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Dunson( Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun )
A few years ago, Columbia native Kenton Dunson was on a fast track to a stable, potentially lucrative life.
But as a 25-year-old financial adviser at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, the McDaniel College graduate felt unfulfilled. Most days, the multi-instrumentalist would leave the office to play music all night, either in studio sessions or as a fill-in member of a live act. At the encouragement of impressed players, he gave T. Rowe his two-week notice in 2010 and hasn't looked back.
This past July, Dunson released the appropriately titled mixtape, "The Investment." It's a cohesive, slick-sounding effort that feels more like a debut album than a freebie.
"There's so much saturation in the mixtape market," Dunson said. "I wanted to give a mixtape with quality, that showcases the hook-writing and production, along with the lyrics."
It's a well-rounded approach that gives "The Investment" replay value other less-polished Baltimore projects lack. His approach is familiar (Dunson is flyer than you, and here's why) but the sentiment sounds earned, with an exuberant production of horns, busy drums, synths and strange samples (from Deadmau5 to Gotye to "Sesame Street").
Dunson plans to release his next single, the radio-friendly "Spotlight," in early December on iTunes. He says it's already getting played on 93.9 WKYS in Washington, and he hopes 92Q is next. Dunson says he just contributed a song (tentatively titled "Can the Cool Be Loved"), along with a guest verse, to Chrisette Michele's next album, so chances seem good we'll be hearing more from him soon.
The continued work seems to be proof that his career change was the right decision. Leaving the corporate world hasn't been easy, he says, but he's also never been happier.
"It's not as comfortable as the check T. Rowe was giving me but we're making it work," he said with a laugh.