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An Interview with IMAGE, R&B band from San Diego

IMAGE is an adult R&B contemporary group formed in San Diego CA by Johnnie Mcknight and Kenneth Sexton who were shipmates in the Navy. Then Kenneth met Jeff Nixon at a jazz club and found that they had a lot in common and decided to bring him to the group. Their first producer, Clarence Bell, introduced the fourth member, Palmer Perkins, who joined short after.

The vocal group debuted at a jazz club called The Catamaran on Pacific beach and played with groups like Fattburger and Hollis Gentry and neon.

They were performing at a show one day when the platinum producer and songwriter known as Chaz aka Charles Simmons heard them and signed them to his label called Opulence Records in San Diego. Chaz has written the quadruple hit song for J. Cole called “Wet Dreamz” and now he is back with IMAGE.

The band’s latest single “Who Do You Love” is written and produced by Chaz, and recorded and engineered at the Blitz Recordings Studio by Richard Blitz of The Blitz Brothers and the jazz group GTF.

Let’s meet the band.

I read from another interview that your stage name comes from the fact that each member comes from different parts of the country as well as having different and unique vocal styles and ranges. However, I think that the name IMAGE perfectly suits your music, which is not just sound but is able to evoke in the minds of listeners a succession of vivid colors and emotional images. How did each of you develop your love for music? And how did you manage to blend different styles of music so well?

Our love for music came from being in different regions which gave us that edge as far as style. And we thought that could blend the vocal harmony in a different way.

What are your sources of inspiration and what things do you intend to bring back to the R&B world?

Our inspiration came from groups like The Temptations, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, and even groups like Boyz II Men and Jodeci. We wanted to represent each era and pay homage to those who came before us.

I’m with you when in another interview you say that true R&B music should always be sung from the soul. And it is certainly what you do in your latest single “Who Do You Love”, a deeply nostalgic song with wonderful lyrics and enchanting music. “Tears in Heaven” is another profound vocal, melodic and heartening experience. Why did you choose to make a cover of one the of the best songs Eric Clapton has ever written? And who is playing the piano?

We chose tears in heaven because of all the loved ones that have been lost and all the turmoil that’s going on. We chose that song to be appropriate to redo and show our vocal skills. Clarence Bell was the piano player. He also used to be with a group called Sam and Dave.

I hope you will manage to come to Atlanta soon.

In the meanwhile we can all sit back and relax and listen to the smooth sound of IMAGE. Here are the hit songs “Who do you Love” and “Tears in Heaven”.

Who Do You Love
Tears in Heaven