‘Passion’ Project: Bruce Kirkwood talks no regrets, music and his debut album
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Bruce Kirkwood studied accounting at the University of Southern Mississippi, but something else was tugging at his heartstrings.
“It was hard to pass up my passion,” Kirkwood says about pursuing a music career. “I knew I’d have a lot of regrets if I chose accounting.”
A professional violinist, the North Phoenix resident is set to release his debut album, “Passion,” on November 30. A release party will be scheduled soon.
“I haven’t slept,” he says with a laugh about “Passion.” “I’ve been up all night working on it. I have to work on it when I can. I do a lot of traveling for events.”
The Chicago native, who was raised in Gulfport, Mississippi, is experienced in playing a variety of styles and presenting a fusion of a classical and contemporary sounds. Thanks to his talents, he has performed for various prestigious organizations and events, such as the Houston Rockets, Iyanla Vanzant, Archdiocese of New York, National Urban League, Mayo Clinic, Essence Festival and Oprah Winfrey Network. With a collective social media following of over 100,000 people, he commits to using his global presence to motivate, empower and bring hope to the world.
He does so through his weekly Facebook Live performances, as well as motivational content on social media.
“This window of time is set aside weekly as an opportunity for people to step away from the negativity of social media and join a personable environment where positive energy and motivation is generated and transferred freely throughout those present,” Kirkwood says.
Kirkwood moved to Arizona to pursue his dream. He chose Phoenix to be near his agent/manager, Marion Kelly, the Mayo Clinic’s director of community affairs and the co-founder of the Diversity Leadership Alliance.
“We met in November 2018 at a conference in Mobile, Alabama,” Kirkwood says. “He was there repping the Mayo Clinic, and I was there performing.”
Kelly invited Kirkwood to perform in Phoenix, and the violinist fell in love with the desert, mountains and music scene.
“Coming from Biloxi, there are far more resources and connections here,” he says. “It was about time for me to move. COVID was slow, so it allowed me to go ahead and make that move. I have no regrets.”
He still has ties to the south, however. He recently held a virtual benefit for New Orleans after it was hit by Hurricane Ida. Kirkwood wanted to “meet a need and be a part of the solution.”
“So many people sit back, see it as entertainment or something to look at and say, ‘Wow,’” says Kirkwood, a Hurricane Katrina survivor. New Orleans is an hour from where he was raised.
“Many people don’t take that next step and help people rebuild and recover. We’re raising funds for the Greater New Orleans Foundation. My heart goes out to the devastated residents of the birthplace of jazz, who are once again forced to rebuild their communities.”
He’s still collecting money through GoFundMe, and all funds will be donated directly to the Greater New Orleans Foundation and allocated for purposes such as erecting temporary shelters, distributing food and water, providing medical care to the more than 4 million residents without power, and other necessities.
A violinist for about 20 years, Kirkwood is looking to Phoenix and Kelly to “catapult” him to where he wants to go. He yearns to continue to grow and make more connections.
“I love the musician community around here,” Kirkwood says. “There are great musicians and quality music opportunities at a very high level here. It’s new to me to have that locally. I’m really getting plugged in and making those connections to take things to the next level. That’s happening so quickly.”
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