All I ever wanted to do was sing. My maternal grandfather played the violin by ear; I play piano in the same manner. Songwriting began at age 11 with improvisational melodies created for lyrics I found in “Hit Parade” Magazine. As a lark, I began writing my own lyrics to my own melodies.
But life was a bit more complicated than singing and writing songs. Raised as the son of a prominent Montreal Rabbi in Quebec, I struggled with a persistent dichotomy – what my parents expected of me and what I expected of myself. I reveled in the life of a choirboy with an open eye on the secular world of music. Later on, I studied with the old masters of Jewish art songs and Cantorial liturgy while moonlighting as a demo singer in the NYC recording studios.
By age 15, I was signed to my first recording contract with Strand Records. At 17, I became part of the Nevins/Kirschner writing stable at 1650 Broadway. Recording contracts with Columbia Records, United Artists, and ABC followed. I could not sell records to save my life but then the world of “jingles” opened up and the sky kept raining every product imaginable on me. I found a home and a very long life in the jingles studios of New York City. All the while I wrote songs.
Years passed, with advertising studio life finally at an end, I dedicated myself to sharpening my skills as a diversified song writer. My list of awards and accomplishments no longer matter. Singing and writing prolifically, accompanying myself at the piano, has always mattered. Occasionally, I challenge myself to venture out and to share this material in performance.
Life has been kind. I have four grown children, two grandsons, and the most remarkable woman in the world at my side. I’ve written my life in song many times over in comedy, love songs, country and Cantorial music and continue to do so. A while ago, I wrote a song entitled “I Used To Be Kenny Karen” and, after all these years, I have come to understand, I still am.
JANUARY 8, 1944 TROY, NY
LIVED IN MONTREAL; CHOIRBOY; BEGAN WRITING AT AGE 11
FIRST RECORDING SESSION: BARRELL RECORDS, CANADA (FOUR ORIGINAL SONGS UNRELEASED)
SEPTEMBER 8TH: FIRST U.S. RECORDING SESSION AT BELL SOUND RECORDING STUDIOS, NYC FOR STRAND RECORDS
SIGNED TO EXCLUSIVE MANAGERIAL CONTRACT AS SINGER/SONGWRITER BY NEVINS/KIRSCHENER ASSOCIATES.
FIRST MAJOR LABEL CONTRACT WITH COLOMBIA RECORDS: 3 RELEASES.
UNITED ARTISTS: 1 RELEASE.
RECORDINGS FOR ELVIS PRESLEY MOVIES AND FOR BURT BACHARACH INCLUDING BACHARACH’S ORIGINAL “ALFIE,” “THIS GUY’S IN LOVE WITH YOU” AND COUNTLESS OTHER AMERICAN “POP” CLASSICS. SHOW SCORE DEMOS INCLUDE “HELLO DOLLY” AND “PROMISES, PROMISES.”
SANG ON OVER 15,000 RADIO AND TELEVISION SPOTS INCLUDING MCDONALDS, BURGER KING, KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, BUDWEISER, PABST, MILLER BEER, PEPSI, COKE, DR. PEPPER, UNITED AIRLINES, AMERICAN AIRLINES, DELTA, TOYOTA, NISSAN, CHEVROLET, PONTIAC, CADILLAC, HONDA, GM, WRIGLEY’S SPEARMINT GUM, DOUBLEMINT, JUICY FRUIT, EQUITABLE, BENEFICIAL, JOHN HANCOCK, SURE, RIGHT GUARD, CHEERIOS, KELLOGG RICE KRISPEES, POST CEREALS, HERSHEY, CADBURY, FOLGERS, NABISCO, CREST, ULTRA BRITE, CLAIROL, MENNEN, BOUNTY, TUMS, HELLMAN’S MAYONNAISE, GE, THE ARMY, MARINES, NAVY, U.S. POST OFFICE, “I LOVE NY” AND AN ENDLESS NUMBER OF OTHER PRODUCTS.
WROTE MELODY FOR MCDONALD’S “YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY” CAMPAIGN FOR GAVIN/WOLOSHIN PRODUCTIONS (UNDER CONDITION OF ANONYMITY) — THE COMMERCIAL VOTED THE #1 JINGLE OF THE MILLENNIUM BY AD WEEK IN JANUARY OF 2000.
WROTE AND INTRODUCED “JERUSALEM IS MINE” AT THE JERUSALEM THEATRE IN ISRAEL.
SANG THE THEME SONG FOR JAN KADAR’S FILM “LIES MY FATHER TOLD ME.”
ACTIVELY SONG WRITING WITH OCCASIONAL CABARET AND CONCERT PERFORMANCES.
WON NATIONAL ACADEMY OF RADIO ARTS & SCIENCES (NARAS) MVP AWARD FOR “BEST MALE STUDIO SINGER” 5 TIMES, SHARING THE FIRST AWARD IN 1980 WITH LUTHER VANDROSS. IN 1986 AWARDED THE NARAS MVP VIRTUOSO — LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT — AWARD.