Derek McKeith has distinguished himself as a unique talent encompassing rock, blues, R&B, hip-hop and pop music into his own distinctive style.
Self taught on guitar, bass, piano and drums, McKeith’s two solo CDs, Something Strange and The Signature on his own Electric Life Records MG label have garnered radio airplay from Los Angeles to Australia. “Can’t Get Enough” from The Signature became a number one song and video on BET.
His enthralling stage performances draw comparisons to Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lenny Kravitz, and as the New York Amsterdam News wrote, “His sizzling guitar playing conjured up memories of a young Jimi Hendrix.”
McKeith has been acclaimed for performances at some of America’s most popular concert venues including the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and B.B. King Blues Club in New York City. He’s also performed on television on “The Today Show.” As a last minute replacement for Usher on “Steve Harvey’s Big Time” TV show, McKeith wowed music aficionado Harvey who lavished him with praise following his performance of “Headlines” from The Signature. In 2006 he captured the attention of entertainment industry elite when a VIP audience including Prince, Dr. Dre, and Magic Johnson was thoroughly impressed with his charismatic opening set at The Knitting Factory in LA.
In addition to his solo Work, McKeith has served as the Director of West Coast Programs of the TGF, and The Bullion Foundation two not-for-profit foundations dedicated to supporting and encouraging music education programs for young people across the country. Through the foundation he has conducted music workshops and donated hundreds of instruments in Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Atlanta and other cities. On a USO tour in Germany in May 2013, McKeith entertained military students and American troops.
Bringing joy to wounded soldiers and presenting the gift of music to youth has empowered McKeith. “I love being able to donate instruments to kids and watch their faces light up. You can see their hunger for music. They are so grateful.”
McKeith is extremely grateful to have launched his career recording with Quincy Jones. He sang background and appeared in the video for Tevin Campbell’s single “Tomorrow” produced by Jones on Back On The Block. The classic CD featured legendary artists Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick, George Benson and Barry White. “It was an amazing experience working with Quincy Jones,” says McKeith, “and it helped mold me into being a professional.”
Following his dramatic introduction into the music business, McKeith worked with several R&B artists including Sisqo from Dru Hill, Avant, Jon B., and Tamar Braxton. He developed his ability to mesmerize audiences early in his career acting, and performing on “The Tonight Show,” “The Soul Train Music Awards,” and “The Arsenio Hall Show.” “Being on the Soul Train Music Awards as a background singer was amazing and I was inspired to do my own music.”
Growing up as the child of actress Sheila Frazier (star of the classic “SuperFly”) and William Morris / Endeavor talent agent Sam McKeith (whose clients included Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, The Jackson Five, and Ray Charles), McKeith was immediately immersed into the entertainment world.
McKeith has recorded dozens of new songs and plans to release a new EP in the fall of 2016 followed by a full CD entitled Woman in 2017. “I want to show that my music is more expansive than just rock,” he comments. “I get typecast as a rocker but I move from hip-hop, to R&B, to pop, to rock, and jazz and blues and I do it effortlessly, authentic and genuine. It is a musical kaleidoscope. It's Art.”
McKeith World Industries LLC
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