26: How Playing with For KING AND COUNTRY Put Blake Kanicka in the Center of God’s Will
Stephen Blake Kanicka is a Grammy award-winning multi-instrumentalist and composer. His musicality has been noted by the New York Times and featured on Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, The View, Ellen Degeneres, and the Today Show.
Stephen Blake grew up deeply entrenched in the world of music, as his mother was a Vocal Performance major in college. His innate ear for music was noticed at a very young age when he would climb the piano and play the melodies he heard around him. His talent was then fostered with Suzuki ear training, followed by over ten years of classical study in piano, theory, and music history. All of these experiences set the foundation for a strong melodic sense and technical proficiency while also gaining a deep respect for the classical composers, particularly Mozart and Beethoven.
Further development was pursued as a member of a jazz ensemble, chamber choir, and with local artists. At the young age of 16, Stephen Blake was invited to travel nation-wide with an arena tour – giving him his first introduction to the commercial music industry. By the time he graduated from high school, he had gained significant musical training, real-world experience, and had composed and produced several of his own arrangements.
Professionally, Stephen Blake has continued to hone his craft over the years as a musical director, string arranger, and collaborator with many artists – both onstage and in the studio. Notably, he has worked and performed with Atlantic Records artist, Jason Castro, as well as critically-acclaimed Aqualung, who likened his musical sensibilities to those of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.
Currently, he records and performs with the award-winning band, for KING & COUNTRY, while also continuing his creative work in the studio with various artists and projects he finds inspiring.
He lives with his wife, Brittany, in Franklin, Tennessee.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- A lifelong passion for music
- Blake’s inspiration: “The Lord goes before you and fights your battles.” Also, Psalm 23
- Ups and downs in the music business
- Blake’s biggest struggle: servanthood
- The importance of relationships that can help and keep you accountable
- “Treasure hunters”
- Music’s profound emotion
- College at Texas A&M: no musical instruments for THREE years!
- Blake’s move to LA, joining a band, living within God’s will
- Blake’s advice to the younger Blake: “The Holy Spirit is real. Don’t let other things challenge your faith.”
- Having faith to step out
- Having wise counsel
- Blake’s favorite current project: a version of Amazing Grace for an upcoming movie, with rapper KB
- Blake’s parting advice: “There is a power in mystery. I have a great hope that we continue to embrace the mysterious. Be careful what you let yourself absorb.”
Connect with Blake: