Meet Keshi

Casey Luong or better known for his moniker, Keshi, is the mysterious hip-hop lo-fi singer that is silently gathering over millions of plays across all streaming platforms from his home studio. In 2017, Keshi released his first song “over u” which can be best described as a bittersweet banger. His gentle vocals profess strong heartfelt emotions over an acoustic-trap hybrid beat.  

The Houston bred singer/songwriter blends together hypnotic vocals with flower petal melodies that can make you feel like crying and smiling at the same time. His latest single 2 Soon, displays an evolution within his work; it's an upbeat yet personal track that makes you want to dance in a room with all the lights off for an hour.


We had the chance to chat with Keshi and delve deeper into the singer’s songwriting process, and how he is adapting to the newfound success as a musician.


How do you like to be addressed? Keshi or Casey?  

Keshi is fine.

How do you like the music scene in Houston?

I get asked that question a lot. Its kinda hard to describe I feel like its more geared towards rocks bands that are doing gigs around. Most of my stuff is done in my home studio, but I’ve done some acoustic based music beforehand,it's okay. There's some opportunities here and there but I wouldn’t say its booming.


Where did the name Keshi originate from?

It's a childhood name. There's a friend that I have and she’s actually my girlfriend now, maybe going to be family soon. I’ve known her since about 5th or 6th grade and we’ve been best friends ever since then. Her family is Japanese so everytime I went over to the house they’d call me “Keshi.” It was supposed to be a secret side project, so I used it as an anonymous username, I thought it would be kinda nostalgic and it does have significant meaning to me. But at the same time the main goal of using “Keshi” when I first incepted it was so that nobody knew who I was.

Interesting, so how do you feel now that your music gaining millions and millions of plays?

It so crazy! It's not like I didn’t want Keshi to be successful. So I guess to give you the run down. In high school I used to make music under my own name, which is Casey, and I made a lot of acoustic based music, like blues and singer/songwriter kind of stuff. Sort of like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran and that was sort of my groove for a while. Then after winning a small competition in Houston, they flew me out to LA to do a show. I did this show, and you know after winning this show in your home city, you get that sense of you’re good at what you do. But when I went to LA, I learned that I wasn’t really that good at what I did. I saw the other acts and they did the exact same thing that I did but they were just better. I felt that something had to change, but I didn’t know exactly what. It was around that time I was listening to low-fi music, tommppa beats, joji, in love with a ghost, and all these other producers that were starting this new movement. I really fell in love with how they used avant garde sounds to add depth to their music and I thought that was so cool. I had no idea how that worked. So, after that show I got myself a mini-keyboard and I started a soundcloud account, called “Keshi”, and I uploaded a bunch of demos, that are now gone, and that nobody listened to. I thought it was great, I had this freedom to experiment with the sound, like I wasn’t afraid to fail. If friends and family weren’t able to hear it I was able to experiment that way.

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I got myself a mini-keyboard and I started a soundcloud account, called “Keshi”, and I uploaded a bunch of demos, that are now gone, and that nobody listened to. I thought it was great, I had this freedom to experiment with the sound, like I wasn’t afraid to fail. If friends and family weren’t able to hear it I was able to experiment that way.

shot by Kenji Chong

Yeah, it was like a really good creative outlet to remain anonymous.

It was more like a haven. It was a way for me to grow outside people’s watch. I think it really imperative to the growth.

What is your songwriting process? Do you produce all your own songs? Or do you collaborate with other local producers or is everything very organic and DIY?

Everything you’ve heard is stuff that I’ve produced myself. I really don’t like singing over someone else’s beats, because the most fun part for me about making music is creating an ensemble and a new world using so many different sounds. It’s all about the music to me, its always been about making cool art. I don’t really care about being super popular but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be successful. It’s very important to me to be able to map out my soundscape.

