Kieran Rhodes – Disengage

I first heard Kieran on the auditions of America’s Got Talent Season 17.  I remember him playing “She’s Got a Way” by Billie Joel.  He sat down on that grand piano very comfortably, he didn’t really seem nervous, which is insane for me to think as he’s on the biggest stage there is.  The audition starts and he begins slaying the song.  Simon stops the audition not even 30 seconds into the song.  The crowd immediately starts booing him and Simon asks, “Do you write your own songs?”.  Kieran answers that he does and he has a song called “Disengage”.  He didn’t seem thrown off by the abrupt stop of the audition, he simply answered the question and elaborated on what the song was about. 

The song started with the haunting arpeggio sweeps of the right hand.  I was immediately brought into the song.  Then his haunting voice is brought into the fold.  You can feel the pain that he’s feeling in this song.  It’s a true testament to a song when a viewer can feel the emotion that the artist is trying to invoke.  Of course you had the added emotion of an AGT audition, tons of screaming fans, emotional music playing, Terry Crews saying how much of a special performance it was.  So after I got done with the nostalgia of the Hollywood lights, I went to Spotify to listen to the song.  I was not disappointed.  The song had every bit of the emotion as I saw on the grand stage.  Honestly, it was so much better.  Kieran shortened the song on AGT, and the real song is a little over 4 minutes long. 

His original production song that you can hear on any streaming platform is filled with great musical production.  His voice haunts the ears as the backing vocals flow from beneath the song as moves through the verses.  There are some really interesting vocal swoons that happen throughout the verses.  Then when the chorus hits, the backing vocals give the song a nice quick boost and then lighten up so the pain can still slip through.  The song breaks down in a striped down way after the bridge.  Just Kieran and the piano as it leads out to the end of the song.  Reminding you that he is vulnerable and filled with these tortured emotions.  The song brings you a long a journey and gently drops you off at the end of the song.

About the Artist

If you mixed Elton John’s melodies with Randy Newman’s wit-filled lyrics and Chris Martin’s silky vocals and then put them on a baseball diamond you’d get Kieran Rhodes.  Hailing from Burnt Hills, Kieran was on track to play serious college baseball when he discovered a love for music in high school.  He tought himself piano and began writing songs in his late teenage years.  To date, the prolific, curious empathetic, and playful alt singer-songwriter has released eight singles and an EP, “On the Corner of Somewhere Street.”  His single, “What Got Into You” attracted over 60k streams and earned him an honorable mention in the 2021 American Songwriter Contest.  Kieran is influenced by greats such as Billy Joel, Randy Newman, and James Taylor.  Most recently know for his viral audition on season 17 of America’s Got Talen, Rhodes won the hearts of millions around the world with his original, “Disengage” which chronicles a struggle with depression.  With over 15 million views, the audition was praised by many including Billboard, Goldderby, and Simon Cowell himself.