We had the good fortune of connecting with Shawn Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shawn, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I am inspired by the journey of life, the ups and the downs and the in-betweens. Music is a big part of my life so hearing something new to me give me joy because someone else who is a creative created this musical arrangement for whatever reason; for themselves, for someone else, or something. I am also inspired by other forms of art, such as architecture and installation art.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My parents are from Jamaica, I was born in New Jersey, I feel the Jamaica, American, and Hip Hop culture I grow up in definitely shaped my life and sets me apart because the circumstances are unique in terms of art and the expression of it. All pulling from each other, sampling each other. So that’s what I do. I am constantly creating and sampling in my brain. I have voice memos since the first end of the tape deck era (2000s) to today. Some of these ideas make it into my works. I started as a beatmaker, a sampler, and a beatbox because my older brother Ronald was making music. Then I learn some piano from college and then from a friend so I can play what I hear in my brain. It took some more years to feel at home on the keys. It took many years of practice to get to a level of professionalism which was very challenging. Working with different artists from different walks of life definitely helped shape my style. I also perform my music on stages, doing beat showcases. I have come in contact with very talented people and get inspired and create. One of those talented people helped me achieve a goal that I am most proud of, I always wanted to score an animated show and I did. I composed some music for Adult Swim’s animated series Lazor Wulf. The lesson I have learned through all of the ups and downs, is to always be ready when opportunity presents itself. Collaboration is great and can be a great way to connect the successful dots faster. Honing your own ability and skill is also key to staying consistent and being ready for the call.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I feel LA is a great place to visit. You kinda have to be decisive because you do not want to get caught in traffic so here are my recommendations.
I would definitely recommend spending some time in any of the parks. I love to eat at Sage Vegan Bistro and drive up the coast on the weekends. If your’e into outdoor theaters Paramount always has great movies playing and dope movie theater bites.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a shoutout to Audio Rohn
Sarah Arnold and Wes Pendleton