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I feel like keeping it lowkey and anonymous is what I prefer. I kinda like to stay out of the limelight just a little bit.

shot by Kenji Chong

Looping back to your question about the songwriting. Back in the day, I used to sit down with acoustic guitar and come up with chord progressions and write lyrics to it. I would record it in Garageband, you don’t realize you’re producing back then when you’re just recording a bunch of vocal takes and stuff. But you are! You’re learning. But now when I write music, I aim to find a chord progression, that's not so overused, and I’ll loop it. I find a chord progression that I like and the instant that it clicks with me i put into (Dah) and I get straight to making drums. And the music leaves you breadcrumbs and in the end you sort of follow where the music takes you, it's almost like building a puzzle. So I’ll track out the whole beat and once I find a really solid beat going then I’ll go and put it in my vocals and I find a melody to it and then I’ll write lyrics from there.


Oh wow! That sounds like a super detailed and in-depth process.

I mean, yeah, I feel like in this world of Hip-Hop right now there's a distinct line of “Artist” and “producer” and then there’s “manager” that puts the two together or they just find each other themselves. I think that when you have someone who can do both, it takes a lot of time but i think the product is a lot more genuine.


Your music is very intimate and vulnerable. Each song has a super intense emotion and feelings woven into them. But the whole overall vibe of Kesi is very mysterious and ominous. Do you consider yourself to be super mysterious? How is Casey different from Keshi?

I love this question. When I have spoken about Keshi before I refer to him as a third person. I don’t really see Keshi as myself. I see it more as a project that I’m undertaking. I’m really glad that people are taking to it. I feel like there is an allure to keeping it this way and mysterious, it's not like I’m doing it on purpose. I’ve always wanted the direction to be towards the music and not so much on the artist but the representation of me helps to convey the mood of the art, and that’s the goal. As a side-effect people get this mysterious vibe, but its all to help convey the mood of the music.

I feel like keeping it lowkey and anonymous is what I prefer. I kinda like to stay out of the limelight just a little bit.  

Yeah, I don’t blame you. Do you have any plans to release a debut or another EP?

Yeah! So, right now I’m battling with myself. When you think about releasing music in this age there's this conflict that you have. You really want to release something cohesive and high quality at the same time and also not wanting to lose the race or falling out of people’s attention. I think i achieved at by grinding and writing a bunch of songs and releasing the very best ones. It’s like a gladiator fest only the very best ones every month or so and doing that keeps me in people’s minds a bit. But going off and doing a whole EP and then disappearing is something I’m scared of.

But yes, I have four songs I want to release as a cohesive debut project. I’m really itching to release one of them very soon.


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It’s like a gladiator fest only the very best ones every month or so and doing that keeps me in people’s minds a bit. But going off and doing a whole EP and then disappearing is something I’m scared of.

shot by Kenji Chong

I’m excited for it. Are you a full time musician?

Yeah, I try to keep my lives very very separate. I’m actually a nurse, I’m an RN. Music is something is I’ve always my done my whole life but now that it's starting to have a bigger part in my life, I’m very strongly thinking about going full time as an artist. I find it a luxury to even consider that.

Which artists inspire you the most?

There are three crucial ones. John Mayer introduced me to more mature music and songwriting in general. I used to listen to John Mayer for years and then I came across Drake. There was a song off the Take Care album that showed me that hip-hop can be emotional as well and I really fell in love with this emotional side of hip-hop, there was this groove to it. The most imperitative one to me would be Joji. He really took that  lo-fi sound and combined it with the songwriting . When Drake sang on his hip-hop beats it was still rapping but when Joji sang on it, it was more moody and woeful. But production wise there's people like Dj Yung Vamp, Beside You, and Swamp that have a really big influence on my production.

But those three are really influence the Keshi sound.


Who are you currently listening to in this moment?

No realm, he just got signed to Dirty Hit. Bryson Tiller is always on my rotation and Mac Miller, his latest album is GREAT. And Aries he’s a YouTuber and an artist at the same time, I feel like he’s gonna blow up!

Right now, I feel like hip-hop is in a weird kind of era. There's like a slight homage to punk music right now with the melodies and stuff. Its like cloudtrap shifting into punk music. I really dig it. It's really nice to see hip-hop evolve.



Check out Keshi’s music below and follow him on his socials!