If your “chill-out” playlist needs a fresh entry, singer-songwriter Keshi’s music might just give it an added boost. The 25-year-old recording artist recently spent time with his Filipino fans, just days after his trending performance at Asia Rising Forever — a special live stream event featuring Asian artists.
In an intimate virtual hangout with fans and 8List.ph, the Vietnamese-American singer talked about his latest EP and his Asia Rising Forever experience as well as how this quarantine period due to COVID-19 helped him stay creative while staying at home.
FUN FACT: Keshi’s music is Paul Klein-approved. A number of Keshi’s Filipino fans, who were given a chance to ask questions during the virtual hangout, revealed that they discovered the singer after seeing LANY frontman Paul Klein talk about him online. “Awesome! I’m glad Paul was able to throw in some fans,” the singer said.
Keshi’s answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
How would you describe a “Keshi” song to someone?
KESHI: I would say honest. I think that’s the one quality I really strive to achieve in my songwriting. And, my songwriting is the thing that I hold highest. I wouldn’t say that I’m like the greatest guitar player in the world because obviously that’s John Mayer. He’s my hero. I hold myself to that sort of standard.
I wouldn’t also say like, I’m a vocalist like Rihanna or Beyoncé, but I think that like I said, I hold above all else is my songwriting. So, I would say honest. I would say melodic. I would say romantic.
I wouldn’t say overly emotional, because that’s not proper. I’m overindulgent of those feelings that you have. I kind of wallow on those emotions.
How do you stay creative during this COVID-19 crisis?
KESHI: That’s actually quite a challenge because it’s hard to write about life when you’re not living it. I don’t exactly want a song that’s talking about me staying indoors all the time. I have been exploring other facets of my musicality that I haven’t tapped into all the time.
So, I think it’s about kind of looking inside and seeing what inspired you as well as what inspires you currently. I think for the last record, I was really caught up with what was inspiring me at the moment. But I think it’s time to kind of go back to my roots a little bit, try to tap into that.
In terms of my guitar playing, I have been listening to a lot John Mayer recently. I’m a guitar player at heart but sometimes I feel like I’ve kind of not let myself do too many things on the guitar in terms of soloing and everything. But I’ve recently come into a way to record the guitar in a close to a not amateur-ish level, I can record properly now. So, I’m excited to say that I’m recording a lot of guitar.
How does it feel that your fans trended you during the Asia Rising Forever event?
KESHI: It was crazy. I am honestly so happy that the reception was so good to it. I felt nervous about it because I honestly think I was nervous because I didn’t get a chance to like mix and master my own audio. I recorded the audio, the crew came in here, they recorded it, and then they left, and that was it. I haven’t touched it anymore. I did not get to tweak anything that I wanted to tweak anymore.
So, just letting go of that made me a little bit nervous. And I didn’t get to see it until it airs. So, I was like ‘Oh god, I hope it’s as good as I remembered it’.
Whose set was your favorite at Asia Rising Forever?
KESHI: I’m actually a big fan of Beabadoobee. I like her a lot. I would say her set was pretty cool and getting to know her intimately. I was honored to go after her.
Tell us about your latest EP.
KESHI: Bandaids is out, as you guys probably know. It’s kind of a recent documentation, like a diary of the most recent chapter of my life. I hope you guys are enjoying it.
“Less of you” is a song that I wasn’t sure that people are gonna like. I remember I teeter-tottered on it. I sent it to my manager, I was like “this song is done, what do you think about it?” We went back and forth, he basically convinced me that I’m kinda being stupid and to just put the song out. So, I was like “okay”.