KJ Denhert is a unique artist, singer, guitarist and songwriter who calls her music Urban Folk and Jazz. Her voice is powerful, her lyrics full of intelligent insight, and her musicianship is impeccable. Her eclectic yet unified performances reach out to many different types of audiences without compromising her music and beliefs. She is heard at her best on her most recent recording, Lucky 7 and is known to be especially good live. She performs the unusual feat of being both highly individual and quite accessible.
KJ remembers, “I picked up a guitar when I was ten and immediately I started writing music. I loved Sergio Mendes’ songs, liked John Hartford on the Glenn Campbell Show and really got into James Taylor and Joni Mitchell who I still consider my two main influences. I also loved the singer-songwriters of the time including Carole King and Laura Nyro and later fell in love with Steely Dan’s music, and just wore out my copy of Hubert Laws’ Rite Of Spring. I was completely self-taught, by llistening to records and playing them over and over, teaching myself tablature from a great James Taylor book and modal tunings from Joni Mitchell’s For The Roses song book. I didn’t really do anything but play guitar through my teenage years.”
In the 1980s, KJ Denhert toured for six years as the lead guitarist and occasional vocalist with an all-female band called Fire, playing rock and top-40 music throughout the US, Canada and Europe. After the group ran its course, she worked at a day job while continuing to write and play music. While working in Cleveland as a financial analyst, she started the Mother Cyclone label and made her first recording. Moving home to New York in 1997, she formed the NY Unit, a group that she still performs with. “I look for players who have an ability to groove and have lots of drama in their playing.