keshi Isn’t Taking Any of This For Granted

The singer-songwriter is poised to enter a new phase in his career, and unpacks it with us here

keshi interview
keshi, photo by Vince Aung/Illustration by Steven Fiche

    When it comes to the lo-fi, R&B sounds of keshi, his music can typically be identified by a few trademarks — there’s his notable falsetto and overall impossibly smooth vocals, of course, which tend to be accompanied by plenty of yearning. When it comes to an artist known for music often centered on troubles of the heart, it might come as a surprise to casual listeners that keshi is very much centered and stable in his personal life.

    In fact, on the day he sits down with Consequence to discuss his new album, GABRIEL, (out today, March 25th), he’s in the final stages of wedding planning. “I’m talking as if I’m the one planning, but it’s my fiancée,” he says, laughing, after sharing some of the stress around lingering details.

    It’s a time of life changes overall for keshi, who was born Casey Luong in Houston, Texas. His self-imposed goal post is perpetually moving, albeit in a positive direction: “At first, [the goal] was to hit 10,000 followers on Instagram so I could get the swipe-up feature,” he recalls. (Current follower count? 1.3 million.) “Then, it was to get signed and go on a little tour, and then an opening tour, which I’ve been able to do. The next step was to make a debut album that I’m proud of… it’s a dream come true.”


    GABRIEL arrives following a trio of EPs, released over the course of three years. The debut full-length collection has been highly anticipated by his fans, some of whom have been listening since keshi was an underground Soundcloud artist releasing self-produced music in college.

    To prepare for the comparatively daunting task of assembling an LP, he consulted Rolling Stone‘s list of the top 500 albums of all time and listened through those listed on the first three pages, top to bottom. “Nirvana, Prince, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Pearl Jam. The only thing I got out of it is that there’s no right answer,” he shares.

    keshi’s goal with GABRIEL was to make a “cohesive record,” and it’s safe to say he succeeded. There’s a bittersweet note running through the album thematically, moving between stories of home, family, romance, and the uncertainty of the future. The idea of family appears more than once — keshi’s father is the one speaking on “PÈRE,” and the album’s title track is about watching his parents grow older.


    For anyone who still might be trying to piece together where some of the more angsty, love-lorn tracks are coming from, keshi explains that many of the stories are pulled from friends and people surrounding him. “Touch,” for example, was the result of a visit from a friend in the midst of heartache who needed to escape his life for a while. “I lived this story vicariously through his eyes,” keshi explains.

    When asked about the title of the record, he shares that Gabriel is simply a name to which he’s always felt drawn and connected. He hopes to someday name his first son Gabriel, and eventually arrived at the conclusion that his album shouldn’t be approached too differently. “Why is naming an album any different from a child? Why can’t we just give it a name?” While keshi clarifies that he isn’t “very religious,” the connotation of Gabriel is one of a guardian angel — and it’s a name he just couldn’t shake.

    After finding what he describes as his “sea legs” from appearing as an opener on tour in the fall 2021, keshi will be embarking on a headlining world tour. He’s someone that has truly seen the hard work, the grind, pay off — not every artist has to work survival jobs or grow up outside of their desired industry, but keshi spent years as an oncology nurse before music took over full-time.


    Now, he’s accumulated over a billion streams before the release of this full-length album, and he can feel every one of them. “I wasn’t thrust into music from the beginning, taking it for granted,” he says. “I’m not thinking, ‘Oh, it will always be this way,’ because I know what it’s like for it to not.”

    There’s a track on the album called “WESTSIDE,” a clear standout on a strong record, in this writer’s opinion — and, according to keshi, it’s an opinion that’s been echoed by a noticeable number of people around him. He describes it as a song about leaving the safety of home as he exists in this time packed with life changes, trying to navigate the pull from the comfort and familiarity of Houston to the essential musical framework of Los Angeles. “Just don’t let me go, swear you’ll keep me close,” he implores the listener.

    He won’t be on the precipice forever, though. If anything, it’s likely that the release of GABRIEL will help lift him to even greater heights. “I’m just so stoked for the record to finally be out,” he says. “I’m excited for people to finally have it in their hands.”


    Catch keshi on tour; tickets are available via Ticketmaster here.

    Gabriel Artwork:

    keshi gabriel artwork