Wendel Patrick is not a fictional pseudo-name. Derived from family, it’s classical pianist Kevin Gift’s other half. With “WP” tattooed on his arm, Gift adopted the alias from his late twin brother. Despite the relation, Gift’s work under both names has generated fan-bases that rarely realize the other exists.
With a little over six months to go, Gift has taken on the task of his musical career, not by combining the two projects, but by simultaneously releasing work. On New Years Day 2014, under both his legal and borrowed name, Gift plans to release four full-length albums.
“Financially it doesn’t make sense to do this,” Gift says, “but I’m going to do it anyway.”
But Gift’s casual phrasing is misleading, as his project doesn’t merely consist of writing and performing his songs. Instead he has taken on the responsibility of writer, arranger, recorder, producer, publicist, campaign manager and electronic engineer. His studio is full of technology used to create various musical tones without the tangible instrument, yet even the most trained ear can hardly tell the difference.
While Gift’s four-album-goal emulates the aura of a challenge seeker, it wasn’t until four years ago that the notion of releasing even another album was plausible. After releasing his previous work, Gift took a break from recording when he just didn’t have any songs finished. Until after booking a hall to record a classical album, Gift’s plans to continue on his recording path was halted, when he was diagnosed with focal dystonia, a neurological condition that stripped him of control over his hands, and ultimately his capacity to perform.
“It affected my ability to control and play in general,” he explains. “For a long time I really didn’t think I’d be able to play.” Since his diagnosis, Gift was able to retrain his muscles to play music again. It has been two years since his hands have been affected, and it’s obvious Gift has refused to let the condition keep him from creating.
For his current project Gift plans to release three albums under his electronic/hip-hop name, Wendel Patrick. The first entitled “Passage,” is an album built upon the concept of starting a song off a particular note that a previous song ended on. The second album is entitled, “Travel,” consisting of songs that are all named after the cities they were about or created in.
The third of the Patrick albums is a J. Dilla tribute album entitled “JDWP,” comprised of obvious influences without any actual sampling, who’s proceeds will also go to the J. Dilla Foundation to fund inner-city music. The fourth New Year’s Day release will fall under Gift’s classically performed repertoire entitled “20TEN.”
Gift is currently campaigning on Indiegogo to raise funds for everything from manufacturing costs to publicity, in order to make his vision a success.
“I Just realized it’s June,” Gift says, as his January 1st deadline approaches, and each album remains unfinished. “I think I was just sort of thinking, what would be a good marker for me, and it just kinda started to sound good in my head, it’s a new year, “ he says. “It resonated more than any other day, not for any personal reason, but it’s New Years Day.”
While the bulk of his work is complete, and as the artwork for some of the albums hangs on the walls of his Baltimore studio, he’s got a lot of work ahead. “Depending on how the campaign goes, I might send it out to get finalized,” he says, “more out of curiosity.” In the mean time, as the campaign wages on, Gift continues to write and record whenever he wants, as his studio is the atmosphere he chose and created; a luxury he wouldn’t be allotted in a rented studio.
Fans can help through a variety of contributions, some even benefiting in personalized songs and EPs from Gift himself.
Those curious can check out his previous work at:
And anyone interested in contributing can do so at his Indiegogo site: