Jesse Kinch, Seaford’s newest musical rising star, is making a name for himself as he performs around the country. He hopes to expand his fan base even farther when he heads across the Atlantic to England for an international tour this summer.
Kinch, 24, performed at Rhythms Live Music Hall in Durham, N.C., last Friday, with a backup band comprising brother Rick Kinch on keyboards, Joe Nevolo on drums and bass player Larry Meyer. He will play the Blackthorn Music Festival in Manchester, England, July 19-21. The band, he said, is in talks with his record label, Nashville, Tenn.-based Curb Records, about other concert dates, perhaps including Australia, Japan or South Africa.
Kinch has been happy with Curb Records, and anticipates working with the company for the foreseeable future. “The owner, Mike Curb . . .has treated me like gold,” he said. “He also gave me creative control on my first album.”
Growing up, Kinch attended the Island Trees elementary, middle and high schools in Levittown. “My parents weren’t musicians,” he said, “but they were music lovers [and] listeners. I was exposed to a lot of classic rock music around 5 or 6 years old, sitting in the car going on car rides.”
As a child, Kinch was drawn to classic rock and grunge, as well as a few classical singers. His said his musical influences include the Beatles, John Lennon, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. “All that stuff kind of just comes out in my music and voice to this day,” he said.
At age 6, he began playing the guitar, which, he said, fueled his passion for music. “By age 8, I was actually playing guitar in some local clubs in the area,” he said. He played with older professional musicians until he was 12.
Kinch performed in such local clubs as Mr. Beery’s, in Bethpage, and the Downtown and the Crazy Donkey, both in Farmingdale. He found his own artistic voice by playing some of his favorite songs from the 1960s and ’70s, he said.
In middle school and high school, he played with classmates and boyhood friends in a band called Peace Bullet. They played unpaid gigs on Long Island and in New York City throughout Kinch’s teenage years. “It was a blessing,” he said. “I look back and those were good times for me, you know? Just going out and discovering new things.”
At age 15, Kinch performed in an off-Broadway musical, “Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical,” about the career of the top-40s star of the 1970s and ’80s. The show, at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, sold out every night, Kinch said. He got the role after opening a show for Money himself. “It was a unique and great experience for me,” he wrote in an email.
He continued to play at local clubs until five years ago, when a casting director from the ABC show “Rising Star” contacted him and invited him to audition. He flew to Boston to sing in front of the show’s executive producer, Ken Warwick, in April 2014. The following month, he flew to Los Angeles to audition for Warwick and ABC executives. In August, he was crowned the show’s winner after singing “Love, Reign o’er Me” by the Who.
“Rising Star” kicked Kinch’s music into a higher gear. He was booked for his biggest show yet in November 2014, when he played at the LIU Post Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. “I think that was just a turning point,” he said. “From there I began to play in front of my own fan base, and not just in front of random people at bars, like I did before “Rising Star.’”
His debut album, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” which was released last June, consists of nine original songs and three covers. It has sold well in the U.K., Kinch said, and he is trying to push the album a bit more in America. “It’s slow but steady, but we’re working hard,” he said.
Since the album came out, the band has been playing scattered shows across the U.S., including several dates at clubs in Los Angeles, including the Viper Room and the Hotel Café, and two clubs in Nashville, the High Watt and the Back Corner. Kinch also toured the Northeast, visiting Rochester, Syracuse, Poughkeepsie and several venues in Connecticut to promote his album. He concluded his tour on Long Island with a performance at Looney Tunes, a record store in Babylon.
He is working on a second album, but doesn’t yet have a firm release date. He said he would be going back into the studio with the band in the next six or seven months.
Kinch credited his parents with helping him take the first steps in his career. “Sometimes people have an interest in something and an aspiration to do something, but they don’t have the right support,” he said. “I think I was very blessed as a child to have a mother and father who were very supportive of what I wanted to do.”