*You’ve heard of Kelvin Wooten – or perhaps more accurately, you’ve heard Kelvin Wooten. The young, dynamic multi- instrumentalist has played, written, arranged or produced for some of the biggest names in music: Earth, Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, The Bee Gees, Anthony Hamilton, Nappy Roots, Jill Scott, Macy Gray, the Isley Brothers, Tony Toni Tone and TLC to name a few.
Born in Georgia and raised in Alabama, Kelvin has spent much of the past few years in recording studios on the West Coast, often working with Raphael Saadiq and Anthony Hamilton on their productions. When not in the studio or on the road as a Music Director playing keyboards, guitar or bass, Kelvin works out of his studio in Huntsville, Alabama.
Grammy Award-winner Anthony Hamilton refers to Wooten as his “musical soul mate.” The two have collaborated on Hamilton’s last 3 albums, with Wooten producing the single “Cool”, and 3 songs on the recent Back To Love album. Wooten’s contribution to the album led to a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album. Kelvin co-wrote and produced “Freedom”, a duet by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton. “Freedom” is in Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained and on the soundtrack. In 2011, Kelvin’s production on the Jill Scott & Anthony Hamilton duet “So In Love” made history. The single remained #1 on the Urban Adult Contemporary chart for 18 weeks straight.
But the story of how Kelvin became one of the hottest young producers, songwriters, arrangers and musicians inpop, R&B, hip-hop actually begins before his life became a rush of tours, studio gigs and hanging with some of music’s most talented stars. It started, Kelvin recalls, while he was attending Alabama A&M University on a tuba scholarship.
It was his sophomore year in 1995, and Kelvin was hanging out at Eddie “Spanky” Alford’s house, doing what many musicians call “shedding” – or what Momma calls practicing.
“Raphael called when we were over there practicing,” Kelvin says, remembering it like it was yesterday. And when Saadiq heard Kelvin in the background doing his thing on guitar, he had Alford put Kelvin on the phone and offered him a job on the spot. “He was like, ‘Do you want to come out?, Do you want to come out next week?”
One phone call moved him from the Alabama A&M University marching band to ten years of steady work as a musical player, producer, arranger and composer, doing everything from playing organ on a Macy Gray song to keyboards for the Nappy Roots and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Artists know that no matter where he works from, Kelvin can deliver.
“They know I’m a one-stop shop kind of guy,” he says. “They know I can do it all.” In addition to bass, guitar and keyboards, Kelvin has held down the back beat behind a drum kit and even slipped in some tuba when he’s had a chance. (Check out “Still Ray” from Saadiq’s “Instant Vintage” CD.)
And that’s what makes Kelvin different from today’s typical cut-and-paste producers who know what to do with a computer but not with real music. “A lot of people can compose and make music from their bedrooms,” Kelvin says. But how many know how to map out a project, inspire a great performance from an artist, and lay down all the instrumental tracks? Very few can do what Kelvin can when he gets in a studio.
Still, Kelvin knows that his prowess as a multi-instrumentalist is only part of what makes him an in-demand producer and writer. He draws much inspiration from Quincy Jones and his chart-toppers like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Jones’ own “Back on the Block.”
“I don’t think Quincy played anything on those records,” Kelvin says. “But the productions are just mapped out so well. “Producing is like being a coach and all the players are the musicians.”
Elvie G PR / Arivle Media Group