Kenneth "Kenny O" Ortiz (born 10 November 1959) is an American record executive, songwriter, record producer, and is currently the CEO of World Trade Entertainment.
Ortiz is widely known as the driving force behind the vocal trio SWV (Coko, Leanne "Lelee" Lyons, and Tamara Johnson-George), because he signed the group, picked their hits, got heavily involved in their creative process for original songs, remixes, mixes, collaborations, and last but not least established their vibe and brand.
Ortiz is also known for discovering Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo also known as The Neptunes, whom Ortiz signed to EMI to their first production and writing deal. Ortiz would A&R the unreleased compilation album which featured Charlie Wilson and Joe Stonestreet (the first member of Blackstreet) which subsequently led to Kelis's signing and recording. It was Ortiz's idea to make Pharrell and Chad change their production name to the Neptunes (the name they went by as a group, which was later changed to N.E.R.D after the addition of Shay Haley).
Ortiz's A&R and promotion skills have been instrumental in bringing numerous music figures across multiple genres to multi-platinum sales, including SWV, Anita Baker, Keith Sweat, Neptunes, BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans, Ryan Toby (of City High), Mantronix, Simply Red, The Cure, Ten Thousand Maniacs, Tracy Chapman, Martha Wash, and MC Hammer.
Ortiz is responsible for helping acts to get signed by major labels.
Artists that benefited from Kenny's musical ear include: Jazmine Sullivan (whom Ortiz discovered on Showtime of The Apollo, brought her into the studio for the first time, and then introduced to her mentor Missy Elliott who would eventually produce her #1 singles nearly a decade later), Brian McKnight (whom Ortiz discovered utilizing his vocals for demos and eventually brought him in front of labels who signed him), "Joe" (also demo vocalist for Ortiz and was first to use him as a producer and writer as well as introduced him to the history of the r&b world and nurtured his craft. Ortiz introduced him to Pharrell Williams).
Ortiz also helped in the development of acts such as Shaffer Smith (whom Ortiz A&R'd as a Senior Vice President at Columbia Records before his career was reborn under his new name Ne-Yo), Amerie (A&R’d her platinum album All I Have), Ryan Toby(helped him land his position in the movie Sister Act 2), Johnta Austin (discovered him, signed him to RCA Records and put him together with Pharrell Williams and introduced him to Troy Taylor who took him under his wing and then molded him into a very successful songwriter, and last but not least, the Wu-Tang Clan received their first R&B record from Ortiz, who handpicked them to remix "Anything" by SWV which catapulted them from underground to a household name.
- Television: SWV Reunited: Season 2 (filmed Apr 10, 2014 - releasing Fall 2014) VH1's: Dreamgirls: The Making and Breaking of Girl Groups (2006)
- Articles: Rolling Stone magazine: FEB 20, 2014 http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-wtf-comeback-of-swv-20140220)
- Books: How They Made It: True Stories of How Music's Biggest Stars Went From Start To Stardom by Dan Kimpel (2006 Hal Leonard Corporation).
- Ortiz is mentioned in the story of Brian McKnight.
|Article Title:||Kenny Ortiz: American musician and executive - Biography and Life|
|Author(s):||PeoplePill.com Editorial Staff|
|Publish Date:||27 Nov 2016|
|Date Accessed:||23 Jan 2021|