KESHI : LOVE, SMILE AND MELANCHOLY

I am happy to talk about Keshi today ! You might know him as he’s very successful on Spotify recently ! But if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, come and catch-up !

Keshi for Rouge Vis

Discover Keshi’s music here

He is very talented indeed. However he doesn’t only have excellent skills in music, he also got a fantastic story to tell you ! Read this interview and you’ll discover his evolution from where he started to where he is now.

First a short description of Keshi 

My name is Casey, and I’ve been producing music as Keshi for a little bit over a year. “Keshi” started out as a way for me to explore a new genre of music (lofi, hip hop, alt r&b) without being under the scrutiny of friends and family. When you pursue something new, you’re going to fail in the beginning, and it was way easier to innovate myself when I was failing outside of watchful eyes. I used to make blues music, with homage to singer-songwriters like John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, and the like; acoustic-based stuff that was easy to digest. After an eye-opening gig that I had in L.A., I decided that something had to change, but I wasn’t sure what. So I made an account on soundcloud that I named “Keshi” (after a name that I was called often in my childhood, and still now to this day). There I experimented with different genres, freely making whatever I thought was beautiful, unafraid of judgment from my peers. It was liberating.

Then a description of his own music

“Houston producer and vocalist Keshi has beautifully progressed since first releasing music in 2017. Initially crafting lofi beats and using his voice as an added layer of the instrumental, Keshi has since evolved into a genuine singer/songwriter. Blending hypnotic bumps with flower petal lullabies, his sorrowful and emotional tracks feel like dancing with the lights off. Like crying and smiling at the same time. Perhaps a fitting manifesto of his music can be heard on the track “onoffonoff”, when Keshi sings “kiss me when you hurt me.” Emotional, heartfelt, and sincere, his bedroom blues will remain in your head for days/weeks to come.”  ~Ben Niespodziany, Neonpajamas (This was a review that was written by Ben Niespodziany from Neonpajamas recently. It gives good insight into what my sound is now.)

  • Can you tell us more about that “Eye-opening” event you’ve mentioned earlier ? What has pushed you to create this SoundCloud account ?

I used to make music under my real name which was Casey Luong and I didn’t use to make this kind of music always. I used to make acoustic based music similar to John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Basically I had done a decent job at it. I won a competition here in Houston. It was a competition that was hold all over the US and if you did well they’d send you to Los Angeles. Therefore, I flew to L.A and I realized that when I was there, the other people invited to perform were really talented, they were very good. They did everything I did but they did it better. When I performed, I messed up my set. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. I felt that something had to change musically. I was not sure what it was. I felt like I was not being the artist I wanted to be. It was very revealing for me. I felt like I needed to go back to the drawing board and see what I could fixed. That’s when I started producing more because I enjoy a really dynamic kind of sound and I could not achieve that when I was doing acoustic.

I went home and I didn’t want anybody else to watch me creating this new kind of music. I created Keshi in secret. I didn’t want friends and family to be my only fans. I wanted to make fans from people that didn’t know me at all. When you just upload things on SoundCloud without telling anybody, it’s almost impossible for anybody to find you. By some unknown kind of force people stumbled upon my music and stuck around. I got bigger from there. Then, music aggregators on YouTube came across my music and really liked it. They featured me on their channel. Ever since then it’s just been growing faster than I can keep track of.

  • What have you done to change your style since this event in L.A ?

At the time when I did that show in Los Angeles I had started listening to Lo Fi, to a different kind of music. I had started exploring hip-hop more and I was listening to people like In Love With A Ghost, TOMPPABEATS and Joji. I really enjoyed how they used unconventional sounds to make music like bottles, marbles, water or white noise. I wanted to diversify how my music sounded.

  • Where did the decision of making homage to singer John Mayer came from ? Which artist is a real inspiration for you ?

The very first exposure I had to mature songwriting was John Mayer. I really enjoy how he wrote his lyrics. It was very impactful on me since my young age. for years I played guitar and wrote songs in that way. In the beginning I used my voice purely as an added element of the song. Now I am starting to do songwriting again. You hear a lot more lyrics in my songs nowadays. I truly want to combine the two you know. John Mayer is not very visible in my songs anymore. However, the way that I write lyrics came from his influence on me. I have to say that my songs are now a fusion of different genre like Lo Fi, Trap and RnB. I’ve not really heard anyone who does all those things. I wanted to be the first person to do that.

