There’s no doubt the music has been shaped by Black artistry and storytelling. To honor and celebrate Black History Month, The Orchard highlights the history we know and love most: music. We asked a few of our distributed artists about their most influential legacy act. See what these current creators have to say in our “Play It Back With” series. Con Killion kicks off the series, with his interview below.
R&B recording artist Con Killion, grew up in Detroit Michigan and became enthralled by music at a young age. A charismatic and motivated teen, Con Killion began developing his sultry sound. After working alongside Philup Banks, J. Reed, and Shari Marie, Con Killion released his debut album Red Flags last April.
With artists like Usher and Stevie Wonder as his inspiration, read on to learn more about Con Killion’s greatest legacy influence, why it’s important to celebrate Black History, and what he hopes to achieve through his music.
Why is it important to celebrate and honor Black History Month?
It’s important because Black History is America’s History. To not acknowledge that is simply not acknowledging the fact that Black people made America what it is today. We literally built this country with our hands.
Which Black artist was a key influence in your musical direction and career?
Luther Vandross is the key influence that made me want to sing professionally.
What about this artist really helped define your music?
He taught me that the most important instrument was my voice. He showed me a prime example of how to use your voice to paint of picture using emotions and technique.
What’s your favorite song from this artist? Why?
“Superstar” by Luther Vandross is hands down my favorite song. I remember as a kid hearing that opening line and getting goosebumps and I instantly drowned out everything around me. I have yet to hear anyone start off a song with just one note and grab my attention the way he did. I call that “magic.”
If you could ask this artist anything, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to know what was on Luther Vandross’ mind when he’s performing, because to me it always sounds like his mind was on another planet by the way he delivered his songs.
When you’re not just performing and you actually connect with the song you’ll always have people’s attention, because in that moment the people are connected to you and the story you’re telling.
Why is this artist so important to you?
Luther Vandross is so important to me simply because he taught me how to sing with emotion and intention through his music. When you’re not just performing and you actually connect with the song you’ll always have people’s attention, because in that moment the people are connected to you and the story you’re telling.
What is something you want to pass on to next generations as we remember, honor, and celebrate the legacy of Black artists?
Never overlook the music from those that came before us. Whether you do music or not, you can always learn something from them. History is like a cheat sheet for life. Be inspired by what they did right but also learn from the things that they did wrong.
How can music be used as a form of joy?
Music can be used as a form of joy because it allows you to escape from any troubles that you’re facing, or it can simply just bring back some great memories from a time in your life.
History is like a cheat sheet for life. Be inspired by what they did right but also learn from the things that they did wrong.
How do you connect with fans who say your music has helped them through 2020 or life in general?
I give them words of encouragement and I thank them for allowing me to be a positive influence in their life. There’s so many artists that they could have given their time to but they chose me and I always appreciate that.
What do you want your legacy to be as future generations listen to your music?
I want my legacy to represent someone who embraced being human first. I want my work to remind people that being perfect isn’t the goal but living a full life is. Any time I put my heart into something I give it my all no matter what obstacles I face and I just hope that people get inspired by that.