Keedz: on life after Skepta’s Levi’s music project
12 Jan 2018
Amidst the rush hour, Keedz and I sat, chatting away about why keeping it real is so important to her, dealing with negativity, and how to stand out in a male-dominated field. Turning into an inspirational talk over coffee rather than an interview, everyone could learn a thing or two from this upcoming artist.
Her stabbing double-time flow reins in your attention, as she completely bodies her male counterparts, in the 8 Bar Link Up with Link UP TV. Punching each phrase through the beat she keeps listeners wanting more.
Keedz describes herself as a grime and rap artist, although often dabbles in other genres like drill and afrobeats. But drop her into almost any genre of music and she will fly. Her ability to be versatile enables her not to be pigeonholed into one sound.
Since being a part of Levi’s Music Project mentored by Skepta, and releasing her first EP, Let Me Introduce Myself last year, opportunities have continued to spiral and open doors for the south Londoner. From performing at the Boy Better Know (BBK) Takeover alongside the likes of Ghetts and Donae’O to appearing on a live set for BBC1xtra with BBK, 2017 was a crazy year, to say the least.
Remarking on her experience she says: “The BBC 1Xtra live show was weird cause I’d grown up listening to BBK and I was there standing next to them, then suddenly DJ Target just drops a beat and I had to just spit live on air. It was so sick!”
But, while talking through her journey, the humbled 25 year-old wasn’t hesitant to point out: “It’s not all glittery though, y’know. One minute a lot happening, then for the next few months there’s nothing. It’s an up and down process, but I just keep moving forward, ‘cause I know I want it.”
From making music in her university room to suddenly being in the limelight, she was aware to not get too ahead of herself, remembering the words of wisdom from the ‘Shutdown’ MC himself to, “Be yourself”. “At first I was so nervous when performing, always conscious of what I look like and that but now I’ve realised people are there to watch you. I’ve learned to just let myself go.”
“First-hand advice from Skepta was to think of trolls and haters like those in Gogglebox, sitting and doing nothing while judging others on TV”
Keedz conveys a certain transparency, not hiding behind alter egos or an image. Instead, she lets you know who she is. “Keedz is my nickname, and is who I am, I didn’t feel I needed a separate name to establish that I’m an artist.” Lady Leshurr, Missy Elliot, Lady Sovereign. Is there a male artist with ‘Mr’ or ‘Man’ in front of their name? Well, that made you think, right? “To put Ms or Lady in front of my name would be buying into the ‘female MC’ label, feeding the expectation to believe all MCs and rappers are male unless they state they’re female.”
“If more girls let their talent shine instead of trying to portray an image, it will help to change people’s view… Guys can be in a music video and wear a tracksuit that they’ve worn seven days straight, and not one person will mention the tracksuit. But for a girl, it’s all about what she wears, her hair, make-up”.
Growing up a tom-boy and living in south London, Keedz draws on her surroundings and experiences, as inspiration to create music. “Where I grew up I was surrounded by the stuff these youths are talking about, I knew I’d get a negative reaction for putting tracks out about it, simply for being a female, but it didn’t stop me. I thought I could probably do it just as well as the guys can, if not better, so why not.”
First-hand advice from Skepta was to think of trolls and haters like those in Gogglebox, sitting and doing nothing while judging others on TV. But a big middle finger to all the haters, as shielding off negativity only makes this artist grow stronger. “I can now read a negative comment directed at me and it won’t affect me”, while in her track ‘Grimeonology’ she states, “I can’t fall off I can only go higher I say it how it is ‘cause I ain’t no liar”.
As real as the bars she spits, Keedz is someone whose success cannot be defined by the shoulders she has brushed, but instead by standing on her own two feet, feeding off nothing but good energy. Her passion, hunger and drive, which will carry her the distance in the ensuing year.
Looking to mix up the topics in her upcoming music, Keedz aims to target wider issues and audiences. “I am currently working on my natural sound, a mixture of rap and grime, a very London sound. If anyone is gonna hear me from now that’s the sound I want to be known by.”
With plans to continue moving forward, she aims to tour her music in the upcoming years. New releases from the upcoming artist are on their way, along with festival appearances including London Short Film Festival in January. So, keep your eyes and ears peeled in 2018.
Follow Keedz on Instagram and Twitter at @Keedzamillion and check out her latest EP, Let Me Introduce Myself.