*There’s a good chance that you’ve never heard the music of singer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist Khari Rhynes. He is not an R&B, soul, or hip-hop artist but has creative flavors that touch and totally re-create music from those genres. So who is Khari Rhynes, and what kind of music does the artist play?
“I would call my music alternative rock,” Rhynes told EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey in a recent interview. “There is a certain element of that, but I understand when someone hears my music, and my voice is a little bit different. People hear me, and it’s something different from what they’ve heard before.”
Alternative rock is a category of rock music that emanated from independent underground music that began in the 1970s and morphed over the decades. It’s not mainstream or commercial rock and far from pop music.
MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Low WNBA Salaries Linked to Brittney Griner’s Detainment in Russia on Drug Charges
Growing up in Los Angeles, Rhynes couldn’t escape the music his parents played at home, which included “Earth, Wind & Fire,” Stevie Wonder, James Brown, “The Parliaments,” “The Isley Brothers,” and the list goes on.
“I’ve always been around the music of R&B and soul artists, but I wanted to do something different and more interesting,” Rhynes said. “When I was younger, that music sounded cool. But I wanted to do something that I would be wowed by.”
A turning point in Rhynes’ life came when he was 12 years old. His father took him to a Barnes and Noble in Southern California, picked out, purchased, and took home a Jimi Hendrix CD for his son to hear.
“I liked it,” said Rhynes. “It was really cool. I learned to play guitar and wanted to do something more in the vein of Rock& Roll. I got with my friends and began playing rock music that was popular, but Jimi Hendrix and Good Charlotte are my earliest influences. ”
Rhynes said in his teen years he played in punk bands where there was a lot of screaming when singing. While he didn’t like the screaming element of singing, he ultimately sought other styles within the rock realm of music.
“I had to learn how to use my voice in a certain way that was not only soulful and from the roots of my childhood but also the things that I was ingesting as a young adult,” Rhynes said. “But at first, my singing voice didn’t match the intense rock music I was playing. It’s been a consistent journey to blend the two, but through trial and error, I’ve gotten to the point where I can do it consistently.”
While people often think of white bands and musicians when they hear the term rock & roll and alternative rock, Rhynes doesn’t see it that way.
“Anyone who knows their history about Rock & Roll knows that it was an African American sound,” he said. “It comes from Blues. It’s a derivative of our African American culture, but it’s for everyone; it’s colorless music.”
Today, Rhynes has masterfully incorporated all the music he heard growing up and as an adult. Yet, his style and brand of music are unique. According to the singer and guitarist, he doesn’t sound like anybody recording. And Rhynes likes it that way. Nevertheless, he’s often told that he sounds like Prince on some of his (Rhynes) songs. When asked by Bailey if it bothers him that people make such a comparison, Rhynes gave a straightforward answer.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Rhynes said. “My goal is to sound like 100% of me, but when people tell me that I sound like this artist or that artist, it gives me the indication that there’s something good that they like about my music. But at the end of the day, I want them to hear me through the music I play and through my personal journey.”
Rhynes is proud of his innovative music through Faunavision, a solo project. The music and videos are from what he sees life in the big city entailing but through the artist’s creative and highly imaginative lens.
From his solo project, Rhynes has recorded numerous songs, including the single “Plight.” The song, according to Rhynes, was written and recorded to carry someone through pain and suffering. Other songs from the Faunavision project include “Hers,” “The Outsider,” “Gnashville,” “Salsbury Park,” “Prom Night,” “Senorita,” among others.
The videos to the songs are animated and feature skulls, skeletons, and other elements or images that some people may find hard to understand.
“I know some people get a little taken back by the animated videos,” said Rhynes. “But each animation is a different part of a story about three characters and what they go through in life in Quilt City, which is the world that they live in. Each song is a soundtrack to what they go through.”
Rhynes’ goal is for his music to be heard by more people, but it most likely will be done independently versus signing with a record label.
“I’d been in contact with labels about recording deals,” Rhynes said of pre-pandemic talks. “However, I’ve taken the independent route of getting my music out to the people. I took the money that I had saved to market and fund my music myself. As it gets more people’s attention, more people will want to get behind what I’m doing musically, but I’m enjoying the ride and seeing where it takes me.”