It is a blessing when you realize what you’re passion is in life. We are blessed that Kehv shares his passion with the world, via his voice. Kehv released his debut album, Simply Kehv, in 2009. The album featured such hit singles as Distant Lover, Conscious Farmer, and R.A.S.T.A. Naw Bow. After the album’s release, Kehv continued to release singles via compilations such as Mama and Still Care.
Kehv is back with his new hit song, Addict, the first single off his forthcoming sophomore album titled Crossroads. Addict is a tune that you will not be able to play only once. The yearning in his voice and the passion in his music will draw you to keep the single on repeat. Addict is currently available on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Tidal or Amazon. Also can also take a listen here: https://www.
Maliika Walker recently got a chance to speak with Kehv about his forthcoming sophomore album Crossroads, the project’s first single Addict.
Here is their coversation.
Maliika: I love your single Addict. I have both released versions and love them. So let’s start there. I remember hearing a version of this before and it didn’t sound like the current versions. I wanted you to talk about the coming of age of the song.
Kehv: I’ve been working with a producer called Leroy Pennicott. He has toured with the legendary Gregory Isaacs. Leroy approached me and he gave me an instrumental because he wanted to see if he could produce me. So I wrote something to the track and sent it to him and he wasn’t expecting anything back because it’s been a couple months, but I don’t force write, so when something comes, it comes like in that time, but if I’m not really too inspired, I try not to push it. I’ll get melodies. I’ll write little vibes and feelings, but I really don’t drive it all the way home until something comes about. I had Addict from before so I approached him with it.
Squiggly Cole,artist, producer, and drummer for Stephen Marley did the drums and Chris Meredith, bass player for Stephen Marley did the bass lines, and then Earl “Chinna” Smith did some of the guitars, and Leroy did some of the guitars too. Then we had different vibes around it and it kind of developed to what it is now, different people coming on it and vibing it, bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam. Then it came to full head now. We’ve had this song, it was the first song we started on our project, so we decided to let it be the first song that we released, symbolically.
We said this year is when we’re going to do it. We came to my studio here. We mixed it down and then just let it out. It’s very, very symbolic. It’s what’s kind of left of my sound prior, not to say my sound is any different per se, but it is different in the sense of, I’m number one working with other people, and number two, I’ve evolved over time musically? All of that is what you’re going to be hear on Crossroads, because this truly is a crossroad for me.
Maliika: Well, I’m excited about Crossroads. Your debut album was released in 2009 then you released several singles over the years. What can you tell us so far about Crossroads?
Kehv: This project is going to be a musical experience, I would say for folks who, number one, vibed with me before because it’s going to give them a little bit of different taste. What can you expect? You can expect a little of everything. I didn’t spread myself too thin, but there’s definitely a cry out in the album for some level of peace, internal peace. I touch base with quite a bit of things, like this song Addict. It’s about a woman, supposedly, but it’s really not about a woman but it’s almost like my argument was put into the terms of man-woman relationship, but it isn’t what I’m talking about. I was just using it as a tool to explain my position about how I feel about music. It’s like up and down for me but I’m still kind of attached and drawn to it no matter where it’s at. At the end I’m trying to be all tough. Something’s got to give, but a true addict usually comes back if you’re a real addict. You come back, it is what it is.
Maliika: I remember you talked about a project before called Double Exposed. It was to be a bridge with r&b and reggae. Is this album like reggae or is it going to be a touch of some r&b or a mixture?
Kehv: The biggest question that I’ve always had to answer throughout my career so far is, what am I? What are you? Are you reggae?
Maliika: I’ve always saw you as both reggae and r&b. Especially with the song Love Slave. To me that is an r&b song.
Kehv: What would you call Addict? Would you call Addict, reggae?
Maliika: I call it a combination of lover’s rock and reggae-soul.
Kehv: Yes. I’m defining my sound a lot more on this album. I see that now because I have a lover’s rock song on the album called Tomorrow Never Comes. It’s talking about love and sometimes you want to wait to say certain things. This song was written a while back too. This was also another one that went through changes. We already have some people interested in it in England. England is actually my second-largest following. I was happy to hear that because I see the west coast lighting up. I also see Florida and up to New York but I also got a good numbers of listeners in England.
That’s pretty cool. So we have a tune that’s very nice for England, because England has a different type of appreciation for music than America and Jamaica.
Maliika: Yeah. I agree. I hear that a lot from artists. They have a great love for reggae music.
Kehv: It’s a different listening culture. I could really appreciate that, because that’s one thing I’ve learned over the years too. You have different levels of listeners. You have surf listeners, and then you have people who go deep into it, and that’s when the artistry comes out. You get a chance to really talk about the process of what you went through and how you were thinking. People really want to know. It’s great to share it. It’s great.
Maliika: Now, sometimes when some artists are putting an album together, some of the songs that were on compilations pop up on the album. Are songs like Mama going to pop up on this album?
Kehv: No. It’s all new material. I believe the public deserves to hear some new stuff. Each album or project that I work on, I really do consider what I’m looking for. That’s why I take my time with my albums. I’ve been going through a lot of changes throughout the album. It’s a different sound when you’re working on an album, because you have vibrations that start to drop on you right then and there and then you’ve just got to start collecting. So that’s where I’m at within the album. There’s stuff coming, and they’re gifts. They’re not planned. And it really defines more of my sound now, or my vibrations now and what I’m doing. So it’s kind of cool. I like that.
Maliika: One of my songs that I love is Believer, and another favorite of mine is like Island Breeze, right? Your music can uplift the feelings and the vibes of your listeners. Do you have any songs that are like on the encouragement vibe?
Kehv: Oh, yeah man. I have one called Jam On. That’s also a gift.
Maliika: What inspired you to write Believer?
Kehv: Believer. The story behind Believer is crazy, too man. Crazy, crazy, crazy. My mom influenced me a lot. It was a time during when, I was in a reggae song competition. I already wrote the song Masquerade and I submitted that, but then I was just going through a lot at that point, with the whole diagnosis of my mom’s cancer, and kind of coming down to Florida trying to figure out, am I staying? What am I going to do, you know? Because I was living in New York at the time. So as I was driving around, that’s the song that kept playing for me in my head? That was another gift that came to me! When I sang that song, I did it in one take.
Maliika: I love hearing how artists get inspirations for the songs they write.
Kehv: Yeah, that’s not normal for studio time, and I get gifts like that every now and then. I finished up the song very quickly. There’s songs that take years, months, weeks, but that song took a day once I went to the studio. It was so natural. I’m so happy that people like it because it was something that was a mixture of preparation and the opportunity. It just came out wonderfully.
Maliika: People are getting a different look from you now. You have cut your locks. This is a huge change. Why did you cut them? Share what you’re comfortable with sharing.
Kehv: It was just time. I used to have dreams about it. I can’t believe I’m telling you this, because usually I keep this stuff to myself. It was a spiritual reason mixed with a few other reasons behind why I grew out my locks at the time I did, but after living for a while, seeing things, I came to a point to where I knew it was time to just cut them and dispose of them correctly and everything like that, but it was time to turn another page in my life.
Maliika: Thanks for sharing that. I understand. Locks are very personal for me as well.
Kehv: One important thing I must say, and I really have to make note, is that the locks themselves are not where the power and everything is located as far as beliefs. Everything is still intact. Attachment is a crazy thing. At the time, I was meditating on attachments too. Attachments aren’t the best thing especially when you want to move light in the spiritual realm?
I got other signs that it was time. You know, it was just ironic that one of my meditations were about attachments at that time because those could do a lot to you in life, especially like being attached to a wrong idea of yourself. Like a twisted idea of who you are. So that’s where my head was at the time too. Many people gave me so many different reasons why they thought I cut it. It’s funny. “Did they make you cut it, because you’re in the medical field” they would ask for example . I don’t really talk about it much. So people were thinking that I did it for that. I had my locks for 17, 18 years.
Maliika: Is Leroy Pennicott the only producer for the album, or are you working with other producers?
Kehv: Leroy and I are the producers. We’re both working on it together. We have some tunes we are working on. There’s also this one that has a nice, unique feel to it; A little hip-hoppish. This song is called Children. I’ve got a couple collabs going on too. Looking forward to everyone hearing the new music.
Maliika: Your voice is just crazy.
Kehv: I was trying to find this song we are putting on the album called Enough so you could kind of get a little feel for it, because there’s a lot of different vibrations. Reggae has so many different feels. Reggae’s nice, man. I personally feel, everything I’m doing is rooted in reggae. It’s just that I have so many different influences. Since I was blessed to play the piano, guitar and all those things, that’s why it’s kind of coming out the way it is at this point. I just go with it.
Maliika: What made you record a dub mix for Addict? I love the dub mix.
Kehv: That seems to be everyone’s favorite version that they’re coming around to because it has a little vibe to it. That whole vibration is a moment in time that we all vibed to while we were chilling, like we were happy that the song was done, mixed and we just did the dub mix. Chris Meredith and I just vibed. You could feel that in the mix. The dub mix was fun. You get to interact with different parts of the song and it’s just a miracle. That’s how the dub mix came about. It was fun.