We had the good fortune of connecting with KELS and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi KELS, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I truly believe that with great risk comes great reward. With that mindset in the music industry, you also have to be prepared for the worst and mentally train yourself to tough out the criticism, rejection and games people play. Not everyone is going to love everything that you do- but at the end of the day you have to commit to your art. What I try to do is minimize risk by finding the people I know will resonate with my music so that it isn’t a guessing game when I put something out. Any time I have taken a risk in my life or career it has worked out well for me- if I want it to work. For example, I have taken risks before like applying to law school and in the midst of applying realized it wasn’t right for me because something in me was stuck on my music career. If in your heart you’re 100% committed to something people will feel that authenticity and gravitate towards it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am most proud of my ability to create and maintain my own unique sound. I learned very early on that people praise and recognize things that they are familiar with and often artists will recreate a look or sound from a larger/more popular artist in order to gain traction. I am proud to say that I am not willing to compromise my sound, writing or look. I am as authentic as I can be with my music.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting Pittsburgh, I would definitely take them to the Strip District first. The Strip District is a long stretch of markets and little restaurants- I could spend hours there. I love cooking and being around food so it is the perfect place for me. There is a local coffee shop in the Strip that roasts their own beans… it’s so good. We’d start our day there and make our rounds to all the markets for a morning walk. Then we’d rent some city bikes and ride into Lawrenceville. Lawrenceville is where all the tiny boutiques in the city are located. We’d look around and end up at Umami, my favorite sushi spot for a late lunch. I usually get the salmon roll, or spicy scallop. They also have amazing, unique cocktails. For golden hour, we’d ride to the Incline which is an old rail car that goes up Mt. Washington. You can see the entire city from the top of the mountain- we would probably spend an hour there… there are so many different pictures you can capture of the city from above. We’d end the day with some good food – of course. Leon’s Caribbean Food, one of my favorite Jamaican restaurants in Pittsburgh, is right around the corner from where we would be taking photos. After dinner we’d head home for a bonfire at my place- I am a homebody at night! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to shoutout my girlfriend Casey. Without her my photo/video ideas that visually represent my music would not come to life. She is a realist which balances out my creative and grandiose ideas that are often too much. At the same time I feel like we develop concepts and ideas well together because we know each other so well and we both want my music to reach the right audience.