Special Interview: Kel

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I have been surrounded by music for my whole life – my family have been a huge source of musical inspiration, they taught me how to play instruments, how to sing, how to make music. But I guess I didn’t really try to write my own music until I was around 16. I guess what drew my interest was I loved to perform music and to sing, and I had a creative mind with heaps of ideas. So the dream became to find something where these two existed together which was to write and release my own music. 

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

I listen to a large range of music a lot of the time and I’m always kind of noting to myself how each genre or sound or chord progression makes me feel. What motivates me to make music is to share to people how I’m feeling and to almost invite people to feel the same for a short time. After going to heaps of concerts and festivals my motivation is to share the exciting and fun but also intimate moments of my life through my songwriting.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

My biggest goal is to release an album and to headline a tour. This is probably the dream for most aspiring musicians, but having written so many songs and starting the recording process for a few of them it’s made me really excited to share more of my music with people and to reimagine these songs I love so much for a live audience.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

At the moment you can definitely expect some more music to be released, my current focus is to keep recording and finishing the next couple of songs. I would absolutely love to tour eventually at some point – but there will most likely be more recorded music and live gigs before a full tour. 

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

My first and most recent release ‘Paradise’ was made with producer John Castle over zoom and phone calls a few months ago. It’s an emotional piano ballad with some rock thrown into it – it’s basically a story of a breakup. Generally – for the songs still yet to come – I would describe my music as alternative singer-songwriter pop rock – which crosses a lot of genres but at the base level my songs are written acoustically and then I experiment with some inspiration from different genres.   

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Honestly anything, it’s hard to tell. Occasionally something can be happening in my life that I react to or feel a certain way about and I sit down and write a song, but sometimes it doesn’t happen like that and it can be completely random. Like at 11pm I’ll get an idea for a melody or chord progression and then need to record it on my phone instantly. It’s always different.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

I would say that the meaning in my music isn’t really hidden. I’ve tried to carefully craft songs and their lyrics so that I actually communicate what I’m trying to say where it’s not too cryptic. Maybe for my friends and family they might try and pick apart who or what I’m singing about but mostly my intention when writing music is writing something true to myself but also relatable enough that listeners can imagine what the song means to them in their own way. 

Success, what is the secret to it?

Do what you love to do, make what you want to make. The motivation and drive that you’ll need to achieve success is a lot easier to find when you love what you’re doing.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

 On April 13, when my debut song ‘Paradise’ released, I was able to do a release launch show at the Great Club in Marrickville along with many other songs I’ve written. It was really fulfilling to have my friends and family listen to the music I’ve spent months and months writing. 

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

 Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, 

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

 Yes! I’m constantly writing and making new music so more is being recorded and I will share it with you as soon as it’s ready. 

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

I hope to see myself with a much larger catalog of released music, and hopefully headlining my own tour, it’s definitely a dream of mine. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

I would say my favorite and least favorite part about this work is the same thing. When writing my own songs, I love hearing them come to life and sharing to people how I’ve felt or emotions going on in my life, and on one hand I love hearing my music come together for people to listen to, but on the other it can be very uncomfortable and you can feel vulnerable sharing so much about your life with random people – and sometimes even more so with people close to you. It’s definitely like opening a window into a part of your life that maybe you wouldn’t be so quick to share with someone you know, but can be very rewarding when people relate and understand what you are trying to say.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Ruel, Sycco, Budjerah

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

I think the music industry right now is interesting, I feel like there’s a much larger amount of people choosing to make music independently and choosing to manage themselves and the ownership of their music which is really cool. For me personally, it’s so important to me when I release music into the public as I’m sharing myself and my life with the world as most of my songs are about my life. 

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

I’ll keep making music and promoting it as much as I can – I think from a music standpoint, the emotions and feelings that underpin my songs are universal and I think anyone can relate or imagine themselves to my music. I suppose I will keep doing my best to make good music and try and get it out there.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

So far my only collaboration has been with John Castle who produced ‘Paradise’, but there are definitely some people – both producers and artists I’d love to work with. I’d love to collaborate with Joel Little or Pip Norman on a track – they’ve produced quite a few songs I love, and for artists I’d love to collaborate with Ruel. He’s a great singer. 

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Make sure you enjoy what you are doing and the music you are creating, and also surround yourself with a team who love it too. Sometimes in this line of work I’ve found there can be a lot of setbacks and challenges but as long as you love your music and the people around you support you as well you’ll be OK.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

I’m always on Instagram the most, it seems to be the main place I live on social media so you can interact with me there!

Any last words?

 Thanks for the Q&A and everybody listen to my song ‘Paradise’ out everywhere!

Instagram: @keltreds

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