Sheffield’s ‘songwriter to the stars’ Eliot Kennedy had his first number one hit when he was just 25 years-old in 1993 with Take That’s Everything Changes, co-written with Gary Barlow. Now his son Jack, 20, is following in his footsteps, launches (today, Fri 25 Feb) his first single Fe Fi Fo Funk under the artist’s name, Fabian.
Fabian explained: “Fabian is my middle name. We were going to go with my initials JFK, but it would be too hard to find me on search engines for obvious reasons. Fabian is unusual, you don’t hear it a lot, it’s quite a cool name so I thought, that’s the one.”
Fabian grew up surrounded by famous musicians. His Grammy-winning composer dad helped launch the careers of the Spice Girls, Take That and S Club, writing hits for Bryan Adams, Mary J Blige and Celine Dion.
Fabian said: “I’ve always been around famous people, I guess. I’ve been in the studio all my life and around huge stars that people would gasp at, and they’re just family to me. As a kid I didn’t clock the gravity of it. Gary [Barlow] and my dad are very good mates, so I grew up with his kids when we lived in Cheshire, and Bryan [Adams] is a good friend of my dad so we’ve been to see him a few times, just to name a few.”
Eliot has always said music is the ‘backstage pass to everybody’s soul’. It’s an outlook Fabian has adapted. Fe Fi Fo Funk, co-written by Jack and Eliot, is an upbeat dance track in response to Covid and lockdowns.
Fabian said: “I struggled in lockdown, and music helped me look forward to getting out, sitting in the sun, kicking a football around with mates and listening to a good track. I think music was a coping mechanism for many who were stranded in their houses without a clue what to do.”
He’d been writing songs for some time but had kept his ideas under wraps until he felt ready.
“There’s pressure with dad being dad, but it felt the right time. We both had time in lockdown, so I said, do you want to make a song just for a laugh? He said, yeah alright, then we made another one, and he thought, this kid’s got a bit of talent!”
Fabian’s mum was also a professional singer: “She was in a girl band, that’s how my mum and dad met. He was looking for bands to support the Spice Girls on tour, and she was in one, and the rest is history, I’m here.”
Fe Fi Fo Funk is a unique mix of Eliot’s style with Fabian’s current musical influences, namely Lolye Carner.
“Lolyle Carner uses old school R’n’B soul tracks and flips them up and makes them into soulful rap. With our single, we’ve mixed dad’s ‘90s sound with my approach to funk and rap. I haven’t heard anyone else do that. Its more funk driven, and you can hear dad’s trademark sounds if you listen carefully, the synths are not far away from his Spice Girl’s hit, Say You’ll Be There.”
Of the Tik Tok generation, he says he just needs a viral dance behind Fe Fi Fo Funk to break out.
Fabian said: “Tik Tok rules the music industry in terms of building a name for yourself. I may eat my words here, but that algorithm of making content is extraordinary, it opens doors for a lot of artists.”
He feels the single is of its time, now Covid restrictions are being lifted.
“When you’re a teenager you’re learning how to express yourself and coming out of your shell, but we had two years of losing a social life, so the idea with this song is to give a bit of a kicking to that. You connect music with happy moments and memories. It’s a positive song. It’s not deep or political, it’s just about having fun. We need to go back to having fun, and I want everyone to get in a good mood and dance.”