The bluesy singer/songwriter confessionals heard on Keaton Simons' first collection, Currently, barely hint at the varied depth of musicianship and experience that hide behind the music's relaxed demeanor. As a youngster growing up in the Los Angeles area, Simons had a natural flair for playing instruments, and by his early teens had already decided to pursue a career in music. In addition to co-founding the jazz-influenced group Nobody Knows, he took on gigs all over the city and eventually found himself involved in L.A.'s hip-hop scene playing for artists like Tré Hardson (Pharcyde) and Kim Hill (Black Eyed Peas). The unexpected dissolution of Nobody Knows (due to the death of a bandmember) had Simons questioning his choices, and soon he found himself studying music and composition at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.
Armed with a new outlook, a broadened musical base, and some newly self-penned songs, Simons moved back to L.A. after graduation and picked up where he left off with Tré, while adding stints with N'Dea Davenport and Snoop Dogg to his résumé. Between the numerous gigs he was able to form a band and began to perform his own songs around town. His first major break came when he was asked to compose songs for the film Mercy Streets, which featured his stepfather, actor Eric Roberts. Simons ultimately used these songs to comprise his demo, which caught the attention of Maverick Records. With a record deal in place, he was able to record a few more tunes and issue the EP Currently in April 2004. Later that summer, he was to released his full-length debut disc, Exes and Whys, featuring tracks produced by the Matrix (Avril Lavigne), but it was unfortunately shelved when Warner Bros. took full control over Maverick after a bitter battle that same year. As a result of the reorganization, Simons and his contract were lost in the scuffle. Soldiering on, Simons eventually found a home at CBS where he worked with producer Dave Bianco on 2008's Can You Hear Me. Simons soon found out that being at CBS had its advantages as several songs from Can You Hear Me were featured on the company's hit television shows including Numb3rs and NCIS. ~ Aaron Latham