TCT: We should start off by thanking you for allowing us to sit and chat with you despite your busy schedule. There’s so much musical activity going on around Shanghai, which you have to take part in. Congratulations on that.
KE▽iN: Ah man, not at all. Thank you for approaching me about it!
TCT: To start off with, what’s the most unusual request you’ve had with your music?
KE▽iN: If you’d asked me this a few months ago, I would have said, ‘The most unusual request I’ve had was to sing in a huge art gallery full of marble over amplified sound with no mic.’ That seems a bit less unusual now that I’ve sung sitting in a window to the passersby, feet dangling into the open air, on the top floor of a building. [laughs]
TCT: What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the business?
KE▽iN: Consider that which frightens you, try that which excites you, and stick with that which fulfills you. Therein, you’ll find your niche, and no one can fill that but you. The result of this process is your brand. Your brand is what will feed you.
TCT: What’s next?
KE▽iN: I’m super excited about the Stevie Wonder tribute I’m doing on November 20th with a production company called EncoreLive, which is based in Shanghai. This company has given me the opportunity to perform at some of Shanghai’s biggest venues, including the Sennheiser Shanghai Concert Hall and The Mixing Room at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
I’m also working on both an EP and an LP, both of which are just starting to take shape. So, I hope to have more news on that very soon.
TCT: What advice would you give your younger self?
KE▽iN: Stop being so safe and listening so much to people who are where you are [in life], and stop being so damn scared of talking to those who are where you want to be. Yes, some who have access to certain doors may not be so welcoming, but rudeness never killed anybody. Persistence and consistency build relationships, and relationships are worth more than anything else you could ever attain. F*** fear and live; it’s the only way to learn anything worth knowing.
TCT: What is an artwork you would like to have in your living room?
KE▽iN: I’m very into vintage billboard canvases, and there’s a Hennessy advert featuring Marvin Gaye. I would love that to be stretch across an entire wall of my living room, steel beams and all.
TCT: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
KE▽iN: Dead? Maybe Jimi Hendrix or Michael Jackson. Alive? Certainly Oprah Winfrey or Whoopi Goldberg.
TCT: Greatness all around! What is the most memorable moment from your career?
KE▽iN: My most memorable moment would be getting to tour with my younger brother. We had lived in different states; he was in Atlanta, and I was in DC. I knew he had been doing some work as a DJ, among other things, and when I finally moved back home for a bit, we were able to collaborate on some shows, along with one of my best friends from high school who is still one of my favorite drummers.
TCT: Tell us something no one knows about you?
KE▽iN: There’s very little that no one knows about me because I’m generally quite an open book. The thing that usually surprises people is that I have no tattoos or piercings, but that may change soon.
TCT: It sounds like these tattoos are going to be both unique and surprising, we can’t wait. Lastly, we’d like to see how fast you can answer these six questions before concluding this interview. Here we go… Picasso or Matisse?
TCT: Emma Watson or Scarlett Johansson?
KE▽iN: Scarlett Johansson.
TCT: Coffee or tea?
TCT: Fame or money?
TCT: Love or friendship?
Interview conducted by Rodney Hollingsworth