Jamaica “Kahncept” Smith
From his country upbringing in small-town Georgia to the pop studios of LA and Atlanta’s R&B and Hip-Hop scene, Kahncept has developed his church-honed chops into a music career as a Grammy-nominated songwriter, singer, vocal coach, engineer and producer.
Signed to BMG Chrysalis since 2013, Atlanta-based Kahncept has a written catalogue of over 300 songs, and has had over 25 placements in the last five years for artists including Akon, Agnez Mo, and Prince Royce.
He independently released the single “Flight 542” in 2016 under his artist alias Jean Penn, and continues to write for both established and up-and-coming artists while developing solo projects.
Influenced musically by many of the greats – Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Kathleen Battle, Kim Burrell, Portishead, and Godsmack – Kahncept’s range of work spans the genres of R&B, pop, country, folk, alternative and gospel.
He has worked in LA, New York, Miami, London, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Nashville, and was nominated for Best R&B Song in the 57th Grammy Awards for writing and recording Luke James’ “Options.”
Kahncept has also written for Yelawolf, Dallas Austin, India Arie, Sevyn Streeter, Sir the Baptist, Tiffany Evans, and Masspike Miles, and has collaborated with The Stereotypes, Danja, WLPWR, Needlz, Ayo the Producer, Keyz, Lee On The Beats, Bangladesh, Mel & Mus, Alex da Kid, RedOne, Pop & Oak, Bryan-Michael Cox, and Troy Taylor.
Born in Augusta to a large but mostly unmusical family, Kahncept spent much of his childhood growing up in the nearby dirt-road country town of Wrens, singing in his family church choir from the age of five and learning the clarinet, saxophone, and drums.
His love for music was matched with technical knowledge at Langford Middle School, where the white-haired chorus teacher Miss Story first exposed him to the mechanics of singing and saw his potential – entering him into county and state competitions that delivered medals and opened his eyes to the possibility of a career as an artist.
Kahncept was accepted into Augusta’s John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, where his subjects included concert band, symphonic band, jazz band, concert choir, show choir, and barbershop quartet.
At Kennesaw State University, on a partial scholarship for a bachelor of arts double majoring in vocal performance and piano, Kahncept continued to hone his voice, meanwhile singing on and producing tracks in Atlanta as a teenager, alongside two male cousins vying to become songwriters and producers.
His talent and personality have opened countless studio doors throughout the city and further afield since, allowing him to meet and work with dozens of respected artists, musicians, and producers.
With his eye still firmly on the prize, Kahncept is determined to cash-in on his passion and make a musical living that leaves his family with a proud legacy.