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Life & Work with Kelvin Evans

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelvin Evans.

Hi Kelvin, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I spent much of my childhood on the road, and I think that’s where my love for traveling and music began. My parents were in the military, so we moved a lot. I was born in San Diego, California but spent most of my childhood in Alabama because that’s where my parents are from. I grew up on a farm in a small town called Marion with my grandparents. There wasn’t much to do except play with my cousins, tend to the farm, and listen to music. My uncle used to play Grover Washington Jr. “Mr. Magic” nonstop and I believe that’s when I wanted to learn how to play the saxophone. My parents bought me my first saxophone when I was around 9 or 10. I started self-taught, so I used to listen to the radio and try to play everything I heard.

I knew right then and there I had a gift because a lot of it came so easy. I moved to St. Louis in 2001, my first year in high school. It wasn’t until high school that I started to take music more seriously. My band teacher Mr. Baudo who I give a lot of credit for where I am today, pulled to me the side one day after wasting time in class and told me that I have the potential to be great at what I do if I practice more. As a sax player, he gave me the knowledge and guidance to prepare me for the next level. From there, I made my way to college. I started at Lincoln University, and the music director at the time wanted me to be in jazz and marching band, but football was my main focus back then. After a semester there, I decided to transfer to the University of Missouri-St.louis after music director Jim Widner reached out to me about joining the jazz band and earning a scholarship. I enjoyed my time there, meeting many different musicians from all over the world. Soon after, I realize I’m ready to become a professional musician.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say this is glad I went through what I did coming up on the st Louis music scene because I would not be where I am today without the many obstacles, heartbreaks, setbacks, etc. Coming up, I saw that this music scene was very cliquish, and my not being from here made it very hard to try to fit in and network. So I was looking for guidance, but all I got was letdowns, fake love, and people who didn’t want to see me succeed. I never let that get me down because I knew God gave me a gift, and instead of giving up, it made me work harder on my craft. I was still learning and growing as a person and a musician when I started to step out into the scene.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a professional musician. I have been playing the saxophone for over 20 years. I play all kinds of music and music genre, from classical to jazz—I’m just a real down-to-earth musician that loves music. I have been blessed to travel all over the U.S. to do what I love. I am most proud of myself for not giving up when the road got bumpy. I have met and played with so many great musicians, and I try to pick up something from every one of them to make me better. I think being able to play a different genre of music sets me apart from others.

What would you say has been one of your most important lessons?
The important lesson I learn is to never give up on your dreams. When people doubt me, I use that as fuel to keep trying to improve. Another lesson I learned is that I cannot trust everyone. Get people, whether one or two people or a whole group of people, to surround yourself with someone who believes in you, looks out for you, and has your best interest in hand. My circle is very small for a reason.

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Image Credits
Ramond Buck Jr. Royal Images Photography

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