Singing is something Aisha Kenyetta has done since the beginning, from wielding a plastic microphone in baby pictures to singing and playing piano through college.
She’s been a regular stage presence since 2006 when she joined a local funk band called Secrets. Then it was onto performing regularly with Emerald Empire Band and The Majestics at The Commodore, and most recently, the supergroup Two Weeks Notice.
“Live music — the same thing that it does for me it does for the people listening — it allows us to escape just for a little while,” Kenyetta said. “It gives us a chance to just live in the moment for however long it’s going to last and enjoy being in that space in that time with those people.”
She also contributed vocals to Bill Wilson’s 2018 album, Stand Up, produced at Coast Records.
“It works for me because, in singing for so many groups, I’m not relegated to a genre. I get to do a little bit of everything.”
Always a fan of Chaka Khan’s straightforward style, she considers herself a vocalist that gets to the point.
“I tend to lean toward songs that are bass driven, rhythmically lyrical. I like to think of my voice as an extension of the rhythm section. I think that is ultimately what makes people pat their feet, get up and dance.”
This year marks her first foray into writing original material she hopes will come to fruition in 2022.
Invited to front an unnamed recording project, she’ll have the opportunity to not only write on her own but also within a group. The sound will land somewhere between classic rock and funk, with a bit of country undertones that throw back
“This is definitely uncharted territory. I’ve been testing the waters lately. I want to see what I can do. I’ve got a lot of stories to tell. I think that’s the part I am looking forward to the most, being able to tell the story of me — and not just me the mom or me the coworker or me the band member — just me.”
Compared to her earlier days, one of the changes she’s witnessed in the Charleston music scene is the industry beginning to realize the value women bring, not just with their talents, but with their connections and perspectives.
After feeling unheard and leaving bands in the past, she’s encouraged by the space being made for females who have stepped up. As a mother of two, she fondly recalls the child care Red’s Ice House provided when she performed in the past and is pleased similar accommodations are now more customary.
“It’s still not uncommon to be the only woman in the room, but I feel like you actually get to contribute and what you contribute is heard and weighed in.”
These days, what makes her proud is hearing her kids keep rhythm when they sing in the back seat of the car and the look on their faces when they see her up on stage.
“It makes me want to continue to always push to do more so I can show them that you can do more. The arts aren’t just a hobby. You can have a life in the arts.”