How Kenny G Became One of the Richest Musicians of All Time – Career Gear (2024)

Kenny G is a name that is synonymous with smooth jazz. The saxophonist has been entertaining audiences for over four decades with his soothing melodies and catchy tunes. But how did he achieve such success and fame? And what is his net worth today? In this article, we will explore the life and career of Kenny G, and reveal how he amassed a fortune of $100 million.

Early Life and Education

Kenny G was born as Kenneth Bruce Gorelick on June 5, 1956, in Seattle, Washington. He came from a Jewish family, and his mother was a Canadian immigrant from Saskatchewan. He developed an interest in music at a young age, after hearing a saxophone performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. He started playing the saxophone, a Buffet Crampon alto, when he was 10 years old. He took lessons from a local trumpeter, Gerald Pfister, and also learned from the records of Grover Washington Jr.

Kenny G attended Whitworth Elementary School, Sharples Junior High School, Franklin High School, and the University of Washington, all in his hometown. He excelled academically, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with a major in accounting. He also showed talent in sports, especially golf, which he learned from his elder brother, Brian.

Early Career and Breakthrough

Kenny G started his professional career as a sideman for Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra in 1973, when he was 17 and still in high school. He used the name Kenny Gorelick, and played flute and saxophones with the Seattle funk band Cold, Bold & Together during 1975-1976. He then joined the Jeff Lorber Fusion, a jazz-fusion group, in 1980, and recorded two albums with them.

Kenny G signed with Arista Records as a solo artist in 1982, after label president Clive Davis heard his rendition of “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. He released his self-titled debut album in the same year, which went gold. His next two albums, G Force (1983) and Gravity (1985), both went platinum, but it was his fourth album, Duotones (1986), that catapulted him to international stardom. The album sold over five million copies in the US, and featured the hit single “Songbird”, which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was one of the only two instrumentals to ever achieve that feat, the other being the Miami Vice Theme by Jan Hammer in 1985.

Peak of Popularity and Awards

Kenny G continued to dominate the charts and the airwaves with his subsequent albums, which blended smooth jazz, pop, R&B, and easy listening genres. His fifth album, Silhouette (1988), sold over four million copies in the US, and spawned the singles “Silhouette”, “Midnight Motion”, and “Sade”. His sixth album, Breathless (1992), was his best-selling work, with over 12 million copies sold in the US, and 15 million worldwide. It included the songs “Forever in Love”, “By the Time This Night Is Over”, and “Even If My Heart Would Break”. He won his first and only Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Instrumental Composition for “Forever in Love”.

Kenny G also collaborated with many other artists, such as Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Frank Sinatra, Andrea Bocelli, and Michael Bolton. He performed at various events, such as the 1997 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also set a Guinness World Record in 1997 for holding the longest note ever played on a saxophone, which lasted for 45 minutes and 47 seconds.

Recent Years and Ventures

Kenny G has remained active and relevant in the music industry, releasing more albums and touring around the world. His latest album, Brazilian Nights, came out in 2015, and was inspired by his love for bossa nova music. He also ventured into other fields, such as acting, appearing in movies like The Bodyguard (1992), Pretty Woman (1990), and A Bad Moms Christmas (2017). He also invested in various businesses, such as Starbucks, which he bought shares of before it went public in 1992. He reportedly made more money from his Starbucks investment than from his music career.

Kenny G is also an avid golfer, and has participated in several tournaments. He ranked number one in the Golf Digest ranking of Top 100 in Music in 2006. He also supports various charitable causes, such as the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the MusiCares Foundation.

Personal Life and Net Worth

Kenny G has been married twice, and has two sons. His first wife was Janice DeLeon, whom he married in 1980 and divorced in 1987. His second wife was Lyndie Benson, whom he married in 1992 and divorced in 2012. His sons are Max and Noah, both of whom are musicians as well.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kenny G has a net worth of $100 million as of 2023. He earned most of his wealth from his music sales, concerts, royalties, endorsem*nts, and investments. He owns several properties, such as a mansion in Malibu, California, which he bought for $12.5 million in 2008, and a penthouse in Seattle, Washington, which he bought for $3.85 million in 2017. He also has a collection of luxury cars, such as a Bentley, a Ferrari, and a Mercedes-Benz.


Kenny G is one of the most successful and influential musicians of all time, with a career that spans over four decades and a fan base that spans over the globe. He is known for his smooth jazz saxophone style, which has captivated millions of listeners and inspired many other artists. He is also a savvy businessman, a philanthropist, and a golfer. He has a net worth of $100 million, which reflects his hard work, talent, and passion. He is a living legend, and a true icon of music.

How Kenny G Became One of the Richest Musicians of All Time – Career Gear (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated:

Views: 5869

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.