IMG_7781.jpg

BIOGRAPHY

William Kenneth Alphin (born in Culpeper, Virginia, on November 1, 1963) Known professionally as Big Kenny, he is a singer, songwiriter, humanitarian, farmer, lover of everybody, husband, father, brother, gardener, carpenter, welder, auctioneer, Chief Imagination Officer at the University of Creativity, Producer, Muzik Mafia God Father. In 2003, He and John Rich comprise the Grammy-nominated super duo, Big & Rich, which has recorded four studio albums for Warner Bros. Records and has charted ten singles on the  Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Before Big & Rich, Big Kenny recorded a solo album, Live a Little, for Hollywood Records in 1999 (although it was not released until 2005). He founded and fronted a band called LuvjOi. Releasing 2 Independent records Luvjoi Volume 1, and Luvjoi volume 2. Some of Luvjoi‘s band members went on to work for Big and Rich 2003-2007 touring and recording. Kenny has written top 10 hits for himself as well as Tim McGraw (“Last Dollar (Fly Away)”), Gretchen Wilson (“Here For The Party”), Jason Aldean (“Hicktown”, “Armarillo Sky”). Big Kenny wrote or co-wrote a majority of all four studio albums for Big & Rich, and been named BMI’s Songwriter of the Year. As half of the Highly acclaimed duo Big and Rich, Kenny has sold in excess of five million albums. His other Project, The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy was released to country radio in 2009. His single, “Long After I’m Gone,” charted in Country top 40.

Kenny has shared the stage, and collaborated on projects with artists such as U2Jon Bon JoviGreen DayR.E.M.Christina Aguilera,AerosmithBlack Eyed PeasLenny KravitzSheryl CrowDave MatthewsTim McGrawFaith HillMartina McBrideWyclef JeanKid RockAlison KraussYoussou N’DourWillie NelsonHank Williams Jr.Keith Urban3 doors downRichie SamboraDave FosterKris KristoffersonBilly Joe ShaverJohn LegendDave FosterMumford and Sons, Chess Boxer, Lil JonDave Stewart, and Ky-mani Marley.

DSC_2746 copy.jpeg

EARLY LIFE

Kenny was born November 1st, 1963, the youngest of four children to Bill and Mary Alphin. Kenny’s youth comprised much exposure to rural life on the family’s cattle farm in Culpeper, Virginia. The Alphin family farm dates back 250 years to the Revolutionary war. In the Civil War the Alphin farm served as a hospital for both the North and South. From childhood to adulthood, Kenny along with his siblings, helped run all aspects of their farm. Allowing Kenny to absorb tremendous knowledge in building, planting, harvesting crops, and tending to all livestock.

His interest in music began to develop from the age of two through singing lessons from his mother, who was the choir director at a local church. In 1981, following his junior year of high school, Kenny attended the Virginia Summer Governor’s School for the Arts at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg to develop his artistic interests further. (17) Kenny had been nominated for the Governor’s School by three different high school faculty, a rare honor in the Culpeper County school system—namely Jane Harvey [Sisson] (art), Ashby Mitchell (mathematics), and Thomas Earles (chemistry and physics).

At the age of 14 Kenny helped build this community Volunteer Fire Department (in Salem County, VA) where he served as a volunteer Fighfighter and EMT throughout High School.  By the time Kenny graduated from high school in 1982, he had become proficient on the saxophone, in addition to showing exceptional aptitude for art, mathematics, and physics. After graduation, Kenny opened his own contracting business. Successfully growing with a reputation as a quality builder of large custom homes, subdivision’s, and business’s. However, as a result of the recession and tumbling downfall in the real estate business, in adjacent to being hit hard by the extraordinary cost of the 1980s S&L Crisis. Kenny, along with his 75 employees’ had to close their doors.

Kenny found work as a furniture and farm builder. He was approached by Ray Hubbard of Omni Construction who mentored and encouraged him to continue building. Ray partnered with Kenny to build several large commercial and residential projects through 1994. He also continued farming with his father for several years before deciding to move to Nashville for a new start.

IMG_7660.jpg

EARLY CAREER

Live_a_Little_Big_Kenny-400x400.jpg

Kenny Alphin moved to Nashville from Virginia in 1994, at the age of 29, to pursue a career as a songwriter/performer and to try his luck as a entertainer. He had been encouraged by some modest success when performing with a few local bands in Virginia. He left the construction company he had built since graduating from high school, ‘’“packed his bag & tool belt, locked the door to his house, and never looked back.”’’

