By Sarah Badran
Classic soul artist Kirk Thurmond and his band The Millennials are gearing up for their first national tour after releasing their debut single “Break Free” on Dec. 11. Dallas bred, singer-songwriter and guitar aficionado Thurmond teamed up with six band members to form Kirk Thurmond & The Millennials in November 2013 after crushing it at a one-time show at The Prophet Bar following the release of two soulful albums on his own.
With a dynamic live show, full of a silky smooth blend of rhythm and blues, soul and pop, the group currently is planning its first national tour which is sure to make Kirk Thurmond & The Millennials a nationally-known name. If you haven’t heard of the group yet, or seen it live, you’re missing out.
“Putting this band together has been my greatest musical achievement thus far,” said Thurmond.
By joining forces with a band of up-and-coming local musicians who form The Millennials, Thurmond was able to take his music to the next level with Gino Iglehart on percussion, Mike Clowes on electric guitar, Cris Brenham on keys, Jay Sandford on bass guitar, and Jamall Houston and Chanese Jones on background vocals by his side.
After two years touring locally as a group, the band found synergy on-stage and played a seamless sold-out show with Grammy-nominated R&B artist Emily King at The Prophet Bar last October.
In an exclusive interview, Thurmond told The Blitz that the group recently signed with AGD Entertainment, a Nashville-based booking agency, and is taking off on a cross-country tour starting this February. The tour will wrap up in Dallas with a blow-out show during the band’s official album release party on March 12 at Oak Cliff’s Spinster Records.
Charley Crockett has joined the bill for that night. He is a local blues artist who recently was crowned “Best Blues Act” by Dallas Observer for this year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards.
Thurmond initially started as a percussionist playing in his high school band before exploring other instruments like the piano and guitar. He started gigging around age 15 and worked his way to opening for acts such as Jason Castro, Ryan Cabrera and Mike Deleasa of the Jonas family crew. He honed his craft while studying percussion at Abilene Christian University and credits Earth, Wind and Fire, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder as his musical idols.
Thurmond’s smooth and silky vocals are now complemented by his soulfully talented group The Millennials and the group is quickly gaining attention, landing it a nomination for “Best R&B/Funk Act” in this year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards.
“People only take you as serious as you take yourself,” Thurmond notes about his experience in the music industry thus far. “Always come with most genuine offering you can give and that will bring more success than you can imagine. My motto is: be creative and work hard.”
That mentality has pushed Thurmond to new limits in his musical career, moving him to team up with some of the best producers and instrumentalists in the city. It seems his hard work is finally paying off through landing this national tour.
On “Break Free,” Kirk Thurmond & The Millennials showcase a unique sound that perfectly blends Thurmond’s soulful vocals with thrilling guitar riffs. It’s a fresh take on old school soul. His lyrics, thoughtfully written, are based on his own experiences, politics, relationships, and what’s troubling him in the world around him. If the full-length “People Change” is anything like the single, you can look forward to more tracks highlighting Thurmond’s strength as a songwriter.
“I like to push messages that bring fulfillment to my listeners, like having a support system or someone to relate to,” said Thurmond of the songwriting process.
Check the group out at its official album release party at Oak Cliff-based indie record shop Spinster Records on March 11 from 8 p.m.-midnight. The album release party also will feature a surprise headliner to be announced. We can’t wait to find out who that is. You can keep up with the group through the group’s website ktammusic.com.
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