MULTI-AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER KITT WAKELEY EXCLUSIVELY PREMIERES “CONFLICTED” Feat. JOE SATRIANI
MULTI-AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER KITT
WAKELEY ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF NEW
ALBUM, ‘SYMPHONY OF SINNERS AND
SAINTS,’ OUT MAY 21, 2021
Multi-award-winning producer and composer Kitt Wakeley announces his new genre-defying album featuring Joe Satriani, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Voices Choir, Dallas All-Star Gospel Choir and more recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London; Wakeley to be inducted into the Indie Music Hall Of Fame in 2021
Producer and composer Kitt Wakeley announce the independent release of his new album, ”Symphony of Sinners and Saints,” set to drop Friday, May 21, 2021, while the celebration of the new release will be that evening at 7 p.m., at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. The red carpet event will include a full stage production and show that promises to entertain while giving the audience a chance to celebrate the new music in a socially-distanced concert environment. Tickets will range between $35 – $75 and will be on sale here. “Symphony of Sinners and Saints” is a follow up to Wakeley’s album ”Midnight in Macedonia,” and features legends like Joe Satriani, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dallas All-Star Choir, and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. The music can be described as “orchestral rock,” a hybrid of rock, classical, piano and electronica that spans across genres and could appeal to any audience. This spring, Wakeley will be inducted into the Indie Music Hall Of Fame during the 2021 Indie Music Channel Awards ceremony at The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, where Kitt will be attending and accepting his award person. For more information on Kitt Wakeley, see http://www.kittwakeley.com.
We caught up with Kitt to get his take on this unique project and how 2020 the year that never was for the industry impacted the process:
Firstly, for anyone unfamiliar with yourself give us a brief insight into all things Kitt Wakeley.
First and foremost, I am a husband and father who happens to love to compose, produce and record music. I am blessed to have an affection for all kinds of music styles and genres. Whether it is pop music from the 80s, 90s and today, hard rock or epic film scores, I am blessed to have numerous influences on my writing today. It allows me to produce for other artists on a wide range of projects, but more importantly, it has allowed me to develop my own hybrid of orchestra, rock, EDM, piano. The result is an epic cinematic sound much like what you will hear in film trailers and movie scores.If you like music that touches all your senses, you will love my new album. When taking this kind of passion for my music to places like Abbey Road Studios in London, using world renown orchestras and the best of the best rock musicians, as well as the best mixing and mastering engineers, I know that I have brought something special for the listener.
Where did your own love of music come from and who inspired you to want to follow in their footsteps.
Obviously, having a love for music itself, was the first step in the process, but the conduit for that love of music was fostered by 2 incredible music teachers and mentors. However, it was the support and discipline that my parents instilled in me for practice and hard work that allowed me to capitalize on this passion.
You may have noticed 2020 was a bit of a strange year, how were you directly impacted by the pandemic professionally and how do you see the future of the industry on the exit from the pandemic. Did this time allow you to step back at all or was it an opportunity to grab and work on projects that normally are pushed aside due to hefty work schedules?
Like so many other artists, Covid was a smack to the face. Momentum was building from my last album, Midnight in Macedonia, shows were selling out, and more shows were being scheduled. A week before my Carnegie Hall performance I got the call that all shows were being cancelled and the dominos for other performances fell just like it did for so many other artists. The idea of performing music live in front of an audience became an abyss. Believe it or not, Covid did have its blessings for creativity.I got more phone calls to produce music for other artists during that period than ever before. At the same time, it gave me a chance to focus on my new album, Symphony of Sinners & Saints.In fact, it gave me the bandwidth to write some of the most mature orchestral arrangements and choir parts that gels seamlessly with my love for rock music.
You undertook quite the challenge under the current circumstances with your latest project Symphony of Sinners & Saints, how was that experience navigating it in such challenging times.
Covid actually gave me the time to focus on the music more than ever with this album. Unfortunately, everything became a logistical nightmare afterwards.Abbey Road was on lockdown for a temporary period.Yet, when they did reopen, we had to navigate all the recording sessions, keeping social distancing in mind.Just think what it is like to coordinate over 100 instrumentalists and choir members to record an album while exercising safe social distancing. Fortunately, I had an incredible conductor, tremendous orchestral players, and a team of engineers that worked their craft beautifully.In the meantime, recording tracks for piano, guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards was easier but it still had a few challenges.As with any project when it comes to mixing and mastering, I worked with the same team for many years, therefore, putting the finishing touches on the project was pretty smooth.
Symphony of Sinners & Saints is a sonic landscape of two worlds colliding and you have brought in none other than the majestic Mr Joe Satriani on two tracks, how did this collaboration come about and what was it about Joe that made him your go-to man.
Throughout the process of writing this album, I gave more attention to detail than ever before when it came to calls and responses between different instrument sections, harmonies, string runs, arpeggiations, and all the ear candy which made the songs come to life. What I didn’t want to do is have the rock music inadvertently distract from my efforts of orchestral arrangements. When you consider a genius like Joe Satriani, how clean his tone is, how meticulous he plays, incredible creativity, and his keen sense for knowing when the orchestra needs to breathe versus the glory of his guitar, he is the obvious choice for a project like this. The end result is pure Satriani magic.
Does the latest project represent a shift in direction at all in your style or process, or is it just a reflection or a snapshot in time of where you are now?
I don’t look at it as a shift, rather as an ever-evolving process.I learn from each project and try to build on that each time I write something new. I feel as though each song that I write and each album that is crafted that my writing gets more mature. There is no doubt that I learn from my mistakes while building on my strengths.
What would be your advice for any musicians out there who are navigating these strange waters and, in a world, consumed by social media and its endless metrics and measuring sticks what should the modern-day musician use as a gauge of their success that still allows them to breathe and evolve?
