Kashy Keegan: Inspiring Singer-Songwriter
With Music That Touches The Soul
Singer-songwriter Kashy Keegan is most known for his number one song ‘This Is My Dream’ that, in October 2013, beat international artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber to top the Hong Kong itunes chart. He performed the song in front of an estimated crowd of 30,000 in the centre of Hong Kong and in February 2014 returned to play his first headline concert. However, Kashy’s journey to stardom was far from overnight…
He started taking piano lessons aged seven to learn the rudiments and around the age of ten had written his first song. As a teenager he worked any odd job to afford time in a recording studio. Songwriting was his life and an all-consuming passion that has remained to this day.
His songs characteristically contain strong melodies and meaningful messages. He takes inspiration from all of life, the good, the bad, the rise and the fall for he sees it all as having reason and purpose.
Kashy is a true reflection of his music. He puts every ounce of his heart and soul into his singing and songwriting. He has a sensitivity for emotion that is authentically expressed throughout his many compositions.
Using music to help empower others or to try and provide some form of hope, comfort or healing has always been at the core of what has driven Kashy to write songs.
“Most of the songs that I have written are message songs, talking about self-belief, self-acceptance and inner strength. Writing songs for me has always been a therapeutic escape. The songs were my way of trying to inspire some hope and inner strength to rise above many of the negative situations that I faced growing up. I found that remaining strong mentally was the key to not being dragged down and, for me, music and listening to certain empowerment songs were my main way of achieving this.”
In total it took Kashy fifteen years before he got hist first break. His story really is one of perseverance. He wrote his most well known song ‘This Is My Dream’ back in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 that it first got used as a motivational song for the London Olympics, and then later that year was discovered by a music supervisor who works for a television network in Hong Kong which led to the song gaining enormous popularity thereafter. He has also achieved high ranking in many songwriting competitions, including the National UK Songwriting Competition and Songwriter Universe’s Best Vocalist and Best Song Of The Month competition.
Jessica Gilbert: Kashy, thanks so much for doing another TSM interview. It’s truly so wonderful to have you back once again, and to hear all about the exciting things that have taken place since the last interview. 🙂
Since October of last year everything has just soared for you, and you’re living out your dream now! It all started at the end of October when there were government protests in the streets of Hong Kong, where hundreds of thousands attended, and were singing your song “This Is My Dream.” This led to an invitation to perform the song there. (For more details on this, readers can check out my article “This Is My Dream.”)
Later, you had a campaign to raise money to enable you to do your own concert in Hong Kong in February. Following the success of the concert and popularity in Hong Kong, you made a move there in April.
What has life been like for you living in Hong Kong? And besides the people, that I know are special to you because they’re the first ones who have truly embraced your music, what else do you love the most about the culture and country of Hong Kong?
Kashy Keegan: Thanks again for having me back in the magazine, always a great pleasure to be featured.
You are right, so much has happened since the last interview. It’s been an incredible eight months that have seen me move to the other side of the world to continue pursuing my dream. It took a lot of courage to leave my life behind in London and make the move, but I felt that it was now or never. Since taking the leap of faith I have managed to sign with a record label here in Hong Kong and will be releasing a new album hopefully late this summer.
In many ways moving here has been a bit of a culture shock. Hong Kong is extremely busy and has a very fast paced lifestyle, the total opposite of my hometown back in the UK which was a quiet seaside town on the south coast of England. It’s also summertime here in Hong Kong at the moment and incredibly hot! The intense humidity is also something that has taken me a bit of getting used to. However, all in all I love it here. It’s really diverse with so much to do! You’ve got the ocean, the metropolis, the mountains – No day is the same here and I’m always discovering new things to see and do. I have really had the time of my life these last few months. I’ve also been learning some more of the local language (Cantonese) but I still have a long, long way until I become fluent.
Jessica Gilbert: Since being in Hong Kong, you’ve had the chance to perform in a whole variety of places. How has it felt for you to be performing again?
