I heard people saying the popular adage ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ a LOT more before social media came around.
Before overconsumption, oversaturation, and a constant need to unplug to stay sane, many people grew their creations organically, without receiving daily reminders that there may be thousands of creatives waking up to do the same thing you’re doing every day. It can be terrifying to do the ‘thing’ you love when you think there’s already too much of the ‘thing’ out there. I’m a writer- and I have kept myself up many nights wondering if anything I write will matter- or if it will simply get lost in the rat race to be relevant.
Keynes Woods wondered the same thing once. Maybe he still does- but today, he is more confident of his path. In doing this interview with him, I was reminded that millions of people can do a thing- but no one can do it like YOU. And if you learn anything about Keynes Woods while reading this, it should be that he poses a threat to what you think you’ve heard before.
Learn more about the artist Keynes Woods and his music-making journey below:
Thank you for allowing me to learn a little more about your story. You have previously mentioned that you felt like people would judge you because you made music- but what did you mean by that? Did people have different expectations of what you should do with your life-or did you think they wouldn’t like your music?
It was more the negative connotations attached to making rap music. It’s hard not to get that ‘oh him, too?’ reaction from everyone, including your peers. I didn’t want to seem like someone who just decided to hop on a trend.
So you’re from Kinshasa (DRC), but you’re now based in Toronto? What was that transition like for you and how did music influence you during that transition?
Well, I actually lived in Ottawa before moving to Toronto. But, the transition was pretty wild, it’s like moving to an entirely different world- going from a majority to a minority.
Who are your musical influences or favorites right now? Bonus points if you can tell me someone who’s not very well known!
My favorite artist of all time is Kanye. Despite his antics, I just can’t deny his music, no matter how objectively I look at it. But, my playlist right now got some Charlotte Day Wilson, Goldlink, Noname, Clairmont The Second, and Gracy Hopkins, to name a few.
Why did you choose to do the song “Threat” for your COLORS feature? You had already released ‘Temporary’ in 2016- why not introduce new fans to your first project?
Threat was my most recent track. Though there are some gems in my first project, it was my first ever project and I feel like i’ve gotten a lot better since then. I was also in a different space at the time and it shows.
Ok, so tell me more about COLORS. We know its a studio in Berlin that encourages people to focus on the artist and not stick them in any particular box. It’s like a haven for people who actually want to share and find great music. If I’m an independent artist- can I just fly to Berlin and make an appointment? What’s the studio journey look like?
I know they’re really selective about who they have on the show, but they’re also very open. If you contact them and they mess with your music, then they will have you on, but the reason they are so successful is that they genuinely only mess with good music and don’t accept any form of payment for promo and things like that. Their studio is amazing.
Did you do your COLORS session solely for recognition or were your inspired by the indie process and motto of COLORS and wanted to be apart of the movement?
It was a bit of both. Just really love their page, to be honest.
‘Thank You and F*ck You” seems to be the song where you express the highs and lows of being an independent artist. I love that you say ‘f*ck you to everyone that’s not original.’ With all of the social platforms that are around today, why do you think it’s difficult to make it as an independent artist?
I think it’s difficult now for the same reasons it was difficult back in the day. Everybody thinks they can make music so everybody makes music and consumers get less and less interested in hearing ‘just another rapper’.
On ‘Solitude’, you have a line that says “life of a starving artist, say I’m dong fine, but I’m hardly honest’- so I want to know- what has been your most difficult day/moment/experience as an artist so far?
That’s a hard one because I’ve had a few, but its probably when I performed in my hometown and barely anybody showed up.
Who is the man giving the sermon at the end of ‘Goals’- and why was it important to put that at the end of your track?
It was a poem by Daniel Nwosu, he goes by Dax now. It was a perfect way to lead into the next song, and it was just really powerful.
I listened to ‘Shoot Your Shot’- and I have to know- have you ever slid into anyone’s DMs…..and was it successful?
Yes, actually! That’s why I’m such a strong advocate for shooting your shot. You’ll never know until you try.
So, some of my favorite songs by you are: “Aonwannadoitnomo”, “I Promise”, “Dream Girl”, and “Kirikou”- but what has been your favorite one that you’ve made thus far?
I think my favorites haven’t been released yet.
You can find Keynes Woods music on various music platforms, including SoundCloud, Apple Music, Amazon, and more. Be sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter | @keyneswoods
Check out his COLORS debut here: