KC talks about new album and the new fan base at Pandora
The iconic KC and The Sunshine Band rolled out their newest release, Feeling You!, a collection of TOP 40 Hits from the 60’s that takes on the decade that shaped America during the Vietnam War, Civil Rights and the landing on the moon.
AM Radio’s Top 40 format featured everything from Swamp Pop to Motown to the British invasion and this was during the formative years of Harry Wayne “KC” Casey. KC would go on to forge a change in the musical landscape.
Feeling You! features songs by sixties legends like Ben E. King, The Righteous Brothers, Jackie DeShannon, Aaron Neville and others. KC says this new album stems from an inspiration to pay tribute to those songs who helped shape him into the revolutionary artist he is today.
BMI recently honored KC and The Sunshine band with a coveted Million Airplay Award, as well as an outstanding 2014 Urban Pop Award, recognizing their revolutionary impact on modern pop music since the 70s. The presentation took placed just before the March release date of their latest album.
KC & The Sunshine Band were in preparations for an upcoming tour when KC sat down with The Nashville Bridge to talk about the new album and how to get music out into the public conscience both digitally as well as a future vinyl release.
Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: On the new album, how was it to record the songs that were part of your formative times?
KC: I feel right now the way I felt about them then over the last 60 some odd years, some of them were done because they were fun songs and they were good positive energy and I thought it would be great to have them on the album, not just on the album but, to do live. Other songs have a more personal connection to me. There are a couple on there, that I did, that have a slight political undertone on them.
TNB: Okay, you did Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” and that was a protest song back in the Sixties.
KC: Correct, it is so appropriate for what is going on right now.
TNB: You got some good reviews on “Stand By Me.” What was your favorite track to work on?
KC: They were all fun to work on. I don’t know if I have a favorite. I do “Stand By Me” and “Bring It On Home” is definitely the Sam Cooke song. It was my favorite song to do. I love really doing “You Really Got A Hold On Me” also.
TNB: What do you think is the difference between now and then to get a hit? Is it just money?
KC: I think there is a lot more money behind records today. First of all [back then] you had to be able to sing on key. It had to be a great song. I don’t know if it is easier now. It was easier to know if you had a great song back then. Now, you have so many more opportunities to get your music out. You don’t have to depend on one person deciding your future.
TNB: Back then you had been working as a session guy and eventually got the opportunity to take a chance on your own ideas.
KC: Yes. I didn’t really have anybody telling me yay or nay. You are absolutely right. I set out to change things. I set out to put out a different kind of music. I just wanted to put out an album with high energy and something that people could just enjoy at a party or feel good about playing the entire side A to side B and that is kind of how it all really started. You know, the only master plan that I had was to create this high energy up tempo music, you know, the groove.
TNB: I know you are getting ready to tour. How big of a band do you tour with? The Sunshine Band used to be 11 members.
KC: There are 15 of us on the stage at all times. There are 20 of us that travel together.
TNB: That’s fantastic and you said you are doing “Stand By Me” in the new set?
KC: I do “Stand By Me” and “Bring It On Home To Me” live now. We just went into rehearsals and will add a few more songs.
TNB: I’d love to hear you do “Tell It Like It Is.”
KC: Oh yeah, it sounds great live.
TNB: Are you releasing this worldwide or just in the U.S.?
KC: It’s worldwide.
TNB: So by the time you get to like China I guess they have it available through like Amazon or would that be digital distribution at that point?
KC: It’s mostly digital. We will have hard copies at the show. A record [vinyl] version will be coming out.
TNB: I was going to ask you about the vinyl because it would be fun to even put out a seven inch.
KC: Sure. I know that “You Keep Me Hanging On” on this album is #17 on the Dance Charts. It came in at #24 and then it went to number 17 so we are getting some dance play off of this album. I am speaking to management and stuff today. We need to get a single off of this and get it on the radio stations.
TNB: It would be cool to see a limited release on Record Store Day.
KC: Yeah. I wish that was happening. That would be awesome.
TNB: Nowadays, getting music out and getting paid for it presents a lot of opportunities.
KC: I think there are some opportunities for soundtracks, motion pictures. There is still a chance that somebody might want to use the songs that I have done in a commercial. Of course, I didn’t write the songs on this project but there is still a lot of opportunity with even the music of this album for sync licenses and stuff. It will be interesting to see where it all goes.
TNB: Everything goes in cycles and performers like Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones highlight music right before you originally hit.
KC: I know. I feel like I’m on the verge of that cycle. I was just at Pandora music and learned that 71% of our listeners in the last 30 days were in the 18-24 age demographic and 11% were between ages 8-18. My percentage was way above the average Pandora percentage which was 63%.
TNB: I think it’s cool that they are searching and finding KC & The Sunshine Band.
03.20 Hard Rock Hotel and Casino / Hollywood, FL
03.21 Seminole Casino Immokalee / Immokalee, FL
03.26 Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino / Lemoore, CA
04.11 Busch Gardens / Tampa, FL
04.18 Seven Feathers Casino – Grand Ballroom / Canyonville, OR
04.19 Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom / Snoqualmie, WA
07.04 A Capitol Fourth Independence Day / Washington, DC
07.11 Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheatre / Peachtree City, GA
07.17 Three Rivers Festival / Ft. Wayne, IN
07.25 Burton Chace Park / Marina Del Rey, CA
08.08 Tropicana / Atlantic City, NJ
08.20 Indiana State Fairgrounds / Indianapolis, IN
08.22 Delta Downs – Delta Center / Vinton, LA
08.28 Monticello Grand Casino / Santiago, Chile
08.29 Monticello Grand Casino / Santiago, Chile
10.03 University of Buffalo Stadium / Buffalo, NY
– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN thenashvillebridgeathotmailddotcom