  • How does it feels to become successful ? As you’re doing 300K per month on Spotify, I think we can call this a success !

It feels amazing, it’s surreal. I can’t believe it ! I’ve been making music all my life you know. Finally, with Keshi I’ve succeeded in creating something that is incredible. My goal in music is to make something that I want to listen to personally. Keshi is something that helps me to insure a certain standard of quality. I make to many songs everyday and when I find one which is really good, I think “This is good enough for Keshi”. I refer to Keshi in a third person not because I think I’m so great but because it’s more of a project for me. It’s something that I’ve made. I don’t see Keshi as me but as a music. I’m so happy that people like Keshi. I get messages everyday, I can’t reply to them fast enough but I try to reply to every single one. I’ve been getting messages in Chinese because my music is spreading in China recently. It feels crazy. I still can’t believe it.

  • How was your collaboration with OK2222 ? Beside you is the track you’ve done together !

I feel like my collaboration gets overlooked sometimes, not everybody knows I did them so I’m very thankful that you asked. He (OK2222) reached out to me. He’s part of Dream Easy and he wanted to make something with me. I agreed but usually it doesn’t turn out that well. I sent him the guitar I wrote for the track. It was a long time before he got back to me and he said “I put some vocals on it, what do you think?”. I really liked it and I sang over it as well. He’s a little bit of a perfectionist. I sent him 10 versions or something, it was crazy. It was mainly about wanting to make a sweet song as I usually do. If you listen to my music, I have a fear of being alone.

  • Speaking of your music, which track you’ve done so far is your favourite ?

My favourite track is actually the very first one I wrote as Keshi, it’s If you’re not the one for me who is . That song started everything. Over You has been the most popular but If you’re not the one for me who is is the best one. I think it’s the only song that’s not only sad. It’s a very sweet song. It’s the closest thing to a love song. This one is about my current girlfriend actually. The lyrics are about two different sides: one is about “I’m so in love with you” but the other side is more like “if you’re not the one, then I don’t know”. It’s love and loneliness at the same time. I really love that double aspect for this song. One of them is being so in love that you can’t imagine yourself with anybody else and the other one is being so afraid to leave this person that you’d be lonely for the rest of your life.

  • How do you write your lyrics ? Does someone helps you ?

Nobody is helping me. I’m taking songwriting very seriously actually. I think it’s the most important thing to me that I am the only one writing these lyrics because I like to maintain the integrity of the songwriting. Otherwise, if everybody else takes a hand in writing it’d turn into generic feelings. Even if the lyrics are unbalanced, I think that’s the best. It really enunciates exactly the emotion that you are feeling. It’s more special that way. I really tried to have my voice be a very prominent part of every song because that’s what makes it mine. If not, you can’t place any personality into it.

  • Have you ever done live shows ?

I have done many live shows before but this was before Keshi. I have done them as an acoustic songwriter using a loop pedal. Similar to Ed sheeran sets you know. It had dynamics with the voice. However, as Keshi not yet. I want to really make it perfect. I need a song to sing. I didn’t write that many when I started Keshi but now I think I have twelve-ish songs out and I am releasing an EP of about four songs in the near future. It’s almost done. I hope that you’ll stay posted for that. After that release I gonna talk to my manager and we’re gonna get a tour started. We’ve gonna hit 5 cities. They’re gonna be L.A, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas and Chicago. It’s to give a start. We’ll then know if we can go elsewhere !

  • It might be an intrusive question but are you living from your music ?

In regular life I’m a nurse. I just finished university ! I am making more with music currently. Right now I work only three days a week which makes 36h. I can shift and go to part time, I’d then do two days a week and have five days to do music. I’m doing better as a musician than as a nurse right now.

  • Finally, we like to ask open question at the end of the interview. Do you have future project ?

I have to finish this EP which is about four songs. I’ll finish it first and then plan to do a tour and music videos. 2 songs of the EP are completely done. My goal is to finish the last two before December. Stay posted, I hope everyone will like it. I can’t wait everybody to hear it !

Thanks Keshi for the time you spent doing this interview, but we already have to say you good bye and good luck for the future ! Find him here :

By Maksance ©RougeVis

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