KJ Denhert is a songwriter, guitarist, and performer.
Born Karen Jeannne to parents from the island of Grenada, KJ was the first US citizen born to a small family. In the 1980s, KJ toured for six years as the lead guitarist and occasional vocalist with an all-female band called Fire, playing rock and top-40 music throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. While working in Cleveland as a financial analyst, she started the Mother Cyclone label and made her first solo recording. In 1997 she moved home to New York and formed the NY Unit, a group with whom she still performs. Her latest recording, Album No.9, is a collection of 60’s jazz, pop and rock standards.
Her unique blend of urban folk and jazz has earned her four Independent Music Award nominations and in 2009 she was named as one of Jazz.com’s top female vocalists. KJ was named one of six winners of the Kerrville New Folk Song contest in June 2006 for Private Angel and won the Mountain Stage New Song contest in August 2005 for Little Mary. Another Year Gone By, Live won the 2006 Independent Music Award for Best Live Performance.
In addition to running her own band and the Mother Cyclone label, she has appeared at scores of festivals around the world and maintains residencies at the ’55 Bar’, Smoke in NYC, at the Baz Bar in St. Barth’s, and the prestigious Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy.