by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Keshia

by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Keshia

South African-born RnB singer Keshia Paulse splashes elegantly into the local scene under her own name with a Mazbou Q-produced single Bitter, a song reminding people it’s okay to be just that from time to time, temporarily. NZ On Air Music featured the song on their March NewTracks compilation. 

What’s your name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Keshia Paulse and I’m a vocalist living in Auckland.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I had a classical singing teacher in high school (Hilary) which I always thought wasn’t for me, but I have learnt so many techniques that I still use today. My music teacher in high school Mrs Mulligan was also really inspiring and encouraging.

Any other projects that we might know you from?

I was in a band called The Boom Cat and we did a few really awesome gigs together, but the project didn’t really take off unfortunately. A lot of learning came from that experience.

What’s the background story of how your solo project came to be? 

I was going through a painful separation at the time and what really helped me was throwing myself back into music, and I just started writing my story in songs. It became a really cathartic and healing process for me.

How did you decide to stick with Keshia as your artist name?

I love my name so much so there was no real need to create anything different

How has your writing evolved from your songwriting beginnings?

I have definitely become less afraid and more vulnerable in my songwriting which I absolutely love

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date

So far, actually releasing my single – Bitter. It just took me such a long time and I just felt so proud of myself and feeling the support of my amazing friends and family has been incredible. Being able to put on some beautiful gigs at Ponsonby Social Club with some of NZ’s best musicians. I feel really blessed.

What makes Bitter stand out for you as a single?

I think how candid it is is a stand-out, but also the empowering way I have heard that it makes people (and myself) feel.

What is the theme behind Bitter?

It’s basically about taking a moment to release all the petty things you want to say when someone has really hurt you – which was unfortunately the case for me – and knowing that it is ok to have that temporary moment. Let it go and then make sure that you work on healing yourself and not staying in that moment.

Who did you record/produce the single with?

I wrote Bitter and it was produced by Mazbou Q who is absolutely amazing and really understood the assignment in making it the track it is right now.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

The bridge. I could listen to it over and over. Everything about it; lyrics, vocals, arrangement, and production makes it such a sassy, empowering moment and I’m really here for it.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

Just that it’s ok to feel bitter, temporarily. Make sure you vent in the right space but then heal and move on and work on yourself

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

I guess it’s in the way people perceive and respond to it, being somewhat relatable to people (and you) feel connected to it.

Anyone else in your team? 

Right now I am just working independently and reaching out to various producers to make music with.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on we should keep an eye out for?

I’m hoping to release a few more singles and then an album so hopefully that will be in the near future (as near as possible!).

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

  • Kristn: Low Key
  • Aaradhna: She
  • Bailey Wiley: Baby Mama

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks?

This was my first time applying for NewTracks, I really didn’t know what the outcome would be

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

I love Tiny Desk clips. So much good music in an intimate setting, which is such a vibe.

Any last words?

Just a massive thanks to everyone who has supported me thus far. I really do feel blessed.

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