Belmont alumnus and nationally acclaimed musician Gordon Kennedy was recently recognized as a Morris Family Mentor & Lecture Series and Curb College Distinguished Lecturer.
Son of the acclaimed Jerry Kennedy, Gordon Kennedy was raised in Nashville and attended Brentwood Academy. During his time at Belmont, Kennedy played guitar for several Reba McEntire projects including “Today All Over Again” and her first No. 1, “Can’t Even Get the Blues.” Kennedy was first nationally recognized when he won the Grammy for Song of the Year for Eric Clapton’s 1997 No. 1 hit, “Change the World,” co-written with Wayne Kirkpatrick and Tommy Sims. Kennedy’s songs have been cut by Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and George Strait, among others. Kennedy served on the Board of Governors for the Nashville’s National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the Belmont University Advisory Board.
Kennedy has continually given to Belmont and its students for years. He has spoken at seminars, hosted events (including Belmont’s Homecoming concert, Homecoming in the Round), is an adjunct professor, a student mentor and recently received the Curb College’s Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence. Now, Gordon is the fifth and final recipient of the Distinguished Lecturer, an honor given to industry professionals who inspire others through their work in the entertainment and music industry.
During his presentation, Gordon focused on his upbringing and faith as a base of his musical career. He said his father surrounded their home with music, influencing him from the beginning. When asked how he has sustained a music career, he encouraged students to not be afraid of rejection, and insisted he never saw another option for a career–music was what he wanted. He also reminded students to be present in the moment, particularly at Belmont among fellow students. Kennedy has many relationships with people he met at Belmont, and if he had not been attentive, he would have never met those people. When asked how to get involved with the Belmont songwriting community, Kennedy urged all students to collaborate with each other. He discussed the influence of his faith on his music, personal life and long-term career.
Kennedy said, “I think about my life as a set of dominos behind me.” He stressed that each moment and person he has met along the way is a piece in the dominos line. If one wereremoved, the next would have never been reached – completely altering his path.