Kimberly Lee Kennedy, a longtime audio engineer and tour manager who worked with artists including Trent Reznor and Rage Against the Machine over a career that spanned more than three decades, died on Aug. 7 at her home in Los Angeles surrounded by family and close friends. She was 52.
“Kim was a wonderful person,” said Shinedown frontman Brent Smith, who worked with Kennedy, in a statement sent to Billboard. “She was beautiful inside, and out, and I will be forever grateful for what she taught me, and the time I got to spend with her. She was massively respected in the touring industry, and the music business. To this day, I still have conversations with some of the biggest promoters in the world, that continue to keep her spirit alive with one unique phrase… ‘If you wanna do it the right way, do it the Kim Kennedy way’… Myself, all of us in Shinedown, our management, InDegoot Entertainment, and McGathy Promotions, and Atlantic Records will miss her Deeply. We love you Kim, Godspeed.”
Kennedy graduated with a degree in audio engineering and music business from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and subsequently launched her career as an audio engineer at South Beach Studios and Circle House in Miami, where she worked with artists including P. Diddy and Alejandro Sanz. In 2002, she moved to New Orleans to manage Nothing Studios for Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, a job she held until 2004. That was followed by a stint at famed Los Angeles studio The Record Plant, where she served as director of operations/traffic and worked with artists including Johnny Rotten, Waka Flocka Flame, Shinedown, DJ Pooh, The Neptunes, Rage Against the Machine and Maynard James Keenan.
In 2006, Kennedy pivoted to business management, where she managed the financial activities of touring acts including Carole King, Alice in Chains and Megadeth. She last worked as a tour manager at Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group.
“Kim was an important member of our team and an incredible asset to our clients, but what impressed me the most about her was the outstanding daughter she raised,” said Tri Star CEO Lou Taylor in an email. “She will be greatly missed by all of us.”
Kennedy is survived by her daughter, Brittany Kennedy; grandson Jaden; mother Lee Brock; and stepfather Joe Brock.
“She was a very fun mom,” said Kennedy’s daughter Brittany Kennedy in a statement sent to Billboard. “She and I had our own ways of communicating with each other in our weird voices. She LOVED all things Disney but mostly she loved the villains and Alice In Wonderland. My mom was just simply amazing in every way I can think of. She was perfect in my eyes and still is. She’s a very strong and independent woman and she loved music and the industry with everything she had in her. She is my inspiration and my hero.”
Kennedy’s family will be holding a small private service. In lieu of flowers, they are requesting that donations be made to the MusiCares Foundation in her name.