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Life & Work with Isiah Kendall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Isiah Kendall.

Hi Isiah, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
It all started with a keyboard I got from a garage sale when I was 17. I always loved R&B music and was inspired by artists such as Musiq Soulchild and Omarion.

I began to teach myself how to play the piano and learn about scales and chords.

I went off to college, I shortly realized that I wanted to play an instrument that was more portable.

After coming across a little money, I decided to make one of my greatest investments, an acoustic guitar.

I found a website that taught guitar lessons for beginners and would watch hours of tutorial videos on youtube. I wanted to soak up as much knowledge as I could in order to get to my dream of playing the R&B music I heard on the radio.

After about 3 months of consistent practice of 15 minutes a day, I started noticing a clear difference in my ability to play. I had mastered the basics of beginner chord changes and was starting to feel more comfortable with how the instrument felt.

I wanted to share my knowledge with the world, but bring something different at the same time. I noticed Youtube did not have a strong presence of tutorials for R&B played on the guitar. It was always explained on the piano. I knew this would be my niche. I began to learn popular R&B songs on the guitar and little by little I was able to complete full-length tutorials on how to play them correctly.

My big break came when a popular YouTuber did a guitar cover of John Legend’s song “Ordinary People.” I knew a lot of people would want to learn how to play his version of it, so the same day his cover came out, I started making my tutorial for it on guitar.

Overnight, it went viral. I had thousands of views on it when I woke up in the morning and my subscriber count had jumped a few hundred. I knew I was on to something at this point.

I continued to learn popular R&B songs by artists such as Usher, Boys 2 Men, and B2k on guitar played correctly, something unheard of at the time. (even still today). One day, I saw an ad in the Guitar Center Magazine that was holding a music competition.

Even though I didn’t think I was ready (was playing for about 3 years at this point) I decided to submit some of my work (Cover of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion) and I ended up winning the competition. They put me in the October issue of the magazine and let me pick out any guitar I wanted from the inventory. It was an amazing experience.

Aside from my YouTube channel growing exponentially, many adventures and opportunities branched from that over the years. Such as placing in national competitions and joining a local band for a few years. After 13 years of playing guitar, a new interest began to form. Music composing for tv, trailers, and movies.

I always loved the music I would hear in movie trailers. I didn’t know how to go about getting into composing the music for it though. Much like my approach to guitar, I began to study and research everything I could about this genre of music. I dedicated time to learning about trailer music each day.

In October of 2021, I entered my very first trailer music competition. It was Halloween-themed. I didn’t place in this competition, however, I met some great friends along the way. As a group, we continued to help each other out and work together to get better. Another competition came out and we decided to enter.

We ended up placing in the Top 3 out of over 500 entries! This opened the door to the Trailer Music Industry for me. From that, has stemmed Feature film scoring projects, tracks published/pitched to the industry and so much more in the works!

I aim to continue to grow in this field and make a name for myself. One of my favorite quotes is “The journey will always be your journey.” I believe composing music for trailers, movies, and tv is my true purpose and passion. My musical journey thus far has been my path to getting here right on time.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Whether it was learning piano, guitar, or composing music for film, the beginning is always the hardest part.

It’s discouraging and overwhelming when you first start out. It’s like learning a new language. It doesn’t matter how old you are though. I started learning guitar at 18.

What matters is your dedication to your craft. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. I got through my struggles by keeping the purpose/goal in mind.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I actually went to school for Biomedical Engineering and currently work as a Software Validation Engineer in the Medical Device world! I’m most proud of my ability to adapt to situations and problem solve.

I have a keen ability for attention to detail, which is critical in my line of work. I would say this sets me apart from my peers.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
In my spare time, I also enjoy cooking. It’s like art to me in its own way. All the flavors come together to make a great-tasting meal. Much like composing music.

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