Kenille was born Christopher Sivells, on the date of June 24, 1991, in Salinas, California. Coming from a genetic background of talent, artistry, and music, it was natural for him to obtain a knack for entertainment. At the age of four, with the aid of his great-grandmother, Thelma Chambers, Christopher was enrolled into bible study camps, based solely upon getting to know Jesus Christ, and memorizing scripture. This is what soon fueled his uncanny ability to remember extensive verses, and multiple songs at any given time. When Christopher was 8-years old, he received his first solo performance, at New Mount Zion, in Dallas, Texas, singing “Joy to the World”. He enjoyed it. He loved the freedom and the opportunity to sing to the masses. At age 9, Christopher began writing.
“It’s a hilarious story, how my writing began,” states Christopher. “Although I was raised in church, everyone around me was a music collector. I heard every recording artist from DMX, to Yolanda Adams, to Naughty by Nature, to Bone Thugz ‘N Harmony, etc. When I first started writing, all I would do is remove the first two lines of an artist’s song, and then write down the lyrics, word for word, for the rest of the song. Yeah, those were my original singles.” Christopher chuckles at how that minuscule beginning created a door of mass talent in the present.
When high school came around, Christopher was a part of his church’s youth choir and praise team, alongside being on his school’s varsity choir for three years. Here, he was able to learn the technical side of singing: the breathing, the air support, the vocal sustain, etc. He truly fell in love with it. Also, at this time, Christopher attempted to promote his personal solo career. At the current time he called himself Young Seville, in honor to his father, who’s R&B alias was Seville. He was skilled at combining melodic and harmonic vocals with “slick” metaphoric punchlines in rap verses. Very innovative, his mind was. Also during that stint in high school, he was privileged with performing in a mass choir with Kelly Price.
Towards high school’s end, Christopher recorded, engineered, and self-promoted, two mixtapes, and had a pretty good following, as far as fans were concerned. It was then that he decided upon the name change to Kenille, combining his middle name Kenyatta, with his dad’s Seville. As to no one’s surprise, he continued this striving desire of his as he moved to San Antonio to pursue his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His name spread quickly, due to his constant YouTube and Facebook videos, alongside his many cover songs that he made, remixing popular Billboard-charted songs. Consequently, before the age of 19, Christopher was signed to his first entertainment label, Bank Life Entertainment.
Upon being affiliated with Bank Life Entertainment, Christopher recorded and marketed two more mixtapes, alongside being the executive writer on a project for an R&B artist, by the name of Kieda. He enjoyed every opportunity of honing his creativity. He would even set personal goals, as he listened to mainstream music, to write more lyrical, and more talented songs, than those who were famous. Truly, he was driven.
After his stint with Bank Life Entertainment, Christopher chose to remain independent for a while. He released many more mixtapes and cover videos while working on his personal EP and LP. In this time, he came across Spreaz Records, a global independent entertainment label, who was looking for talent. Christopher, as well as the CEO of the company, were reeled into each other, and within no time, contracts were being drawn up. The album was ready, the portfolio was perfected, but just before Christopher was able to place the ink on the page, he was encountered by the Lord.
Christopher says, “I’ve always known GOD to an extent; I just couldn’t get out of the lifestyle the collegiate environment offers. I was a signed model, living the life molded after being a signed recording artist, and I was striving to be an actor. Countless times, I heard HIS Voice speaking to me and guiding me, but every time, it would get drowned out by my own desires and influences over my life. I read The Word, I prayed, even would go into trances from time to time where the Lord, himself, would speak to me, through me. However, I knew, distinctly, that my lifestyle was not conducive for inheriting HIS Kingdom. I wanted out of the lifestyle of sin, but it seemed to just be too powerful.”
Christopher remembers, and cherishes, the night of September 8, 2012, when he walked into church, on a Saturday night. It was there, he marks his life actually began. The tangible power of God struck him that night, and he was shaking and manifesting from that very touch for nearly an hour. He realized that all the drinking, all the partying, all the sex, was purposed for seeking the very fulfillment he never attained, yet felt at the drop of a dime when God so ordained. He realized there was no purpose for those things any longer, and that’s where he found his strength to leave sin.
Now, being trained up to be a minister, under an Apostolic-Prophetic ministry, Christopher’s sole purpose in life is to see men and women be encountered by the presence of God, and transformed for all eternity. He knows the problems his societal peers face, but he is certain that the power of God can change any situation and lifestyle into freedom, into joy, into tangible positivity. Christopher makes music all can enjoy, whether believer of Christ or not. His only desire is that no matter the topic of the song, the lyrics written, the genre produced, he can be used as a vessel for Holy Spirit to transmit through to all people on the face of the earth.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
KENILLE: I’m originally from the Dallas, Texas Area. I was born in California, spent much of my youth on the coast of Mississippi, in Louisiana, and in Virginia. Now, I currently live in San Antonio, Texas.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
KENILLE: Well both of my parents were musicians growing up. My mom played the saxophone, and my dad sang and played the keyboard. Being that my dad was also a recording artist, I naturally fell into that stream. A lot of people in my family were also huge music collectors, from old Jazz hits to new school, so I always had something in my ear growing up. When I was young, I used to dream of combining different sounds and genres into unique art, unlike anyone’s ever heard.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
KENILLE: Honestly, they’re just about life in general. Being a Christian, I always want to either convey what the Lord is saying, through my music, or reveal a new aspect of the relationship I have with him. No matter the topic of my music, I always hope that it’s something that can truly touch my listeners beyond just the moment of them tuning into it.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your favorite song to perform and why?
