Some of the best musicians we’ve featured here on PensEyeView are just like sponges – they’re constantly absorbing everything, chalking it all up to experience, as well as to content. Content that is the stuff of great lyrics, great songs. Keaton Simons is always learning, and luckily for us, has every ounce of talent and more necessary to create some outstanding music – whether it’s through singing, songwriting or shredding up his guitar.
His well-crafted mix of Rock, Jazz, Blues and even Bluegrass have caught the attention of millions, especially when he performed with Snoop Dogg on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He’s also captured the attention of some the world’s top entertainers, from Coldplay and Chris Isaak to Gnarls Barkley and Mike Doughty and even worked with one of our favorite PEV alums, Josh Kelley, co-writing three of his songs on his popular new album.
And speaking of new albums, Simons new record, “Can You Hear Me,” just dropped this month. It’s one Simons can stand behind completely, one he’ll sign and send home with you with total confidence. With it, he says he was able “to get back to honest, straight-forward expression; a purity and dynamic that relied on the strength of the songs and not the added embellishment of the arrangements.” The warm, soothing tones of his live show are something to witness, and the good news is that his live performances have now become his main focus. Check out the show dates as he continues to support “Can You Hear Me.” Buy and the album and get into the XXQ’s.
XXQs: Keaton Simons
Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first get involved with playing music?
Keaton Simons: I come from a family that has a great appreciation of music so I was always immersed in it. I’ve been singing since I could talk. Started playing piano when I was very young as well.
PEV: Was being a musician something you always aspired to become? Or was it just a hobby for you?
KS: I’ve never thought of music as a hobby, but I wasn’t sure about making it a career until I was around 14.
PEV: Growing up who were listening to?
KS: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Pharcyde, Run DMC, and lots of blues.
PEV: Tell us about the first time you performed live on stage. What was going through your head
KS: I was always performing for people growing up. The first time I remember performing on stage was in 1st grade singing RAINBOW CONNECTION and I LOVED it soooo much!
PEV: What can people expect from a live Keaton Simons performance?
KS: Lots of love, warmth and guitar shredding.
PEV: Have there ever been any awkward or embarrassing times on stage yet?
KS: All the time! Come to a show and you’re bound to see something.
PEV: What can fans expect from “Can You Hear Me”?
KS: People can expect a very full and honest representation of me. I really wanted to be able to play a show and tell people with total confidence to buy my record to take ME home with them.
PEV: How is “Can You Hear Me” different from other work out today?
KS: It’s the only album coming out that’s mine. Hahaha.
PEV: Tell us about the time you appeared on Jay Leno’s TONIGHT SHOW with hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg.
KS: It was really fun! I love Snoop and really felt honored to play with him. Hope to do some collaborating with him someday.
PEV: Which artists are you currently listening to?
KS: Will Dailey, Trey Lockerbie, Lelia Broussard, Tony Lucca, Todd Cary, Josh Kelley, Curtis Peoples, Nina Storey, etc.
PEV: What up and coming artist do you think we should all be listening to now?
KS: Me (of course) and Tony Lucca.
PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best appreciation for music?
KS: That is impossible to say. There are appreciative people all over the world. It’s just a matter of gettin’ ‘em out to shows.
PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?
KS: I LOVE the road! The best and worst parts are moving through cities so quickly. It’s exciting to breeze through a place then move right on to the next. But sometimes I want to have a bit more time to get to know a place and the people there. I can fall in love with a town pretty quickly and sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. Fortunately, I will always come back.
PEV: When you are not traveling or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?
KS: Mostly writing, recording, hangin’ with my dogs (literally; not slang, haha), hiking, etc.
PEV: What’s one thing, people would be surprised to hear about Keaton Simons?
KS: I’m not sure. I’m kind of an open book. You tell me.
PEV: When you sit down two write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?
KS: Whatever is around! I love writing everywhere.
PEV: In one word, describe Keaton Simons.
PEV: How have all your friends and family back home reacted to your success?
KS: Everyone has been amazingly supportive and increasingly excited. I’m a lucky boy!
PEV: What has been the best part of your career for you so far?
KS: Learning about people, the universe and myself.
PEV: So, what is next for Keaton Simons?
For more information on Keaton Simons, check out www.KeatonSimons.com
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