I think sometimes as musicians or artists we inadvertently come across as being victimized.There is no doubt that the obstacles are bigger, the revenue is lower, and the competition for our music to be heard is thicker than ever.It’s nothing new to know that social media is another factor in how we navigate our careers but the speed at which it evolves only complicates things more. So, we not only have to be musicians, we have to be entrepreneurs and be diligent with all paths to get our music heard.Focusing on our craft while navigating all that is necessary to be heard, maybe a challenge but not insurmountable if it is what we love to do.
“I knew I wanted to do something bigger and better than the last project, I wanted the writing to be more intelligent,” said Kitt Wakeley. “I’m big into call and responses between instruments and I wanted to build on that. At the same time, I wanted to add more colour to the harmonies and give more depth to the string arpeggiations. And finally, I wanted more fills, ear candy and movement from various instruments so that you can hear something different, almost every time you hear the album.”
With his newest album, Kitt Wakeley seeks to give his audience a spectacle. The record connotes dissonance throughout – between the sainthood of a symphonic orchestra with the sin of rock and electronic music – and contains counter-melodies within each song depicting constant friction between the band, choir, brass, strings and within the sections themselves. Inspired by an encounter in the wild of nightlife when Wakeley heard the classic, “O Fortuna,” by Carmina Burana remixed heavily into electronic dance music, he was moved to capture the drama, the chaos, the insanity of the combination of music’s classical past and experimental future.
The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, engineered by Lewis Jones; engineered and mixed by Tre Nagella at Luminous Studios in Dallas, Texas; and produced by Kitt Wakeley and co-produced by Tre Nagella. Players on the record include Kitt Wakeley on synths and piano, Joe Satriani on guitar, Paul Lumis on piano, Paige Harwell on guitar, Daniel Uribe on guitar, Ryan Miller on bass, Brent Berry on drums and Cliff Masterson conducting. Additionally, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Voices Choir and Dallas All-Star Gospel Choir played a major role in the recording of the “Symphony of Sinners and Saints.” Wakeley’s counterparts on the album also utilized their private home studios to record various sections of the record. For example, Joe Satriani recorded from his home studio in Los Angeles, Daniel Uribe recorded from Columbia, Paige Harwell recorded at her home studio in Oklahoma City, and Wakeley has emulated his home studio setup from some of the best workstations he’s seen at other studios.
About Joe Satriani
For three decades, the guitar virtuoso has travelled the world, playing to sold-out crowds as both a headliner and as the founder of the all-star “G3” guitar extravaganza. SATRIANI’s studio and live recordings have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide to date and of his many solo albums, two have gone platinum and four others went gold, with 15 Grammy nominations between them. His side project, Chickenfoot, featuring former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar, former bassist Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith saw their debut album certified gold and their second studio album debuted at #9.
“It was a thrill to record the Orchestra and Choir for Kitt on his new Saints & Sinners project,” said Lewis Jones, Abbey Road Studios. “Rousing orchestral melodic lines, Phat Beats and electrifying guitars all combining to create these HUGE tunes. It’s always nice to work on a project that is solely music and especially so working alongside Kitt. A true gent.”
“Kitt’s compositions are a fantastically energetic journey through an incredibly creative, sonic landscape,” said Cliff Masterson, Conductor for the Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic. “The perfect blend of rock guitars, synths, choir and full symphony orchestra elevate these tracks to instant ‘hairs on the back of the neck’ territory. The RPO played brilliantly and I could tell they were thoroughly enjoying every minute of these sessions.”
“‘Sinners and Saints’ blur the lines between movie soundtrack and hard rock album, going from gorgeous orchestrations to heavy guitar riffs and thundering drums,” said Tre Nagella, Luminous Studios, three-time Grammy-winning Producer/Engineer. “It’s a genre of its own.”
At 17, Kitt Wakeley was playing proms, dances, special events and had a song on the top radio stations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, all leading quickly to a passionate life of playing clubs, writing, recording and touring. Wakeley was soon hired to write the intro for one of Oklahoma’s top radio DJ’s shows, connecting him with other local work for television broadcasts, sports hype videos and eventually for advertising companies. As licensing opportunities started to become consistent, Wakeley’s music morphed into a hybrid of his electronic and rock inspirations. Falling deeply in love with his newfound creation, Wakeley decided to record an album in this style under the moniker “AudioKaoz,” which the producer he was working with liked so much he submitted it for Grammy consideration. This was a great move in Wakeley’s establishment as an artist, allowing him to join The Recording Academy and then become a voting member of the Grammys. Eventually, these connections harnessed inspiration for Wakeley’s second album, and the humbling ability to work with musicians from around the globe.
Throughout the course of his career, Wakeley has amassed eight Indie Channel Music Awards, including Producer of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, two ISSA for Album of the Year and Producer of the Year, two Josie Music Awards for Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year and a Hollywood Music and Media Awards (HMMA) for Best Gospel Song of the Year. And in 2021, he will be inducted into the Indie Music Hall Of Fame.
When Wakeley isn’t writing for himself, he is producing pop, rock and country music for other artists who are featured on various streaming sites and retail outlets. He finds satisfaction in seeing or hearing the appreciation and excitement of the artists when he has finished a project on their behalf. Finding himself in contact with many potential collaborators, he’s been fortunate to pick the kinds of projects to produce on his terms. Working with musicians from around the world allows him to collaborate with those who provide the same magic for the biggest artists in the industry – these names include Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, Motley Crue, Michael Jackson, Eminem, Steve Vai, Dr Dre and many many more.
The “Symphony of Sinners and Saints” tracklist is as follows: