When he was a kid, Ronald Jenkees’ mother saw that her son was musically inclined, but thought that his habit of not reading music would hold him back some day.
“She paid for some music-reading lessons while I was in the sixth grade,” he told HLN. The boy gravitated to some instruments but avoided the piano and in six months, the lessons ceased.
Of course, that was way before the Internet. Fast-forward several years and Jenkees is a bonafide, keyboard-playing star on YouTube, with two CDs self-released and a third in the works. While several of today's top acts have been discovered online ( what's up, Biebs!), Jenkees is content to bubble just under the surface.
On Tuesday, he released his first YouTube video after a years-long hiatus.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based musician's style of music -- synth-heavy hip-hop beats overlayed with intergalactic funk-drenched chords – and his overall style – Jenkees’ banter in his clips comes off as comical and self-deprecating -- has endeared him to music fans on several internet forums.
Viewing his videos on his YouTube channel – and reading the comments – one can’t help but wonder if Jenkees is having fun, or being made of. There was even an Internet rumor that he was autistic. Jenkees said that's far from the case.
“I try to be as goofy and spontaneous as possible in both my music and presentation on YouTube,” he said. “It's just fun. When you mix goofiness and music and put it on YouTube, you'll unfortunately have a few that diagnose and jump to the conclusion that something must be wrong, but no; I'm just being goofy and playing my music. I have a blast doing it.”
Major labels have inquired about his talents, but the fit wasn’t right, he said.
“Over the years, I've had some labels interested in my music, but I've always resisted exclusively selling tracks to anyone. I feel like I have a responsibility to the people that buy my CDs to get my best stuff on there, not just the leftover stuff after working with the majors.”
As for the future, Jenkees is content to march to the beat of his own funky drum to "a place of jam," as he calls it.
“My primary goal is to keep making new music for people that are fans of it, and to keep working hard at the stuff that's fun to me. My third album is in its final stages -- the magic stage where my songs start coming together and making sense to other people besides me -- and I'm trying my best to release that ASAP.”
He released new music on Tuesday, check it out below:
How'd he get so funky? "I graduated with a bachelor's in telecommunications systems management, which is half computer networking/ security, and half business," he said. "I picked that area of study because it was the responsible thing to do at the time -- I needed to pick a major. Between jobs one year after college, I was able to get on YouTube and get out an album, and I've been self-employed since then. I work a lot more than I would a normal job, but it's worth it. I'm basically able to be my own distributor, shipping my own CDs around the world, taking care of my own fans, and making the music that I think is fun to make. I'm super-thankful."
So are we, Ronald, so are we.