Electronic house music is not New Orleans' best known export. Kenneth Bryan, known as Kynt, may be New Orleans' only documented male house singer.
"My version of house is repetitious but complex," Kynt says. "It's vocal, tribal, with full choruses, storylines and plots based on my personal experiences." Unlike many artists, says Kynt, "I write and sing songs."
Kynt also is a trained dancer. He studied ballet at Loyola University. That training gives him something many electronic artists lack: stage presence.
"My shows are full of real singing and dancing," he says. "And big elaborate costume changes."
Bryan had a rocky childhood and lived at Father Flanagan's Boys' Town. He was a drum major and choreographer for his high school marching band, and he snuck out at night to go to now-defunct black, gay dance clubs. On the dance floor he discovered himself and his talents.
In 1992, Kynt began recording and performing his own high-energy dance music, mixing house with a little R&B.
Kynt was one of the first MP3.com artists to reach No. 1 on its charts. Inclusion on a compilation by EMI Germany led to prominent use by DJs Junior Vasquez and Roger Sanchez, who spun Kynt's underground hits including "Show Da DJ Some Luv," "Adrenaline" and "Makes Me Hot." Following the success of those songs, Kynt moved to New York, but it wasn't the perfect fit he expected.
"I found it was easier to do all my music here in New Orleans and then just fly up there," he says.
After he returned home, Kynt learned a hard lesson about the competitive nature of the business.
"I had gone to Brazil to record five demo songs," he says. "Soon after, (Brazilian duo) Altar and Jeanie Tracey re-recorded one of those songs, 'Party People,' without my permission." The song hit the Billboard charts, and found its way onto more than 20 compilations. "It was like watching my dream come true, but for someone else," he says. "And that really made me reclusive for a while."
Kynt settled down in New Orleans as a ballet and hip-hop dance instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind, as well as for Loyola University, New Orleans Ballet Association and several other organizations.
"I purposefully tried to keep myself out of music, for healing purposes," he says. "I didn't want to perform at all."
Only recently has Kynt, now 36, returned to the stage for performances at Oz and a benefit show at The Howlin' Wolf. Kynt will perform several shows in November to celebrate his self-released comeback album The Whole World is a Stage.
Kourtney Heart | New Orleans Punk | KYNT | King Louie Bankston