Meet Kellza1 — Birmingham’s Best Kept Secret
From humble beginnings growing up in inner-city Birmingham to gaining tens of thousands of views on YouTube, Kellza1 is an emerging artist that is pioneering the next generation of musicians.
I recently caught up with Kellza1 in her hometown Birmingham and interviewed her, this is what we spoke about:
How did you first get into the music industry?
“I got involved in the music industry from a very very early age. I used to play the keyboard at church as part of the worship team in my teenage years for several years.
I was also part of a band, there was 4 of us, I was the keyboard player as well as backing singer, there was 2 main singers and a drummer. Although it was fun at the time, I always wanted to make music solo but was extremely shy at the time so I pretty much hid it and made songs in my bedroom.
Back in school I used to sometimes send voice recordings to my close friend and mainly to myself to listen back and perfect!
My mom told me I should take it further as I was always singing my heart out in my bedroom and go and record in studio. But I’ve always been a bit of a loner so I had no connects at the time except for one producer based in wolves who I connected to via Instagram. That’s where I recorded my first ever track called “Like You” and released it on SoundCloud at the time back in early 2017. I didn’t expect it to get much streams or even people listening, but it did and I was shocked so I just wanted to keep making more and more music!”
Who inspires your creative process?
“I’m inspired by numerous artists, all different in sounds and brands such as the likes of Lil Peep, Jay Critch, Playboi Carti, Pierre Bourne and many others. But my top inspirations are: XXXTentacion, Aaliyah, Chris Brown and Ciara!
I was really drawn to XXXTentacion at the time I think it was January 2018. I saw lots of people on social media saying free x and his mugshot looked really intriguing. So I took it upon myself to research more into him and that’s when I fell in love with his music, his image despite the controversy at the time. It was the first time I felt I really related to an artist as he wasn’t one to showcase the lavish lifestyle but was instead very raw with his emotions and honest with his feelings. Hence why I decided to dye half my hair blonde to pay homage to him at the time. As society only ever highlights a certain feel good look good lifestyle and never the real deal. I felt connected because I had to deal with a lot back during my teenage years. And I’m not saying everyone has to go through the worst but it’s nice to know there’s people who can be honest with how they feel whether that’s feeling happy sad angry or at peace! When XXXTentacion died, it was the first time I grieved for an music artist too because I was so drawn to him, his message and his music and the legacy he left which is what also inspired me to want to leave a legacy.
So when I released my first ever music video called “Last Man Standing” I guess people took a liking and was drawn because I had edge, I had charisma and again the underground vibe got people thinking. As you can see the influence was very X inspired!
Another musical influence that I really love is Aaliyah, even though she was not with us long, her voice is just amazing! In my childhood she was the artist I remembered very vividly and never forgot. She was ahead of her time, and when I looked deeper into her, I was astounded at how much she achieved at such a young age. Aaliyah has to be one of my favorite female music artists at the time because of how she carried herself, her sound, and what’s she done for the music industry to this day! There’s no one til this day that sounds quite like her and her vocals are unmatched! She was able to allow her vocals to really take navigate the music at the time, whether they was fast or slow paced tracks and the harmonies! That’s why in some of my singing tracks I take it into consideration the importance of using your voice whatever the strength as an instrument as , Aaliyah really used her voice as an instrument and really has impacted the game forever!
Chris Brown and Ciara have to be the most listened to artists consistently throughout my life since a young teen because of again the sound, the vocals, the character and again the impact they have had on myself and also for the music industry!
Chris Brown is a natural and that’s what I loved about him as you can feel you can see his passion, and although again a very controversial artist you cannot take that away from him.
Ciara, another one of my favorite female artists, I took a strong liking to for the same reason as Chris. Ciara’s music was music to my ears, her vibe, the way she was. She wasn’t just a musician she was a performer an artist! She really grabbed the audience through her choreography, the styles of music, the way she was and stayed true to herself in terms of never really being the female to really mask their beauty. She was natural and true to herself!
All the artists I have mentioned above I think they have influenced and inspired me heavily because they have left impacts to this day and allowed people like myself to showcase sound and diversity.”
What inspired you to create you first track?
“My first ever track I created was “Like You” which I released on my SoundCloud. I was inspired by Mostacks at the time, a UK rapper because he seemed different to a lot of the UK rappers at the time. He had character, and his sound was unique. “Like You” was catered to the UK audience, due to the music trending at the time. When I first created that track, I thought it was such a great track, but now I can really hear how my sound has diversified and altered due to experimenting with my vocals and the choice of beats I use. Nonetheless, the track gained a lot of interest at the time, and is currently at 9.4K streams to this current date.”
What obstacles did you face overcome when starting out as an musician?
“The obstacles I faced when I initially started out as an musician was the fact I had no connects, I had no direct links to anyone with influence or any strong friends in fact. I had no understanding of the music business at the time so when I released my first song I entered the game with no core knowledge on how to go about releasing, the marketing strategy behind it, the basic principles of what an musician has to manage. So at the start I was releasing a lot of songs with no marketing strategy, and hoping I would “blow” but then after time and further research I realized there was no such thing as “blowing up” but it was about having a strong marketing strategy and putting in investments to make it happen.”
What are your future goals? What are your plans for the future?
“My future goals are the following;
• To gain a strong fanbase who is consistently listening, resonating with myself as a brand!
• Tour and collaborate with some of the greatest!
• Create a legacy!
• Aspire to Inspire. Meaning to constantly inspire the youth, and just anyone who may lack confidence in themselves who feel as though they cant make their passions their lifestyle. Because it’s always possible! Always! No matter what the odds are!
• Mentor and be a pioneer to the music game
• Monetize from my music to allow me to keep providing further quality content!
My plans for the future is to release a debut single for 2K21! Generate a lot of buzz and just really go for it in terms of my music and give back!
But for now; Let’s Get It!”
Interested in learning more about Kellza’s story? Follow her on her other social media platforms so you can keep up with her!
Twitter — https://mobile.twitter.com/1kellza1
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/kellza1/?hl=en
Apple Music — https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/kellza1/1382788093
Soundcloud — https://m.soundcloud.com/kellza1