Kindred Three

“Relax and let the Spirit set you free … these sacred rhythms will make
you dance and sing…”
When confronted with the challenge of defining the sound of their diverse
self-titled debut, the members of Kindred react as most musicians do. They
look around the room, grimace, and grope for the right words.
When it comes to their mission for the Lord, however, twenty-something San
Diego residents Lamar, Wenché and Shone are quite deliberate about Whom they
represent. “Musically, I guess some people might call us a ‘boy band,'”
Lamar says with his easy chuckle. “You can tag us ‘urban’ or ‘R&B’ or even
‘pop.’ But before all of those things, our hearts are for the Lord. I
consider us a ministry, co-laborers in Christ. Our priority is to get the
Word out.”
Kindred is a highly charged debut that touches on the musical styles Lamar
mentions and more. Lamar explains, “That’s because I’m Filipino and
African-American; Shone is Latino/Caucasian, and Wenché is Latino. That
makes for great musical and personal diversity, which is reflected on stage
and in our songs.”
Wenché continues, “We have urban tracks, Latin tracks, a few ballads, a few
pop songs, a few soulful tracks. We want people to pick up that it’s not
just the music that expresses those cultural differences; it’s our lives,
with Christ being the common thread. People need to see that we love the
Lord and we love each other. We’re accountable for each other.”
Shone feels that the album’s diversity also extends to the lyrical subject
matter. “Not everybody can relate to every lyric. So we have lyrics that
are geared to reach people that don’t know the Lord as well as songs that
are meant to help nourish believers. Our main goal is to touch people with
God’s grace and to let them know that it’s cool to be a believer in the
Lord. We’re trying to kick it out of the box a little bit.”
Coming Together
Lamar and Shone met in high school. Shone likes to joke that the first thing
that helped them bond was not music but “delinquency.” “I took high school
math and drama with Lamar, and we were a couple of goof balls! He loved to
sing ‘Always & Forever’ by Heatwave, and I would harmonize, so we clicked as
The two met Wenché at a drama class. “I heard them singing in class and I
went over and suggested that they join the show choir,” recalls Wenché.
“And I said, ‘can WE start a group together?'”
Lamar continues, “It was kind of funny when we tried to strike up a
conversation. Pretty much all the English he knew was the words to hymns and
carols! So in order for us to communicate, we had to help him learn
English, and he helped us learn Spanish. I think that really built a bond
between us very quickly because we had to force ourselves to listen to each
other carefully in order to become friends.”
The friendships Kindred forged over ten years ago continued beyond high
school, although the group did go its separate ways during part of its
college years. Upon renewing ties a few years ago, Kindred resurrected its
dream of achieving mainstream acceptance and took a few big steps toward
that goal. “We cut a demo with Hollywood Records that made the rounds of a
lot of people in LA, including MTV’s ‘The Cut,'” explains Shone. “We made
it on the show and-you guessed it-got cut. It was God’s way of saying ‘it
isn’t the right time for this to be happening for you.'”
Lamar continues, “But we didn’t necessarily realize that at the time. After
‘The Cut,’ we were a little discouraged and were going to give up. We
thought that MTV was going to give us our big break and then it didn’t
The Decision
But God had other plans. While Shone had given his life to Christ when he
was younger, both Lamar and Wenché made commitments in the mid-90’s. “We
were going to church and singing together; in fact, we started singing in
church more often,” says Lamar. “God was tugging on our hearts to pursue a
Christian focus in our music, but we were backing away. We wondered if we
were really worthy of the honor of spreading the Gospel that way.” God was
slowly drawing their hearts in a different direction.
Around the time Kindred appeared on ‘The Cut,’ Lamar was involved in a
shooting incident. Fired upon from point blank range by an assailant, Lamar
sustained only minor injuries that required a few stitches. “The bullet
grazed my face and left a silver dollar sized hole in my car instead of my
head,” he marvels. “I just felt the Lord say, ‘it’s not your time. I have
work for you to do.'”
So at the turn of 1998, the trio made the decision to concentrate on
Christian music. Doors started to open, and they were given a prime position
on the main stage at the Youth for Christ event, DC/LA. Kindred was the
only unsigned artist invited to perform at the event. It was at DC/LA that
they met representatives from Red Hill Records, who soon offered them a
recording contract.
In another dramatic turn, the band felt God confirming their decision. On
the day that Kindred signed its recording contract with Red Hill, Wenché and
Shone were involved in a car accident during rush hour on the San Diego
Freeway. “It was raining, and I was doing about 55-60 miles an hour in the
fast lane,” recalls Shone, “when I hit a puddle, hydroplaned, spun out, hit
the center divider and flipped over, landing on the roof of the car. We
both got out of the car and walked away. It was unbelievable. In rush hour
traffic, we slid out of the way, didn’t hit any other cars. It was a real
confirmation to us that God’s hand was on us.”
The Project
Noted producers Michael-Anthony “Mookie” Taylor, Dan Needham, and John &
Dino Elefante all had a hand in making the grooves on Kindred bounce and the
sparkling voices of Shone, Wenché and Lamar come to life. Needham, a master
percussionist, guided the group through “Away” and the Latin-flavored
“Sacred Rhythm.” Mookie took the helm for the bass-heavy “I Know,” as well
as tracks like the Jeep-shakin’ “Let’s Go.” The Elefantes’s trademark
attention to vocal excellence is evident on “Wherever You Are” and “I Belong
to Thee.”
In a wisely diplomatic move, the men of Kindred display equal affection for
all the producers and the results of their work-“We love ’em all!” says
Shone-but when pressed, the trio will pick a few favorite songs from
Kindred. “I struggled with writing ‘I Belong to Thee’ for a year,”
confesses Lamar, “before I realized the essence of the song is just me
begging for God’s forgiveness and acknowledging His lordship of my life.
Every time I sing it, it’s an affirmation that I have to get out of the way
and let Him be Lord.”
San Diego based vocal group Kindred joins artists Aurora, Katy Hudson, Ash Mundae, and The Echoing Green as the
newest talent on Red Hill Records’ roster. The highly versatile trio introduces a new sound to contemporary Christian music, one that highlights their diverse ethnic backgrounds and musical tastes. Their unique style
will be showcased on Kindred’s debut, scheduled to release September 4th.
As outlined in their mission statement, Kindred hopes to change the perception of Christian music by reaching a cross-cultural audience with the gospel of Jesus Christ and by sharing His grace through music that encourages believers and gives hope to the lost.
“Kindred is unique because of their appeal to such a wide demographic,” commented Red Hill vice president of marketing Linda Klosterman. “The group embodies a true representation of the cross-cultural American experience and we are excited to support their willingness to use this appeal as a ministry
tool for Jesus.”
Kindred is currently managed by ReBirth Entertainment out of San Diego, California. Their upcoming album is a multi-format project with songs reaching AC and CHR radio. In support of the album, Kindred attended GMA Week, with appearances at the CHR radio breakfast and a late night showcase presented
by Pamplin Music Group.
Related Stories: Latin Update: Ileana Garces, Kindred Three


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