KENILLE: That’s a tough one. I’d possibly say it’s this song I wrote and produced called “Invest”. It’s a Hip-Hop track with a lot of Pop influence, a very catchy tune. It was something the Lord was personally speaking to me about. During the time of creating the piece, he was showing me the glory of his Kingdom, the true life of fame and fortune, in eternity. He began to show me how much fun people have at concerts, in clubs and at parties. But how much more fun could humanity have living for the God who created the sensation of pleasure, and all things that give it? The track basically came from that aspect, and just became a hit, in my opinion.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS:What has surprised you the most in the pursuit of a career in music?
KENILLE: Being a Christian, that just so happens to be an artist, I would say the platform that Christian art has taken in this last decade. Ten years ago, you’d probably yawn and be in some sort of displeasure having to listen to Christian Hip-Hop, but now the plethora of artists really being founded in the faith has tremendously increased. It’s literally diverted from a generation that used to strive their hardest to get radio-play and exposure on secular venues, to now being a culture making a demand the music industry is forced to take note of.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
KENILLE: I listen to a lot of prophetic worship; that’s just me! So many of my influences are people like: Jake Hamilton, Steffany Gretzinger, William Matthews, Brian & Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Rick Pino, Jason Upton, Luke Wood and Jonathan Helser. I also love artists such as Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Christon Gray, and KB
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
KENILLE: I’d say captivating. I really feel my music has the ability, and the appeal, to draw people into it. I’m very lyrical when it comes to rapping, and I love for my emotions, and for whatever the Lord is speaking through me, to be felt and encountered when I sing. I never want a person to merely come to a song of mine, and simply enjoy it. I want them to find themselves walking in it, being encouraged by it, being convicted by it, and even being matured and healed by it.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
KENILLE: The fact that I don’t do it for myself. I know the only difference between myself and someone who is non artistic, is the fact that God called me to this lifestyle. My sole purpose is for people to meet God through me. My talent is to glorify him, whether it’s appealing to another ear or not. We’re in an industry where people are applauded and praised for their talents, but what happens when I perform and people are able to see the God who graced those very talents upon me, face to face. I believe the fact that even when I perform, with my sole purpose being for people to not only meet God but receive a glimpse of what HE created entertainment for, in itself, really sets me apart.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What would you like to see changed in today’s music industry?
KENILLE: I’d love to see it continue to mature. When you take a look at the progress of creativity and musical innovation from 1900 to now, and you look at what’s available for us at our fingertips, one can only imagine the possibilities. I’m really a big fan of art, hands down. Even before I chose to live fully for God my passion for art was prevalent. Now, I just pray that his words, his sounds, his message would begin to be released from Heaven. I mean, we’ve seen what we can do, talent wise. From Frank Sinatra, to James Brown, to Michael Jackson. Now imagine, the God who created each of them, and every other man and woman on this earth releasing his talent, and his anointing. It becomes an experience which this world could never hope to understand.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects that you are currently working on?
KENILLE: I’m currently working on a 7-song EP, entitled The L Word. It’s basically, a very intimate, romantic project. Many times, we’re not availed to see men’s vulnerability, in our society. More so, it’s limited, even in Christian spheres, to relationships between man and woman. I began to wonder, as this project began, how it would be to just break down every wall and barrier. To truly allow the whole world to come inside my world and see my imperfections, my flaws, and my deep dependency upon my God. You’ll hear classic sounds, deriving from a seemingly R&B/Hip-Hop influence, but what makes this different is that I’m literally opening myself up, saying I’m not perfect. Even though I spend much of life in a facade attempting to be, I need the one who created me more each and every day. It’s something that people in relationships, in general can relate to. From the highs of the beginning stages, to the downs of feeling as though you’re having to strive to keep the relationship going just an inch. It’s all in here. It’s also definitely something every believer, truly hungry for God, can relate to. From knowing what it’s like to want to be close to his deity, yet feeling far away, to loving every moment in his Presence with no words to explain it. That’s all in this project as well!
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
KENILLE: I think anyone, in any field, wants the ability to be financially stable, with the ability to set their children up for better. I’m no different. To be doing what I love to do, glorifying God, literally makes it all worth while. You know, I’d love to travel, to the point where there’s not a country I haven’t performed in. But most importantly, I just want to see people transformed from my entertainment. No matter if you’re wealthy or poor, celebrity or not famous, we all go through things in this life, merely because we’re human. To be that individual someone says got them through depression, or anxiety, or whatever, would mean the world to me, in that aspect alone! I just want to bring a change to people’s lives. And in ten years, I would’ve loved to have branched out with my clothing line and aspirations to act and model. It would be nice to have a Grammy, and even production or engineering credits for another artist’s Grammy Award winning project. But I’m a very simple guy. As long as my God is happy, my family is excited, and I’m in joy, I’m pretty much satisfied. The accolades, acknowledgement and the awards are wonderful, but as long as those three are taken care of, I’m swell!
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
KENILLE: The best way is either my website, kenille.com, or just social media in general. My Twitter and Instagram handles are @OfficialKenille and my Facebook page is simply Kenille. I released the first single of my upcoming EP, Vulnerable, on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and a multitude of other online stores. So fans can feel free to purchase that or even stream it for free!
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