Keshav makes vocal debut in soca, prepares to drop soul-baring album

When the world went into lockdown last year, staying still forced many people to reckon with themselves, their situations and emotions.

That introspection is obvious in the music of some artistes who took the time to ponder about themselves and their purpose. For Keshav Chandradath Singh, it was an opportunity to ruminate on love and relationships.

Those ruminations are contained in Keshav’s as yet unnamed debut album due for release at a date to be determined.

The 13-track album sees Keshav baring his soul, exposing his vulnerabilities in song while also giving us a deep dive into his vocals.

It’s not the first time he is singing, having sung in rock and reggae bands before and even competing in Miami’s Soca Monarch at the age of 17 with Sizwe, but over the years, Keshav became more known for his work as part of production duo Jus Now on soca tracks such as ‘Truck on De Road”, “Tun Up” and “Big Bad Soca”.

Putting out a solo album has always been on Keshav’s bucket list.

“I made a concerted decision to start working on a singer/songwriter album in late 2019. I decided to do it only at home, even though I have the studio in St Ann’s, it gave me a chance to compartmentalise and focus. I was able to find solace in my own home space,” he told Loop News from Miami where he is visiting his parents.

Keshav immersed himself in his creative process. Taking a page from Bunji Garlin, he didn’t write down his lyrics, instead, he would wake up with an idea, head to the mic and let the words pour from his soul. Halfway through the process, though, he paralysed one vocal cord and couldn’t speak or sing for three months.

Photo: Jon Otway

“Losing my voice and the ability to communicate taught me a lot. I learned the value of not wasting my words, to observe a lil more, to not always have something to say,” he said.

“Miles Davis said music is about playing the spaces and that experience was a profound one. I was living alone, hardly saw anyone. Three months of being alone forced some introspection. I was grateful for the solitude, it was tough but it ended up in a beautiful realisation.”

The album is Keshav’s musings on many aspects of love wrapped up in all sorts of genres, among them drum and bass, rock and pop.

“They are all different, bound together by my thoughts,” he said.

The deeply personal album draws from a former relationship. In “Gravity” he explores the ups and downs of love, singing “What’s the point of stalling because you keep on coming back to me.”

In the haunting “Before We Start” he pleads to his love to let him lose her because his heart is breaking before they even start.

“It draws upon a relationship I was in. It was a very rounded experience from start to finish. The themes were in real-time about the relationship, the throes of it, the beautiful parts of it, the beauty and ending, the acceptance that most beautiful things don’t last,” he explained.

The 38-year-old completed the album last year and has already begun the process of putting together the second one. He is being very strategic with the release, stating that he has been talking to his trusted guides in the music world on how to manage the release.

As such, he has begun releasing soca singles that are not on the album but prepare a pathway to that body of work.

Artwork for Keshav’s new release Warm Sun. Photo: Kibwe Braithwaite & Suelyn Choo

“I am weaving the narrative in the way that I want to. I am already in the music world, I am starting there. Soca is my wheelhouse so I have seven soca songs, none of them on the album, they are singles and riddims but each of them is sonically and thematically connected to the album,” he explained.

His debut single “The Wickedest’ was released a couple of weeks ago on the Live Again Riddim. His second single “Warm Sun” was released this week.

The first song, he said, is a love song disguised as a party record while “Warm Sun” compares the energy and passion experienced in love to the encompassing warmth of the Sun.

“This is me, out there, heart on my sleeve. I am very grateful to have this career and as any musician or producer knows, the audience you have is the people you bared your all too and I am looking forward to baring my soul. I am an open book so I don’t mind baring all…it will appear quite vulnerable in a sense and it was therapy in a sense,” he said.

The soca tracks as well as the album are all on Keshav’s own label Heavy Drumz.

Even as he works on promoting his own music, Keshav, whose mother is from India, is planning to go on tour with American Indian singer Monica Dogra with whom he collaborated on a soca track and an EP.

He is also still working with his Jus Now partner Sam Interface. They recently produced a track in collaboration with XO originals Dance Group which was picked up by Apple for the rollout of the iphone 13.

Despite his work behind the controls, Keshav’s excitement about his vocal work is palpable.

He said: “It is exhilarating…I have had these moments that foreshadowed what is happening. When my dad was posted to India in the early 90s as High Commissioner, they had something called calypso nights and it was around Christmas time and I sang “Listen Mama”, there were some 30,000 people in the crowd. With Jus Now I played for 50,000 people at the biggest music festivals. It foreshadowed what I am doing now. If I had all these experiences, it would be a life wasted if I didn’t do this.”


This article was originally published on Loop News (

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