KAMAU SEITU is a Grammy nominated songwriter a gifted musician/guitarist, singer and producer.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Kamau was born to make music! At the tender age of 6 years old, music beckoned him to come and play! From humble beginnings… an old upright piano meant for his elder sister became the gateway to the unfolding of his musical gifts. He immediately began to pick out notes by ear and little melodies began to blossom. But while the piano was the initial instrument that made its presence known to this young child, it was the trumpet that first stole his heart!
At the age of 9, an old trumpet belonging to his elder brother Bobby was retrieved from the attic at Big Mama’s house… thus began the quest to find his voice in the sound of the trumpet. From that moment on, Kamau’s thirst for music was born through the intense study of the sounds of Hugh Masakela, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard and then… the musical genius of his idol – Miles Davis!
Kamau, so enthralled by Miles’ brilliant ability to savor every note… never wasting one, yet speaking volumes from the heart of his soul, lead him to leap forward early in his young life with many outstanding musical accomplishments. By the age of 13 he had his very own band, The Nobles, playing talents shows. At the ripe old age of 15, Kamau was asked to join a group of older musicians in their twenties called the Soultones. They were later joined by 2 other youngsters – Ray Parker Jr. (Ghostbusters Theme) and Kevin Toney (Donald Byrd’s - The Blackbirds). All three confident teens were eager to play and eager to put their mark on the city. These guys rocked the music scene… playing local bars, nightclubs and cabarets (though all three were underage) while backing many of Motown’s finest recording artists in the metro Detroit area.
Kamau’s quest for musical excellence continued as he built a strong musical foundation throughout his high school years at Cass Technical High School (considered one of the very best music schools in the nation.) Cass readied him for the next major step onward and upward by preparing him for acceptance into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Berklee provided the tools needed to thoroughly express his musical imagination by honing his skills in the areas of Arranging and Composition.
On summer breaks from Berklee, Kamau was fortunate enough to be mentored by the late great Marcus Belgrave, who is considered one of the great jazz trumpeters of his time… forgoing touring with Charles Mingus and Ray Charles; Marcus chose instead to mentor a multitude of young Detroit talents for many decades such as saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Gerald Albright, violinist Regina Carter and trumpeter Rayce Biggs. “Marcus taught me to take the tools I learned at Berklee and find my own musical voice within the structure,” says Kamau. Marcus would say, “Trust your own ears. What you hear from the inside is your TRUE VOICE. ALWAYS express that!”
Next chapter… Los Angeles, CA. With music skills razor sharp and a thirst to leave his mark upon the world, Kamau’s smooth, yet brash trumpet tone (a blending of his musical idols Miles Davis and Hugh Masakela) brought him to the attention of Hollywood’s elite. Soon he was touring the world with major international recording artists and writing songs for many top industry artists such as Diana Ross, Johnny Mathis, Cheryl Lynn, The Spinners, Michael Henderson, Case, LaToya Jackson and many more. Kamau received a GRAMMY nod for a song he wrote for Diana Ross - ‘Your Love Is So Good For Me.’
As songwriting became a major focus, Kamau found himself increasingly drawn to the guitar as a writing tool. In the transition from trumpet to guitar, Kamau called upon his old friend Ray Parker Jr. who gave him his first guitar lesson. "Ray showed me picking techniques, barre chords and a few major and pentatonic scale positions and then said," "You know the rest.” Kamau then dedicated himself to the strict diligence of wood shedding with the desire to make the guitar his primary musical voice; resurfacing years later as a guitarist with a sound uniquely his own.
Around that time, Kamau was introduced to a beautiful young lyricist named Dorie Pride. He saw she had a gift for words and decided to give her some of his music tracks to work on… It was a match made in music heaven and a great partnership and true friendship was born. Over time, their relationship blossomed into love and marriage.
With Kamau ever evolving and expanding his musical scope as musician, singer and songwriter, soon the producer chair had his name etched on it. MCA Records and Arista Records intrigued by his singer/songwriting skills gave him an opportunity to write and produce alongside Andre Fischer and Ray Parker Jr. That experience opened the door of Kamau’s creative appetite to continue to master the skill set of Producer. Dorie Pride’s Debut Album - LIFE’S JUST A COLOR TV and her latest effort - LOVE WILL FIND A WAY were brilliantly produced, arranged and co-written by Kamau.
Kamau’s album – GO DOWN EASY… written, arranged, produced and performed by Kamau Seitu is available now.