It’s Ya Boy KR: Artist/Performer KR Dorsey Reflects on His Journey in The Boston Music Scene  By David Bruce

INBOSTON Magazine: KR Dorsey

 

The KR Trio set up hours earlier. The restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows provided the perfect backdrop, showcasing Boston’s snow-covered streets. While picturesque, it’s freezing outside – which only magnifies how good the vibe is inside. KR Dorsey is on the drums and vocals. He transitions between the smooth Latin sound of Santana to the rough Hip Hop lyrics of the Notorious Big. The crowd, as if on cue, packs the dance floor. Each person reacts as if the song was played just for them. As if he read their minds. It’s the end of another great night, but the crowd always wants an encore. The scene plays out like this night after night. KR announces the last song of the night for the third time, while the exhausted bartender locks eyes with him and taps his watch; it’s time to wrap it up.

 “I have different problems than most people, and no one wants to hear about my problems,” he said, with a chuckle. KR, given name Kevin Richard Dorsey Jr, was raised in Delaware. The son of a firefighter Father and a Mother that climbed the ladder in corporate America. “I wasn’t a difficult kid, but I wasn’t an easy kid either. My Dad was the disciplinarian in the house, but my Mom was no slouch either,” he said.

His parents, Kevin and Sherry, supported his journey in music and instilled a strong work ethic in him. They also instilled an idea: that he could achieve anything. Some of his earliest memories are of his father playing Michael Jackson songs, while KR moonwalked across the floor. At the age of four, he began banging around on his toys, putting together beats. A plumber doing work on his home commented on the racket. He told KR’s parents, he’s not just making noise, he’s holding a good beat. No one knew it at the time, but this was the start of something special.

Having eclectic taste from the start, KR cannot be pinned down to one specific artist that influenced his style the most. Instead, he attributes his style to a wide range of music, Rap, R&B, Rock, and Grunge. From a young age, all of these genres spoke to him.

 

Network Equals Net Worth

After high school, his musical journey brought him to the Berklee College of Music, in Boston. It was there he discovered just how much of an international city Boston was and realized the potential with his new network. “I’ll tell you what, Berklee is a great place to network. If you’re like me and you’ve been playing music all your life and spent time reading Modern Drummer Magazine, when you get to a school like Berklee, you’re going to see at least four or five people that were on the cover of that magazine,” he said.

The summer after his junior year he returned to Delaware. There were a lot of questions and a lot of uncertainty. He began working at a local Dunkin Donuts, while he pondered his future and a possible change in direction. As if by fate, a friend in Boston called. He asked KR if he had a black suit and invited him to Boston to play some gigs that were lined up. KR returned to Boston and helped his friend out. At the end of the last gig his friend handed him a check. The check was significant enough that KR went back home, gave his two-weeks-notice and returned to Boston.

 

 Boston’s Music Scene

Unlike New York, Nashville, Los Angeles or Austin, Boston is not necessarily known as a Mecca for its music scene. Of course, there’s more to it than that. When it comes to music, Boston is punching way above its weight class. “Boston’s music scene is understated. I’ve played in some of these cities and I’m telling you, Boston is a force to be reckoned with; if it was ever allowed to be put on the same stage to be reckoned with. They’re the underdogs,” he said. A lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, he loves an underdog story.

Right now, a mark of KR’s success is the venues that he packs nightly. Those in the know, follow him from gig to gig, throughout the week. Tuesdays, he plays Craft Food Hall Project, in Waltham. Wednesdays, he plays The Revolution Hall, in Lexington. Thursdays are for Bostonia. Fridays and Saturdays venues are a mix of: Game On, Lansdowne, or Lucky’s Lounge. This isn’t a side gig for him, this is his life and he wants others to know that they too can make their dream come true, but it might not be met with open arms by others.

 

The Blueprint

 “Society is set up so that there’s a certain blueprint. A blueprint that they want everyone to follow. If you go against that blueprint, you’re setting yourself up for a hard journey. It’s not going to be easy. People expect it to be boom or bust. People think you’re either going to be winning Grammys or playing for change on the subway, but there’s such a middle-ground. People don’t understand that. Music is an industry. The hardest part of my journey is fighting the people that get in my way, including myself at times,” he said.

 When you go outside the norms of what society has decided for you as a profession you get pushback. It doesn’t necessarily come from a place of jealousy or envy, sometimes it comes from concern. Either way, KR is over the naysayers, they have chosen their own path, but it’s not his. His future doesn’t involve a cubicle and it doesn’t involve a boss.  His secret, “Well the first thing is, you have to not give a fuck about what anyone thinks,” he said. He lives by this and imparts this wisdom on those he helps on their musical journey.

Mentoring

 KR believes in helping others, just as others have helped him. Many people from the Boston music scene have lent a hand along the way. It’s easy to figure out who they are. In conversations, KR usually gives them the honorary title of Uncle. One person in particular is Boston’s own: singer and songwriter, Louie Bello. Over the years they have shared a stage and worked to elevate each other in the Music scene. Bello instantly saw the raw talent and ability KR possesses.

“The thing that separates KR from the rest is his ability to write amazing music. People know him for his stage show and his performance ability, but I feel his biggest gift is how he can create melodic stories off the top of his head that can relate to any genre. The kid is humble and determined to break barriers with his music this year,” said Bello.

After much of the music scene in Boston was hit hard by COVID restrictions, KR is thriving again, and he’s doubling down on writing his own music this year. This is something that his fans have been waiting for. KR is excited about the prospect of songwriting and building on his already established name. “I have plans for the future, but right now I’m just focused on making music, but eventually… someday, I see myself teaching.”