keshi (born casey luong) found his muse at age 12 from his grandfather, who possessed a “fat classical guitar” and a music book in vietnamese. he taught himself to play and developed a deep passion for music, “sitting in front of the computer for hours on end every day and soaking it all up.” influences ranged from all time low and john mayer to frank ocean, the 1975, drake, and bryson tiller. meanwhile, keshi was learning production on garageband. after high school, keshi honed a keen sense of empathy and intuition on his job as a registered nurse tending to patients diagnosed with cancer. (over delicate strumming and stark production, “skeletons” shared his “exhaustion with my routine as a nurse and wanting something more.”)
in between grueling shifts, he shared an early composition online, entitled “if you’re not the one for me who is.” he entered it into a joji reddit fan page competition. after receiving “validation from strangers for the first time,” he continued to share more songs online. “over u” made waves on spotify, generating over 7 million streams, while “just friends” surpassed the 9 million mark. at the same time, keshi claimed real estate on popular playlists such as low-key and antipop with his breakout ep of 2018, the reaper, “[which] combined classic writing and new production,” he says. the ep was highlighted by the track “like i need u.” the stage was set for his signing to island records and the arrival of the skeletons ep in the summer 2019. his 5-song bondmaids ep was released in march 2020, followed by the 6-song always ep in October.
“a lot of people my age are trying to figure out how to live life on their own after graduating college, getting jobs, and moving out. the transition sucks. you realize the real world isn’t what you thought.” his candid nature can be disarming. “when you hear me, i want you to realize it’s okay to be vulnerable. all of my skeletons are out for the taking, so don’t be ashamed of yours. i’m being as real as i can be. the closer it is to my heart, the closer it is to everyone else’s hearts.”