Meet Kenneth Kellogg
How has your relationship with OP influenced/impacted your career?
Opera Parallele has played some significant roles in my career. Firstly, working with OP has the feeling of making music with your friends. The Willie Nelson song lyric, “the life I love is making music with my friends,” describes my experience with OP. Secondly, OP gave me my first opportunity to sing a leading role. They trusted me to take on the role of Emile Griffith in Terence Blanchard’s Champion, Opera in Jazz, and it was the first time I was able to really let go as an artist and discover what it meant to dive into a piece beyond my own comfort level. I took the lessons I learned from working with OP and used them when considering possible people I work with and productions.
How has fatherhood influenced the music you’ve chosen for the Close-Up recital repertoire?
Becoming a parent changes you, and I’m sure the change is different for mothers and fathers. Becoming a dad made things that were in front of my face present themselves in new, sometimes exciting, but also dangerous ways. I was told once by a mentor, “you’ll never know real love until you see your child’s face for the first time.” I found this to be very true in my case. The same goes for music and poetry. A chord you’ve heard a thousand times can sound different when your heart is different. It was like that with these songs. Choosing them wasn’t easy. I needed them to speak to me on the same level my love for my kids does.
In terms of the quarantine and pandemic, have you made any new discoveries about your practice or your work during this time? Has it illuminated anything for you?
Before the pandemic, I think I had become a little complacent with my “job” as an artist. It was fun traveling and singing and meeting people, all the luxuries being an artist affords (not speaking about money.) I don’t think I realized the impact we have on society as artists. When we couldn’t perform, I saw the toll it took on artists and the impact it had on society as a whole. There seemed to be a loss of love, laughter, sharing, caring. All the things that cultivate humanity. I realized that art is the thing that connects us in that, and I began to take my role as an artist with more responsibility and passion.
How have you been spending time during the pandemic? Have you picked up any new hobbies?
Not being able to travel has allowed me to spend some quality time with my family. It has been the most concentrated amount of time I’ve had to spend with them, so I’ve indulged in that, knowing that I would have to travel again eventually. I’ve also taken the time to take some courses in Arts Administration in preparation for my future plan in the industry and acting as a consultant currently. I got certified in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and have given a few lectures and spoken on several panels. I’m part of several committees working for more equitable and diverse representation in Opera. I rediscovered my love for visual arts and have started a portrait business and, I’ve continued to work on my craft. It has been an opportunity to slow down and focus.
What are you most looking forward to post-pandemic?
Sharing music and experiences and appreciating people and my connection to them like never before.