Worlds collide, and alchemy ensues.Inside the music ofKeshi, ethereal melodies and lo-fi beats entwine with handcrafted instrumentation and understated guitar wizardry, emitting modern transmissions by way of a traditional beacon. This bold blend of R&B, hip-hop, and pop remains a signature of the Houston singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist born Casey Luong. Tallying over 40 million cumulative streams independently and inking a deal with Island Records, he uncovers bits of himself ineach and every song.“Keshiis literally the most undiluted parts of my being that come out,” he exclaims. “I’m not copying anything. Instead, I’m fleshing out a little spot for myself. It explores sultry R&B crooning, but there’s also a level of old school songwriting and melodic sensibility I learned from playing so much guitar. It all speaks to who I am.”At 12-years-old, Casey initially decided to pick up the instrument. His grandfather possessed a“fat classical guitar”and a music book in Vietnamese. From there, he taught himself how to play and developed a deep passion for music,“sitting in front of the computer for hours on end every day and soaking it all up.”His influences grew from All Time Low and John Mayer to Frank Ocean, The 1975, Drake, and Bryson Tiller as he learned production on GarageBand throughout high school.Following graduation, he kicked off a career as a registered nurse. In between grueling shifts, he shared an early composition entitled “if you’re not the one for me who is” online. He entered it into a competition on a Joji reddit fan page. Receiving“validation from strangers for the first time,”he continued to share more songs online. “over u” made waves on Spotify and generated over 7 million streams as “just friends” surpassed the 9-million-mark. Meanwhile, he claimed real estate on popular playlists such asLow-Keyandantipopwith his 2018 breakoutTHE REAPEREP, boasting “like i need u.”Everything set the stage for his Island Records debut,SKELETONSEP.“THE REAPERcombined classic writing and new production,” he elaborates. “WhereasTHE REAPERis melodramatic in a romantic sort of way,SKELETONSis melodramatic in a grown-up sort of way. A lot of people my age are trying to figure out how to live life on their own after graduating college, getting jobs, and moving out. The transition sucks. You realize the real world isn’t what you thought. I’ve seen most of my friends have trouble coping. I’m combining their stories and mine in the music. At the same time, I’m exploring guitar in ways I haven’t before.”“summer” and “atlas” preceded the project as he unveiled its heart on the single “xoxosos.” His falsetto glides over lithely plucked acoustic guitar as he confesses through vocal modulation—“All we ever do is have sex anyways”—before a glassy seductive chant.“I was going through a rough patch with my girlfriend,” he admits. “It felt like all we were doing was coming home, fucking, and fighting. I was wondering if there was any merit to the relationship anymore. The songis overt as it shows a fear of leaving what’s comfortable. I like writing about those strange vulnerabilities you have with someone you’re so close to.”Meanwhile, “Skeletons” shares the“exhaustion with my routine as a nurse and wanting something more”over delicate strumming and stark production.Within this framework of catchy and confessional off-kilter pop, you’ll get to knowKeshi.“When you hear me, I want you to realize it’s okay to be vulnerable,” he concludes. “All of my skeletons are out for thetaking, so don’t be ashamed of yours. I’m being as real as I can be. The closer it is to my heart, the closer it is to everyone else’s hearts.
Zac Greer is a singer and producer from Phoenix, Arizona who got his start playing piano and making song covers on SoundCloud. He started learning to produce in early 2018 from watching YouTube tutorials and draws inspiration from artists such as Aries, Mac Miller and Lauv.