Is an award-winning fashion model, a Top 10 West Coast Songwriting Finalist of the international NewSong Music Competition and an independent, self-produced artist based in San Francisco, California who is on a mission to bring back heartfelt songwriting and honest lyrics into the modern mainstream music world.
On the story
He wrote Summer Fog in 2014 in his Berklee College of Music dorm room
and considers it, “the first song he ever wrote that he didn’t hate”. The song was inspired by Kenji parting ways with his hometown near San Francisco, California for the first time to live in Boston, where he would spend the next four years of his life. Summer Fog’s lyrics are written in
Kenji’s perspective reflecting on his move from months before him knowing that everything in his life at that point was about to change and that he was going to be a different person when he came back home but also knowing that it was necessary for him to begin his journey finding himself. The song serves as a goodbye letter to his hometown and the child inside of him that grew up in it.
He submitted Summer Fog to the 2014 international NewSong Music Competition and was selected as a Top 10 West Coast Songwriting Finalist. For qualifying into the final round of the competition, which would be held at Lincoln Center in New York City, Kenji had the option to either continue using Summer Fog or to choose a different song of his to compete with. Kenji chose to go with a different song of his and didn’t end up placing into the final round. The first initial recording session for Summer Fog took place in his former Berklee professor, Dan Cantor’s Notable Studios in Watertown, Massachusetts in 2015. They tracked the song at Notable Studios initially with a whole band but Kenji ended up re-recording the drums and bass himself years later. The main guitar part was recorded using Notable’s rare, vintage 1928 Gibson acoustic guitar which was played by Kenji. While struggling to graduate and him deciding to take on different projects, Kenji lost motivation and put Summer Fog on the shelf for four whole years.
In 2019, Trickshot Productions came to Kenji with a music video proposal and Kenji suggested using Summer Fog and played them the demo version of the song recorded from years before. Upon presenting the Summer Fog demo and discussing the backstory of the song, director Guillermo Arcaya took the concept, and months later, came back to Kenji with a script, storyboard and game plan for the music video which included multiple storylines, actor casting calls and shoot locations. In each of the different storylines Arcaya wrote, each character faces a difficult situation and comes out a stronger person symbolizing the moral theme reflected in Kenji’s lyrics. For Summer Fog’s wardrobe, Kenji contacted award-winning fashion designer William
Lei and San Francisco’s renown West Coast Leather to sponsor him with a few outfits to wear in the music video in combination with some of his own.
After seven years of working on the song, Kenji finally sent Summer Fog off to be mastered by his go-to mastering engineer Brian Iele at Santa Cecilia Sound in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For Summer Fog’s cover artwork, Kenji decided to use a still image from the drone footage in the dock scene of the music video taken by Dylan Van Buren and created the graphic design on top of it. The song was successfully released to all streaming platforms on March 26th, 2021 and received over 30,000 Spotify streams during its first four weeks. The “Summer Fog” Official Music video is now available as of April 30th, 2021.