Kashy Keegan: I am loving having the opportunity to perform so regularly. I have been more active with my music and performing here in Hong Kong the last three months than I ever was in my entire time living in the UK. It has opened up so many more doors for me and given me lots of new opportunities. I never really saw myself as much of a performer and preferred just writing songs, but I have a new found confidence for it and I’m really enjoying it. I think, as with most things, the more you do something the more it becomes second nature for you. I would say that I enjoy performing almost as much as I enjoy songwriting now.
Jessica Gilbert: Can you tell us about some of the recent venues you’ve performed at, and what the experiences have been like for you performing in those places?
Kashy Keegan: I had a memorable time performing at a Thai Songkran Festival back in April. It’s tradition to throw water over each other and so I got absolutely soaked to the bone as I was performing but it was great fun! I’ve also performed at several schools here in Hong Kong for thousands of students and I am particularly pleased to be able to share my music and story with younger people.
There have been many other festivals, charity events, universities that I have performed at too. I also staged my own show back in April that was me sharing some of my current and new songs at a really nice and intimate venue in Hong Kong called Backstage.
Jessica Gilbert: I know that a new album is in the works. Tell us a bit about the album, what fans can expect from it, and when it’s due for release.
Kashy Keegan: The new album is due to be released on the 27th October. It will feature a bunch of new songs that I have been busy writing and recording since coming to Hong Kong. I am so excited to be sharing new music and writing again. People can expect the type of songs that I am known for that have messages of encouragement and a positive, uplifting style. As well as a couple of songs that have a slightly different style.
It’s so exciting for me to finally be working with a record label on a new album that, for the first time, will be available in record stores as well as online. This has been my lifelong dream. I say that this has been fifteen years in the making, because it’s been fifteen years since I first saved up to go to the recording studio to record my first song. People may know my story form last year when my song was chosen by HKTV, but there were many years before that. All those years when I was struggling and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere – I didn’t give up, I persevered and finally the dream that I worked towards for so long has started to come true.
Jessica Gilbert: Recently, you judged a talent show for the very first time. What was that like?
Kashy Keegan: I have been doing some guest singing classes at a local performing arts school for young people here in Hong Kong called HK Talent Star. I was invited to be a guest judge at one of their talent shows and I felt really honoured to do it. I got the chance to perform a couple of my songs with them too and was really amazed at how they knew most of the words already, even though English isn’t their first language.
I am no Simon Cowell, but I hope I was able to give them some constructive feedback. I can tell that the kids already really work so hard at their craft and practice for many hours. I love teaching and being around the kids – it’s really rewarding to see them develop and have fun at the same time. They make me laugh and I really enjoy teaching them. I wanted to do my bit to help inspire the next generation and pass on some of the techniques and knowledge that I have gained over the years.
Kashy Keegan: Other than to say that I’m really excited about releasing my new album and hope that everyone will support it. I am proud of it because I have written all of the songs myself. It’s honest, pure and completely from my heart. Even the song “This Is My Dream” that ended up going to number one I wrote entirely by myself. It is rare these days for songs in the charts to be written by just one person. In fact, the majority of songs are written by two or more writers. So I feel that is quite an achievement to have literally come from nowhere, without a record label or manager behind me at the time, and end up having a number one song.
I wish more artists would write their own songs. I think there is so much karaoke out there at the moment on all the talent shows that are on TV and on YouTube etc, where millions of people are just doing cover versions all the time. I wish the whole era of singing karaoke was over with and that people were encouraged to write their own songs. Even a lot of the artists that have a record deal have their songs written for them by others. For me an artist is always defined by what they have to say, what they sing about in their lyrics, which I believe is more important than how well they sing. I always strive to write songs with meaningful lyrics. I am not in the habit of relying on image or sexuality to try and sell records. I want my songs to have substance to them and to have a message. There is so much going on in the world these days that I wish more artists would write about what is going on around them rather than just talking about sex and relationships. However, you can only be yourself and try to be the change that you want to see and that is exactly what I hope to achieve with my album!
Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for the interview and wish you continued success. Looking forward to your new album release!
Kashy Keegan: Thank you so much for having me back in the magazine, it’s always a pleasure to answer your well-thought -out questions.
You can visit his official site here: http://kashykeegan.com/