PD's MD's & Mix Show DJ's Here Is A Hot New Single From Veteran Performer
KENDRA FOSTER. Add This Record To Rotation, Mix Shows & Upcoming Mix Tapes..
As Kendra Foster circled the globe multiple times with George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, she made a few pit stops along the way—which included scooping up two Grammys for her work on D’Angelo’s Black Messiah and writing and recording a solo album infused with her heart, thoughts and musical ministry.
On the heels of her work co-writing the Grammy-winning song, “Really Love,” with D’Angelo, she is now prepared to release her songs, which she nurtured and cradled as she collaborated with legendary artists. Her soul-based fusion is peppered with jazz, funk, hip hop, rock, classical, world, electronica and gospel.
“The music sonically and subject-wise is multidimensional, like life, and soulful like the spirit resonating in it,” Kendra says. “I don’t intend to preach—my vantage point is often from conversations I’ve had with myself. But they often also relate universally to most anybody.”
In between touring and songwriting with PFunk and D’Angelo, Kendra darted to Huntsville, Alabama to create her album with producer Kelvin Wooten. “Promise to Stay Here,” her signature song, is a Chaka Khan-inspired track about an all-encompassing love that is always moments from slipping away.
“Sonically, Wooten and I usually build a song from scratch. This time, he pulled a track out of the vault and I was immediately drawn to it. I thought ‘What would Chaka do melodically?’” Kendra says. “I was in a rocky long-distance relationship and I thought of this song as the tie we hope that binds us to who we think may be our soulmate. And I called myself offering all the greatness I had to give to my loved one to stay with me.”
She first performed “Promise to Stay Here” at the legendary First Avenue club in Minneapolis, where “Purple Rain” was born, as an opening act for George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic.
“So the first time I performed the song I wrote about the dude was basically when he dropped me like a bad habit,” Kendra says, laughing.
At the same time, she was solidifying her collaboration with D’Angelo and performing her own work in Florida, her home state.
“It was high intensity,” Kendra says about the song and performance. “It was so pressure-filled from every side, from every emotion.”
That description applies to everything Kendra touches. Whether it be a love song or a socially conscious one, she gracefully brings together different elements from her musical background and her life, resulting in an irresistibly layered experience. Strong messages of heartbreak and injustice are coated with sweet melodies of hope and triumph.
Kendra wrote “Respect” in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and its bungled aftermath. The song was originally from the point of view of a woman who has had enough, but while working with Wooten, they turned it into demanding respect from society.
“We built this one from scratch, starting with my melody,” says Kendra. “Rhythmically, we incorporated the second line and some of that instrumentation, thinking about Louisiana and Katrina.”
This combination of love and social awareness reveals itself again on the eight out of 12 songs she co-wrote on Black Messiah.
“I am cause-driven and extreme injustice in my community was prevailing at an alarming rate, for a long time, untelevised—before Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the list goes on. I loved being able to address this in Black Messiah. And of course, the revolutionaries always need something to come home and make love to.”
Born in Tallahassee, Florida out of a mixed-race union that was still considered illegal in many states, Kendra sees the world through a double consciousness that she brings to her music. Florida was where her parents taught at Florida A&M University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University), where Kendra studied, and where she first encountered George Clinton. Her dogged tenaciousness finally paid off when George noticed her work ethic and talent and launched a career that is still soaring.
“I was going out on the road 85 percent of the year with PFunk,” says Kendra. “Even when I was being lightweight hazed, it was already something so surreal. It was like going to heaven and sitting around all the saints you heard about.”
Kendra recorded her first solo album, “
Since then, she has written and recorded a mountain of music, including lyrics and melodies for “A Warning For The Heart” on Sunshine Anderson’s “The Sun Shines Again,” “Glass Mountain Trust” on Mark Ronson’s “Record Collection,” “Questions” on Domo Genesis’ “Genesis,” “U Can Depend On Me,” “Trust In Yourself,” on PFunk Allstars’ “How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent,” and “Stillness In Motion” on George Clinton’s “Gangsters of Love,” “Nectar” on SubSwara’s album “Triggers,” “Step to Reality” on Serge Negri’s Bamboo Sounds, “Platinum” and “Away From The World” on Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown’s “Volume 1” ( as well as “Mantra,” the single for “Volume 2”) and a 3-Song EP “Fingerpainting” with Gordy Cox