. He was awarded the Golden Star Halo Award from the Southern California Motion Picture Council for his singing and composing abilities. Also, he was enlisted to sing a song for a CBS Movie of the Week for which he received much praise. Aaron has also opened for the Chairman of American Comedy and Mr. Humanitarian himself, Bob Hope, at the Hollywood Palladium for an event sponsored by the Big Ten Club of Southern California. Aaron has also contributed to various projects produced for Russell Simmons Television.
Aaron formed NAKICO records and produced his contemporary version of Mona Lisa and submitted the song to several radio stations. The song was immediately picked up and was so well received in the R&B and Jazz categories that it was placed in high rotation in multiple categories. WLGI, a station out of South Carolina, responded to the enthusiasm of its listeners by submitting Mona Lisa to BRE and Behind the Scenes magazines. BRE selected Mona Lisa for its annual compilation CD, BRE Conference 98, which included works by such Columbia artists as Destiny’s Child featuring Master P., Jermaine Dupri , Jay-Z, Xscape and Qwest artist Tamia, among others.
Aaron performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival and in Jakarta, Indonesia with the JAMZ ALL-STARS. He performed a duet with Sony recording artist Maribeth. Other artists performing with him at the festival included Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall and Bobby McFerrin.
Aaron was honored to perform the Vatican on Christmas Day, 1999 for the Great Jubilee, singing for the Pope along with such artists as Siedah Garrett and Darryl Phinnessee at St. Peter’s Basilica.
After the success of his Rome performance, Aaron was invited to record several classical pieces with the venerable Beppe Cantarelli.
Aaron has worked with Stan Lathan, Hollywood Director/Producer (The Steve Harvey Show, Roc, Def Comedy Jam and HBO Def Poetry Jam, among many others), partner of Russell Simmons. Stan was so impressed with Aaron’s music that he personally took a recording to Kurt Farquhar, Composer and Songwriter (King of Queens, Girlfriends, Soul Food, The Parkers and Moesha, among others). Aaron was signed to write and perform music for T.V. and films with Farquhar’s TRUE MUSIC label.
After R. Kelly introduced the Chicago style stepping to the world with the song “Stepping in the Name of Love” and stepping went mainstream, Aaron’s song “What the World Needs” became of the leading stepping anthems.
Aaron has twice been a featured performer at annual Music Benefit Concert and Awards galas of the American Society of Young Musicians.
A man of many talents and, as the saying goes, for all seasons, Aaron believes deeply that his music is a gift granted him which he must, in turn, share with others in any way that enables him to benefit others.
For more on Aaron, see http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=33864.
Aaron is proud to be a member of the TrueMusic family of Kurt Farquhar.