#Farah&Friends With KeepVibesNear

We sat down with singer-songwriter KeepVibesNear for our most recent Farah & Friends interview where he opens up about his sources of inspiration. Hailing from East London with a West African heritage, he talks about emotional sincerity, style and the challenges faced when establishing his voice…

Before we chat about all things style and music, how’s life?

Life’s good! New management, new beginnings, good times…

Tell us more about you, where are you from?

I’m from East London, Whitechapel and my folks are from Nigeria.

Where does the name KeepVibesNear come from?

When I first started making music, I was coming up with some rubbish names. I wanted to make my name KVN because of my name - Kevin - but there was a Spanish artist called kvn who kept coming up on Spotify and our songs would mix. So, I changed my name to KeepVibesNear and it’s funny, a lot of people actually guessed my name is Kevin from KeepVibesNear, I dunno how.

What didn’t make the list?

Mace Swankdo! Something random like that but it ended in the right place, so it’s all good…

How would you describe your style in three words?

I’d say - dark, smooth, sexy…

How long did it take to find your voice as an artist?

It took a long time - my whole family sings - my Mum, my bro, my little sisters, they all sing. I figured that quite early on I couldn’t sing like Chris Brown or Trey Songz; it became a matter then, of me experimenting with what my voice can do and through that, I got to find my voice. I used to play guitar all the time in school and I feel like that helped as I learnt how to sing in those chords, which then translated into how I sing now.

What and who are your influences?

Growing up, I’d say soul icons like Stevie Wonder and all the greats were big influences but the turning point was when I started listening to Lauryn Hill. She was the first black person I saw sing and play the guitar - I started listening to her and that got me into Neo Soul and artist like Erykah Badu. As I got older, I started listening to indie music like King Krule and John Mayer, that really helped me with my delivery.

What inspires you?

Life. I was in a long relationship; a lot of my songs are very retrospective. Now that I’m single, the subject matter is different with the inspo coming from what I was going through and what I thought was cool; I’ve always liked love songs over other songs, so I just started making them.

So, would you say you’re in touch with your emotions?

100%! I don’t feel like I’m completely emotionally mature but in terms of accountability of how you feel, that’s something I’ve learnt to do - you know how we mandem don’t really talk about how we feel!?

Especially when growing up in ends, it can be difficult to express ourselves. Conversations like this however, need to be encouraged; that’s what I like about my music, a lot of the time, the introspect that I talk about, a lot of people can relate to, as a lot of the time, it’s about me f*cking up, which can be looked at as a learning point or a chance to grow.

Let’s talk festivals - are you going to any this year?

Going to a few with The Silhouettes Project but in terms of the solo stuff, I’m gonna chill this year.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Be patient.

How does Farah compliment your style?

I think it’s dope!  Greenports really compliment my style a lot as I’m not wearing skinny trousers anymore; the baggy fit is the vibe. I like cargos that aren’t restrictive; I don’t need to wear a belt anymore and it’s a game changer. Farah is cool because a lot of the pieces are interchangeable.

Is sustainability on the mind when shopping for clothes?

Yeah 100%. I only really shop vintage. Sustainability is definitely important.

What are you most proud of?

I have a lot of stuff to be proud of but I’d say The Jazz Café - when I hopped on stage and said my name, KeepVibesNear - the crowd went crazy!

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

I’ve got a new project I’m working on, I’m just in the process of finishing it and getting all the videos done.

It’s going to be called Noir; I feel that Noir R&B is the best way to describe the music I make; it’s melancholic and dark mixed with smooth Neo Soul.

Creativity is…?



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