Feature: Jack Foley
KEISHA White is one of those rare artists that appeal to all
ages, genres and tastes.
She treads the fine line between cutting-edge verve and all-encompassing
appeal, embracing pop and rock while retaining her R&B roots.
With an astonishing voice far belying her tender years and an
impeccable ear for melody, this 18–year-old North Londoner
brings a breath of fresh air to the UK music scene.
Keisha came to the attention of Warner Brother Records after
her distinctive vocals featured on Paul Oakenfold’s The
Harder They Come and Desert Eagle Disc’s Bigger
Hearing the huge buzz her vocals were generating, Warners invited
Keisha to their offices, where she overwhelmed the assembled audience
by performing a live acoustic set. Warner quickly seized the opportunity
and immediately signed the prodigious talent.
Having been born to a professional soul-singing mother, the young
singer has been surrounded by music since birth.
First performing onstage at one of her mum’s concerts,
(she was just eight at the time!) Keisha found her calling early
and became instantly hooked on the live experience.
Over the next nine years she carefully honed her craft, working
on expanding her range and perfecting her song writing skills.
Whether performing onstage at the Royal Albert Hall as part of
Westminster Arts, or forming her own band, K.Rell’m, music
has been a central part of Keisha’s life.
"It's like I knew about music since I came onto this earth,"
she explains. "When I’m singing, whether it’s
live or in the studio, I go totally into my world; Keisha’s
Keisha is clearly well on her way to the next level.
In 2004, she continued to provide the theme tune to popular BBC
drama, Tracey Beaker, as well as performing a guest role in the
She also wowed audiences across the UK while on tour with Jamelia,
Black Eyed Peas and, most recently, Lemar.
During this time, release Watcha Gonna Do received massive
press support and led to Keisha being championed as the ‘One
to Watch’ by the likes of Sunday Times Magazine, Saturday
Telegraph, Dazed & Confused, DJ, OK Hotstars, Bliss, Blues
& Soul and Touch magazine.
Keisha went on to be nominated for an Urban Music Award (Best
R&B Act) and even found the time to fly out to Hollywood to
appear in Halle Berry’s Catwoman
movie; a role she was personally recommended for by none other
than Alicia Keys.
It was during this trip that Keisha
caught the eye of sensational US rapper Cassidy, which has resulted
in the pair collaborating on her infectious new single, Don’t
Care Who Knows.
Keisha has also finished recording her debut album, which will
be released early next year.
For this, Keisha teamed up with an amazing list of writers and
US producer, Scott Storch (Dr Dre, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé,
Janet Jackson); writer, Balewa Muhammad (Whitney Houston, Christina
Aguilera), together with Storch, Marko Rakascan (Maxwell) and
Lucas Secon (P. Diddy, Tweet, Sugababes).
Keisha insists: "We didn’t set out to make a typical
R&B album because that’s been done and it’s being
done. I don’t want to be just another R&B artist.
"I’m just being me, I’m not trying to mimic
Effortlessly alternating between a searing soprano and a honey-drenched
alto, Keisha’s sweeping range looks guaranteed to get jaws
"Singing to me just seemed to happen so naturally. I don’t
know where my voice came from, I just know I’ve always been
able to sing and over the years it’s developed," she
Being brought up around the sounds of vintage soul has taught
Keisha the importance of excellence.
"I call them the 3 As – Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah and
Anita Baker," proclaims Keisha of her musical mentors.
"I learnt from these singers how important it is that music
should be distinctive. Whether their CDs were played 20 years
ago, today or in 2010, they’re timeless.
"That’s what I’m trying to do - make my music
last forever. I want to help bring back something that has been
almost lost for so long - great singing, live instrumentation
and first-rate songs."
Yet in spite of her confidence, Keisha's path to success has
taken her by surprise.
"Sometimes this doesn’t feel real, it’s almost
like a fantasy because it’s been my dream for so long,"
"When I’m at home, with my family, is when I get time
to reflect on everything that’s happening and then I’ll
also think how I can improve things or make them better. I’m
always looking to be able to do better.
"It’s so rare that people can live their dreams so
I’m going to make the most of my dreams, whatever happens."
Remember, dreams can come true and for Keisha White, they clearly
Keisha White’s debut album will be released on March 7
and will be preceded by the single, Don’t Care Who Knows,
on February 21.