Within a year Kenny landed his first publishing contract in 1995 as a songwriter at Famous Music [1]. Kenny performed regularly in and around Nashville with his-then band, “Big Kenny”.  In 1999, five years after working as a songwriter and performer, Kenny’s musical success led to a recording contract with Hollywood Records which resulted in his debut album Live a Little’‘  the following year.

He experienced brief commercial success with the release of two singles from the album, “Candy Colored Glasses” and “Under the Sun.” The video from the latter was featured on VH-1, and the single was included in the soundtrack for the film “Gun Shy” (1999), starring Sandra Bullock and Liam Neeson. Unfortunately, Hollywood Records did not release the entire album“Live a Little’ , and subsequently dropped Big Kenny from the label. The record never made it to stores. Alphin got out of the deal, yet, lost his rights to the “Big Kenny” Songs for 5 years.

mmafia.jpeg

MUZIK MAFIA

In 2001, Kenny founded the MuzikMafia with John Rich, Jon Nicholson, and Cory Gierman. The group was an eclectic mix of musicians involved in various genres of music. They originally held late shows each Tuesday at The Pub of Love in Nashville, TN. Each performance was acoustic, free-of-charge, and featured acts reminiscent of Kenny’s LuvjOi shows. These shows consisted of musicians diverse in genres, spoken-word artists, a juggler, a fire breather, and even a painter. 

Regardless of age, ethnicity, sex, gender, financial status, social ranking, or belief system welcoming everyone at performances, promoting an atmosphere of acceptance. The MuzikMafia did not promote a single musical idiom which might seem like a disqualifying factor in the industry. Their unifying trait was its diversity. The evenings roster included artists who specialized in blues, rock, pop, rap, country, bluegrass, gospel, R&B, and soul.

?Kenny wrote several of MuzikMafia’s numerous mottos; “Music without Prejudice,” and “Love Everybody.” He describes the MuzikMafia as follows:

“We’re a family; we check each other when one of us gets too far out of hand, everybody pulls them back. It’s hard to screw up with so many people behind you. It’s like a group of trees standing int he forest with their branches touching. No one tree can fall. If it does, there are trees on all sides there helping him stand tall.” 

By 2002 The Pub of Love was too small to accommodate the rapidly growing fan base of the MuzikMafia. Between 2002-2006 the group started performing in larger clubs like The Tin Roof, Two Doors Down, and The Dan McGuiness Pub. On April 6, 2004 they began performances at the Mercy Lounge till the end of 2006.

In 2004 MuzikMafia performed on several tour dates with Kid Rock. They received massive public exposure when articles were written about them in The Wall Street JournalRolling Stone MagazineThe Los Angeles TimesUS TodayEntertainment WeeklyThe TennesseanCountry Music TodayBillboard MagazineThe Washington PostBlender Magazine,Country Weekly, and The New York Times.

In the late summer of 2004, Ivan Dudynsky (producer of MuzikMafia TV) of Live Animals Productions approached the godfathers with the idea of producing a show around MuzikMafia for CMT. In 2005, the reality television show MuzikMafia TV aired. A six episode series included behind-the-scenes footage of life on the road during their first stadium tour, The American Revolution Tour (Sponsored by Chevrolet) in addition to documenting the community’s rise to national prominence. The first episode aired on CMT on January 15, 2005.

Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and members of the MuzikMafia contributed to a significant change in the Nashville commercial recording industry, selling over eleven million albums in less than five years. Final MusicMafia shows were held January 2007 at Fuel.

WE4K7373.JPG

BIG & RICH 

WE4K6504.JPG

They are America’s Technicolor cowboys, brothers-in-arms in service to the creed that great music has no boundaries. Individually, John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin are first-rate musicians, songwriters, producers and entertainers. Together, they are one of the most truly original musical forces ever unleashed on a welcoming world.

Their partnership got off to an unpromising start when Rich was hit in the face by a piece of bubble gum that Alphin threw from the stage as he scattered goodies among the small crowd at the end of one of his luvjOi concerts. A mutual friend suggested that they try writing songs together, they each broke set appointments with each other several times. “Finally, we said, ‘This is ridiculous, let’s do it one time and get it over with,’ “Rich recalled “So we wrote, it went really good, and decided ‘Let’s try another one.'” Their friend Cory Gierman, (a MuzikMafia Godfather figure) said that Alphin and Rich at first “were like two bulldogs meeting each other.”

At the time, the duo still nurtured hopes of individual solo careers. Alphin was released from Hollywood Records. His pop release Big Kenny’s Live a Little in 1999 did not take off. The new band he formed called Luvjoi made a strong Nashville impact, but not the national attention he hoped for. Rich 1992-98 was a member of Lonestar was fired in ’98. He signed to RCA as a solo artist but was dropped, by fax, before his debut album, I Pray for You (whose title track was an early Big & Rich songwriting product), was even released. Neither artist fit the clean-cut, hearth-and-home image that was favored in mainstream country music around the century’s turn.

