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Hot like Kayenne 

Singer knocks down industry doors by doubling as songwriter

Things just ain't the same for singers. While rappers have turned to the Internet to hustle their music through blogs, YouTube and message-board buzz (and beef), the same tactics are not as easily adopted by vocalists. That's why Kayenne Simmons advises them to use the same strategy she's used to push her way through the revolving musical doors.

"Write," says the spunky Baton Rouge, La., singer and writer who relocated to Atlanta six years ago to pursue her career. "Get credibility, get them quarterly checks rolling in, and then start doing your music."

Since getting her start primarily at Hendu and Crossover Studios around 2003, the raspy-voiced singer has worked with noted Atlanta artists and producers Bobby Valentino, Polow Da Don, Jimmy Swagger and Isaac Hayes III. "I don't like to beat people over the head with my lyrics," she says, referencing her feisty, yet nonabrasive writing style.

While Kayenne's songwriting has earned her a lot of prospective placements through her publishing company, Nside the Lines Productions, her electric performances at the Apache Cafe and Django have increased her fan base. Since leaving her stint as frontwoman of the cover band Culture Soul, Kayenne is now focused on her solo career. Her new EP, Best Kept Secret, blends alternative rhythms with soul-inspired lyrics.

Kayenne's impressive vocal dexterity matches her straightforward writing style, as heard on the vocally adept standout "Good Bye," and on the airy "Love Shampoo," currently in weekly rotation on WRFG-FM (89.3). "I'm really looking at the international market," she says, adding that she's also in radio rotation in Amsterdam, London and Japan.

And though she still tags herself "Louisiana's Best Kept Secret," Kayenne says the moniker won't be relevant for long.

"It's easy to get burnt-out, but when people start singing my songs or recognizing me, I think maybe I have a done a little something," she says before pausing, "but there's always more to be done."

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