KESHO is 23-year-old Connor Daniel from Southampton but his birth roots and early years are in Kenya, hence KESHO, which is Swahili for ‘tomorrow’. He is an accomplished singer, songwriter & producer, but this is married with a flair for being experimental. KESHO has flirted with a plethora of modern mixes from underground, future bass and hip hop but having been raised on Quincy Jones and Earth Wind & Fire, he moved confidently towards contemporary RnB with synthpop and global beats, not dissimilar to Mura Masa and Disclosure, his fellow peer production inspiration.
His latest offering, ‘Fire Love’ is the coming of age release from KESHO which is released independently and available internationally on Friday, 19th July 2019. Co-written with Grammy award winner Lady V and Amber Van day, it is produced by Paul Whalley (Little Mix, Mumford & Sons and Ellie Goulding).
Fire Love is a commercial pop track with a gritty edge and is a classic love fuelled come-on in the mould of Justin Timberlake. The song reflects that youthful obsession with desire and the thrill of the chase, with KESHO hitting all the right moves and notes.
Hi Connor, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Very well thank you, I’m coming off the back of an extremely stressful few days where my Instagram was hacked on the week of my single’s release, but I now have my account back and panic mode is over!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Fire Love”?
Fire Love is my first single being released as a solo artist so I really am equal parts nervous and excited. It’s definitely a commercial Pop track but it has real grit, mostly found in the chorus with the inclusion of the Trap-sounding horns.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I wish I could tell you some incredible love story that inspired this song but I really can’t. In fact, Fire Love was written within one day! Once the initial chords were down, I think it was pretty clear it sounded like a love song and very organically went in that direction.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
COLD. There was some sunshine throughout the day but as soon as the sun went down, it was bitterly cold and my teeth were jittering by the end of the shoot! Saying that, it was 100% worth it and I had a blast all day. The location is a functioning 5 star hotel so there was a lot of onlookers wondering what the hell was going on. Alex Tervinksy, who directed and producer Karoliina Vatret are the best team and really crafted the visuals for Fire Love. The crew and I only had one day at the location, so I think we all knew there was a possibility it could run over quite late. By the time I had wrapped, packed up and got home it was 5am.
How was the recording and writing process?
I wrote Fire Love with Lady V, Amber Van Day and Paul Whalley. It was actually our first ever session together and I remember thinking half way through ‘we could really have something here’. This track is the first co-written single that I’ve ever released, every song before was solely written and produced by myself in my home studio. As much as I enjoy working solo, linking up with the most talented songwriters and producers like V, Amber and Paul is such a pleasure and I get inspired by collaboration to no end.
What was it like to work with Paul Whalley and how did that relationship develop?
I’ve actually known Paul for a few years now but before Fire Love, we had actually never worked together. I even interviewed him for my Uni dissertation before we finally jammed! Paul is a stupidly talented musician and when I hear his beats I almost get annoyed at how good he is.
How much did he get to influence the song?
Fire Love wouldn’t sound the same without Paul; the same goes for Lady V and Amber! Four people in one room working on one track can sometimes be a case of ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ but with this team that’s never the case.
Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own original content?
I think the approach will always be different because no two minds are the same. When I’m working on my own there’s no one to suggest another idea (apart from my mum…. I’m not joking). When collaborating, a lyric or melody you’d never think of could come from someone else and that’s what I enjoy most – seeing how others interpret music instinctively.
What role does Southampton play in your music?
I think it’s more down to the people of Southampton. I’ve had the same group of friends since secondary school so the chances are if I’ve had a good week socially then I’ll write positive music or at least the music will be positive and uplifting even if the lyrics are soppy!
How has the likes of Justin Timberlake influenced your writing?
I think JT’s style is kind of ingrained into my brain to be honest. I’ve loved his music for so long that it naturally influences not only my writing but even things like vocal delivery and live performance traits too. When I have writers block, I often find myself thinking ‘what would Justin do?’.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I have new music coming out my ears right now. Some co-writes, some solo works. I think I must have a private soundcloud playlist of at least 15 new tracks. Most are demo’s still, so now the process is picking the strongest material and finalizing those tracks. If it was up to me I’d release them all right now because I’m so excited but I’ll try to be sensible I guess.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
I’m pretty sure I know what the next single is, it has ‘Busy’ in the title and that’s the only thing I’m giving away!
Any plans to hit the road?
For now I’m working on building the audience that will actually come and see me when I do hit the road!