Finally, Big Kenny and John Rich decided to embrace their outsider status rather than try to find a way around it. Rich stated: “Really, what happened was we decided to ignore the music industry and have some fun, because nothing was happening for us anyway,” “Maybe it proves that the best way to succeed is to do what you love and forget everything else everyone tells you.” Their decision took the form of the Muzik Mafia, a Tuesday-night concert series held in a questionable Nashville bar called The Pub of Love, October 23, 2001. They hit on the Mafia moniker because it described what they wanted to do: assemble a group of similarly minded musicians who would pool their interests and look out for one another.

Manager Marc Oswald suggested that Rich and Big Kenny begin recording as a duo. Rich was apprehensive at first, as he had been told by BNA staff that Kenny was “too rock for country” and was unsure of what major labels would think of Big Kenny’s rock influences. The two began recording their demo’s together, after they finished ” Holy Water“, Rich was convinced that the duo would be successful.

One Nashvillian who frequented the Muzik Mafia shows was the daughter of Warner Brothers’ Nashville executive Paul Worley; she told her father about the creativity of the Muzik Mafia artists. After Worley attended a Tuesday night show, he brought Big & Rich into his office. The duo thought that they were being summoned merely to pitch songs to country star Martina McBride, who sometimes graced Muzik Mafia stages, but they left with a Warner Brothers contract of their own. 

Their debut album Horse of a Different Color (2004) showcased a duo who were strikingly amazing together and they created something so unique, so different than traditional Nashville artists that they were either going to break out in a massive way or they were going to be misunderstood and never heard from again. Paul Worley and his team at Warner Brothers bet on the former and were rewarded when the band became the biggest buzzworthy act in country music in 15 years before.

Big & Rich has a talent for reshaping bits of songs from various genres into country compositions; Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the All Music Guide noted the strong resemblance between their debut single, the downbeat “Wild West Show,” and rock band Nirvana‘s “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle.” It was a fresh sound in a country scene dominated by romantic formulas, with Big & Rich quickly gaining new fans, inside and outside the country market. 

Billboard Magazine identified their first studio album “ Horse of a Different Color” as Number One on the Country Album chart in the issue released on 4 September 2004. This album produced four straight Top 40 country hits, including the number 11 “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)“. The album was named to the top 50 albums of 2004 by Rolling Stone Magazine issue 964/965 Dec 2004, siting “arena rock hits..” Big and Rich created a totally unique brand of country music with their debut Multi-platinum-selling project. 

Their first tour was a coveted opening spot for country superstar Tim McGraw’s 2004“ Outloud Summer tour” Tim extended the duo an invitation after listening to 3 songs from their debut project, before it released. At this point, Tim never saw Big & Rich perform. His ear for talent, and his gut knew they would be a hit, in addition to bringing new fans to the shows. The nation wide 33-city sell-out stadium summer Tour was such a major success, the tour added more dates extending well into 2005. It also solidified the beginning of the duo’s energetic critical acclaimed live shows. From 2004-present, Big and Rich garner a reputation as major stadium and arena performers. Entertaining talented musicians and artist’s who deliver a “music without prejudice” country/rock show every time.

It seems like when you put John and Kenny together and we become Big & Rich, it’s like Clark Kent walking into the phone booth and coming out a superman. We can’t explain it. It’s like a chemical reaction between Kenny and me on stage, something you can feel there.
— John Rich

Their second project Comin’ to Your City, released in November 2005, and added another top-20 single, the Vietnam War-inspired “8th of November” and two more top 40 hits. Joining the duo on this album were Cowboy TroyGretchen Wilson and Kris Kristofferson. 2007’s Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace produced the duo’s first Number One single, “Lost in This Moment“.

After selling over 5 million albums from 2004-2009 (spread over three releases, two special “Fan Packs” and a Greatest Hits album), Big & Rich took a hiatus to work on successful solo projects charting singles in the country top 40. They reunited in May 2011 to release “Fake ID“, a cut from the soundtrack to the 2011 film  Footloose. Then, 1 year later, May 2012 released a striking and well-crafted single “That’s Why I Pray” from their forthcoming fourth album. [12] [13] The single soon produced a Top 20 hit and debuted at number 24 on the country charts, the highest debut ever achieved by a duo since Nielsen BDS first tabulated the charts in 1990.[14] September 19, 2012 the Big & Rich released their much anticipated fourth album Hillbilly Jedi, produced by Dann Huff. On Hillbilly Jedi, Big & Rich received a welcome return to country music with strong reviews. Returning to form with a refreshed sound as they brought their creative A-game to this project.

