Q&A: kerri Is Making Sad, Atmospheric Music That You Need to Hear

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kerri started making music at the age of 12 and reinvented himself at the age of 18. In less than a year since releasing his debut single, "waste my time," he has gained over 200,000 monthly listeners and his numbers keep growing. kerri's lo-fi beats, combined with his influence of R&B artists like TLC and Beyoncé, have allowed him to add vocalization to his artistry. Being voted "Most Likely to Never Leave His Town" in high school, he has moved away from his 1,800-population town to move in with other creatives who push him to collaborate and remind him of the importance of music.

In the beginning of 2018, he released his debut album, happy accidents, followed by five more epic singles that show off his production skills and his airy, emotive voice. The surrounding theme of his music is melancholic, which is his biggest inspiration - pulling from the hard emotions and finding the beauty that can be portrayed through his music.

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We recently spoke with kerri, who dove into the recent release of his new single "misery," and his thoughts on the older generations’ perception of electronic music.

OTW: Tell us about how you found out you were musically talented?

kerri: I actually don't think I am musically talented. My strongest skill is Ableton production. I am not the strongest at really any instrument, maybe piano. But I am not even that great. I cannot read sheet music, and I don't really know theory. I can play by ear, but I wouldn't consider myself a talented musician. But I am strong on arrangements and production. That is my saving grace.

OTW: Looking back to 2017, when you started to release music, did you expect your music to gain so much movement within a year? Were you surprised?

kerri: Abso-fucking-lutely! You can even ask my manager. I told him if I even got 10,000 listens I would cry. He brings it up all the time! Obviously, every person who makes music wants people to see their stuff, but there isn't really like… I never expected it to happen. I have been really lucky I'd say. 

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OTW: You just came out with your first album happy accidents? What is your biggest inspiration when it came to making this album?

kerri: happy accidents was sort of me establishing myself. I only had a couple singles out and like people didn't really have a proper image of what I was capable of. So, I wanted to establish myself and say, "hey I am kerri. I can do these things. I am super sad." If you haven't figured that out. Super emotional. There was lots of teenage bullshit…So I graduated high school in 2017, so I am currently 19. There was this whole thing where I moved out of my house, forcefully in my case - which was a fun thing. So, I moved out of my mom's house, kind of somehow ended up in this city which was pretty far away in Canada and started experiencing new things and meeting all these new people. Reflecting back on everything beforehand was the main inspiration.

OTW: Is there one piece of advice you would have liked to of known, or what you would have told yourself before you came to where you are now?

kerri: Realistically, I would have told myself to stop being concerned with what other people think of you. And like stop trying to impress people. Like I spent some time trying to desperately get the attention of bigger musicians. There were a couple situations where I got in contact with a couple musicians, and I worked my ass off to impress them and it went nowhere. You kind of get brushed off and nobody cares, and I was like, "why am I doing this when I could be working on myself?"

OTW: When it comes to electronic music, what is something you wish you could tell the older generation to help them understand that you are also a musician?

kerri: I would say learn how to use your iPhone and then come talk to me. Like it is so ridiculous. I am really obsessed with philosophy and like it comes down to this idea of tribalism where like at an innate level everyone is afraid of not fitting in and has a fear of division and being separated from the group. So, I feel like people who are old refuse to learn what the kids are doing these days and put in an effort to feel more comfortable. Change is terrifying to a lot of people.  

OTW: It seems like you are constantly creating music since you first made your first couple of singles. Where is your favorite creating space? And do you allow others to collaborate with you? How do you seem to constantly be putting out music?

kerri: I heard this really interesting quote from one of my friends. He was talking about the process and he said something like, "I don't work fast. I work a lot." That made the most sense to me. For example, two nights ago I was up until 9 in the morning. Luckily, I am in the position where I can scrape by paying my rent with music at the moment. I moved up provinces, and I live in a cooler city and moved in with a couple musicians. The space I find most comfortable, and why I release music so much, is because I do it from my bedroom, completely independent. There are no men in suits holding me back. I am always working constantly, and I burn out a lot and take breaks. I collaborate very often with friends. Lately, I have been co-producing a lot with my new singles. 

OTW: No artist should sound the same; there should always be an evolution. Why did you want to change the sound between "misery" from your first single, "waste my time"?

kerri: They are sonically differently, but contain the same sad overtone to my entire life. "waste my time" sounds very like youthful in my artistic progression. When I listen to it, I think of baby kerri. I feel like I am going through my artistic teenage years. I'm forming into myself and discovering myself as an artist by just experimenting with new sounds. I've been really obsessed with this contemporary R&B direction and mixing that with what I am doing - this sad overblown kind of thing. And I think I am doing a very interesting job of that.

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OTW: What is next for you kerri? How do you see yourself getting to your end goal?

kerri: I am just working on expanding and establishing myself as an artist, but my next big goal is to just become an excellent writer. I think I am working up to that. I think it is getting better as time goes on. "waste my time" is literally the worst; the lyrics are so fucking stupid. The issue is I go to bars with friends and they show people my music on Spotify, and I am just cringing so hard. I think that my end goal is to be proud of what I am doing. Not to say that the music I put out is bad. I just want to be very confident in my music and be a strong writer, so people can connect to my stuff more easily.

OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?

kerri: Okay dude I have some great ones! You are going to be so hooked with my picks here. 

Travis Bickle - He is very diverse and unpredictable. It feels like he has the ability to write some timeless music. I respect that so much when an artist stands out from the timeline they are in. His music is independent from everything else around him. I would love to work with him.

Lhasa Petik - So she is one of those people who can hear something and then play it. She has perfect pitch and I just don't get it.

Hudson Lee - He is currently my roommate, and I have known this man through the internet, since when I was fifteen. We talked on a music production forum and grew a friendship out of that. He comes from a scene where it is sound-design heavy. Kind of dubstep-y to most people but takes that influence and combines it with folk and indie. He makes interesting music that is very unique in its own way.  

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