Press Play 009: KEIYA: Soleil Noir Mix

This PRESS PLAY comes from KEIYA who will also be dropping sounds at our music + art show, NNECESSARY 002 in Brooklyn this week. Enjoy the mix, and interview by Amani Fela.

Who are you?

Im Keiya, I’m an artist, a black woman, a human.

How have you been lately

I’ve been alright, I just moved to New York a year ago. Shit is mad fast & busy everybody got high blood pressure. Its uncomfortable but the uncomfortabillity inspires me

How long have you been in nye?

I moved in august 2k16.

You plan on staying in NYC long term?

I def. think this is gonna be home but I want to leave america, I wanna start in the U.K and then Germany and then somewhere like Marrakesh. Somewhere completely outside of the west.. My long term goals are like moving to Nigeria.. for forever.

Who are some of your main influences as of 2017?

Missy Elliott, her performance art is so aspirational. I think thats apex performance art.

& Existentialism.  Like i don’t know if its cause I’m in my mid twenties, but everyday I think about the fact that like, yo… I could have been any lifeform or i could have not been a lifeform at all and I got to be a human, a black woman born in america.. in chicago.. thats crazy. I constantly feel so grateful to be in this existence. I’ve also been thinking baout my art as activism alot, and how I can use that not just to express myself but also to help make fundamental change for black women, black people, poor people… How can i use my art to actually affect peoples lives, you know?

Who are some of influences in general, musically/non musically?

  1. Audre Lorde
  2. Sun Ra
  3. Bobby Hutchinson’s – happenings album. The intense fast swing and the marimba sounds like NYC, like a man running down the stairs trying to catch the train.
  4. Brandy – Full Moon

Ive never gotten into brandy..

The shit with darkchild is dope, I think its funny recently theres been this whole “alternative RnB is new” thing, I don’t believe that. I think rnb has always been pushing limits sonically from traditional shit. Brandy’s Full Moon is definitely an example of that. Its got some interesting cuts with Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins producing it.

Are we to expect these influences to be reflected in your upcoming project?

Hopefully, yes.

How far along are you with your project?

About half way through, I’ve gone through a couple phases and I’ve made a couple projects in making this project. I had to go through some shit musically, to get to the stage that im at now. It takes a long time to sound like yourself so its good to finally be here. I feel like im just getting started with that.

Is there anything you do outside of music?

I have been getting into film photography, I’m a novice still trying to figure out how to work the camera. Ive just been expressing myself visually. I also have a day job, but thats just to get money.

When did you start taking music seriously?

Like 5 years ago, I’ve been making music in some form my whole life. In kindergarten, I was in the Chicago kids choir, i was always in music programs in school. So I always thought I was going to go to college and be a music major. It really wasn’t until after I left college I was like “oh yea this is my career” I can actually express myself creatively and not just be a session musician you know? lemme explore what that means and make that my career path.

What would advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 5 years?

It would be to:

  1. Work everyday like your life depends on it
  2. Don’t be afraid to put your voice in front of the music, I used to always bury my voice under the mix.
  3. Stick to what you do and what you know, don;t be obsessed with what other niggas are doing

When I started making solo music, I doubted myself. I was playing alto with a bunch of bands and doing a lot of sessions with people in Chicago, I was maknig money and music all the time but something was missing. I started making beats on the computer and I was like, okay this is cool but theres still something missing. Then I’m like, oh yea I could write, I could sing, I could make actual songs on my own. It took me like three years to go from thinking about it to actually recording a record. It coulda took me two weeks.

Wow. Soundcloud vs Bandcamp? and why?

Bandcamp, Soundcloud had potential but I don’t think the executives really knew what to do for the artists.


Yes. Short fired. Soundcloud is like the myspace of this type of new social media where music is in the forefront. I think band camp is amazing for artists, you know radio head?


Remember when they released in rainbows?


This was in like, the early 2000s. They released an album online exclusively and you could pay what you wanted for it on their website. This was when the music industry was still brick and mortar, people buying cds, artists going platinum in a week, and radio head released an album exclusively digital and people could pay what they wanted for it. Bandcamp uses that model now. They did some shit that was revolutionary and benefitted them the most. Bandcamp was like “bet”.

Niggas make bread on bandcamp

You can make serious bread. You dont even need to have a website, you can sell your music and your merch.

Fav. Instrument?

Alto sax will always be my favorite, my second would be guitar.

You play?

I’m learning.

*Smokes spliff*

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