Of the album title, Alphin said that it “came out in a writing session we were doing with Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi the other week. They are going to record the song on our new album and a line in the song was “hillbilly jedis with attitude.” All of a sudden, Bon Jovi stops and says, “Hillbilly Jedis? That’s it. I’d buy that shirt.” We were like, “Hey, that’s about a descriptive as you can get of what we are.” Subsequently, Jon Bon Jovi helped Big & Rich obtain permission from his friend George Lucas/Lucas Films, to secure legal use the word “Jedi” in their album title. [16]

Big Kenny and John Rich in addition to everything musical, writing or co-writing most all songs on their 4 albums, noted philanthropists and good-will ambassadors. Both remain committed and enthusiastic livers of life and givers of time, talent and fortune to great causes.

Kenny has become a world traveler, fighting poverty and supporting education through agencies including the United Nations Foundation and the Red Cross from North America to Africa. John takes part in any number of charitable outreaches, and his win on The Celebrity Apprentice brought well over a million dollars to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Those things go to the core of two men whose music and worldviews intersect seamlessly.

“We continue to try to inspire,” says Kenny. “We just try to be ourselves in a world that sometimes insinuates you shouldn’t go outside the boundaries. And now the fact that we’ve got the family thing going on has made a tremendous difference for both of us, but we’re still the same guys. I think life in general moves you forward in a positive way if you let it. Our relationship has grown more positively here than you could ever imagine. I think we just continue to grow, to respect each other more and more and respect the kind of ability we have when we’re singing together.” “We both have a lot of things that we do creatively,” adds John, “but there’s been something magical about this since the beginning. As good as we are at what we do separately; neither of us is as good as Big & Rich are together. The Big & Rich thing is like a new color in the crayon box.”

GLOTOWN

In 2009 Big Kenny started his own record label: Glotown Records. Big Kenny’s role within the label is to serve as Chief Imagination Officer while the rest of the label is composed of Bigger Pictures Entertainment, RMP Management, and CAA Booking Agency. The label was launched in an effort to make music that changes lives. Glotown’s first non-album online release, “Cry With You,” was released on February 15, 2009. After

Alphin’s solo album via the new label, “The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy,” came out in late 2009. The album peaked at No. 197 on the Billboard 200 and No. 37 on Top Country Albums the week of Nov. 28. “Long After I’m Gone,” a single from the album, hit No. 34 on Hot Country Songs.

Glotown and the Love Everybody LLC also released numerous indie singles and content. Including Big Kenny’s most recent project Electro Shine.

07-16-13_BK_ES_Promo_749.jpg

ELECTRO SHINE

Big Kenny calls it, “The New Movement of Muzika Without Prejudice.”

“I had this idea several years ago, and we started experimenting at the UofC (University of Creativity) in our mad laboratories! Insane talent crossed my path at just the right time, practically on my doorstep, as if sent by the Ultimate Creator himself! I have been on a mission since song one with this project,” said Big Kenny.” We started making Electro Shine because it just made us feel good. I figured, if it made us feel that good, it would do the same for others. I want to bring more people together in a really fun way.”

With Glotown Records the music has been released independently through internet sales, marketing, and streaming. Truly embracing the power of “new media.”

“Glotown Records is run by an eager bunch of geniuses all looking to be a beacon for creativity,” says Kenny. “It’s a singles-based label focused on artist/producer collaborations releasing only the best of the best one at a time, and continuously! And, Electro Shine leads the way on this experimental adventure!”

The University of Creativity and Last Dollar Studios attracts the greatest minds and talent from across the globe. Electro Shine has been furthered by principle contributions from “the Maestro of Electro,” and co-producer, CheBacca, also known as Che. Che has worked with acts like Lindsey Stirling, DJ Poet, MNDR, and Connor Cruise

And with the intensive collaboration of ChessBoxer, the musical duo of Ross Holmes and Matt Menefee, the music-embraced organic instruments side by side with the synthesis of EDM. Together, these three powerhouses of music create an eclectic fusion of beats, instrumentation, and feel-good lyrics. The Electro Shine sound is truly something that hasn’t been heard before from what might typically be thought of as an unlikely pairing.

The music also features other artists from multiple genre’s of music such as Ky-Mani Marley and his son; and wordsmith KJ Marley, son and grandson of reggae icon, Bob Marley; Cowboy Troy, country hick hop artist and rapper; Megan Mullins, singer, dancer, and fiddle virtuoso; as well as the magical guitar sounds of Dave Stewart, musician/songwriter/producer and one-half of British duo Eurythmics.