The moment the first humming melody came into “Bells” by ‘Kechi I just instantly knew this song would be a hit. There are so many variations of components to “Bells” that I absolutely love so let’s go over them! Starting with the production of “Bells”. Ironically complementing the song’s title, the instrument has this nice bell effect that gives this light seasonal vibe that’s very fitting for the record. Aside from the effect of the cute bell, the beat slowly transitions with new elements arriving through the production. Elements like a light hip-hop kick and soulful instrumentation to create this light R&B aura.
‘Kechi gives you multi-dimensional to his vocal delivery. First, he gives you a clean-slated rap delivery that flowed so perfectly and on the beat. Then, ‘Kechi gives us a beautifully sounding melody in the chorus. His vocal register lightly transitions into a nice high register that floated like a feather on top of the beat. This gave the song a nice Smooth R&B effect. The lyricism in “Bells” were highly substantial and filled with great meaning and a message for the listeners to decode. All in all, “Bells” was peacefully canorous, and a gorgeous representation of diverse talent that ‘Kechi is equipped with.
You can listen to “Bells” by ‘Kechi here!
Welcome to BuzzMusic ‘Kechi! Where do you find most of your inspiration and influence from?
Thank you for having me! I'd say musically, I’m listening for something with combined soul & poetry in it, and that comes from a variety of genres and artists I look up to — D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Lupe Fiasco, Kirk Franklin...the list goes on. Right now, Voodoo and The Black Messiah by D'Angelo (& The Vanguard for the latter), Jim Crow the Musical by Add-2, and Black Radio by the Robert Glasper Experiment has been on repeat. And then there’s life and the way I grew up. Being the only son of Nigerian parents raised in the predominantly white suburbs of Chicago, studying classical voice and writing hip hop rhymes simultaneously — I was introduced to a lot of different experiences that I put into my writing and composition, trying to tell a side of my multi-faceted story in the most lyrical way possible.
Specifically, talking about your single “Bells”, what inspired this song?
The song came from a place of longing to be seen. Often I find myself being drowned out in the crowd, stuck in my head, and the moment when I started writing it was that case. I wanted to express that feeling in the music. And as I stated early in the song, music is the only way I'm capable of escaping that feeling of being drowned out. Music is where I feel I have a voice that people will want to listen to, that people will want to hear out. So that's where "Bells" comes from.
How would you describe your songwriting approach towards “Bells”?
I produced and arranged the track before writing to it, which was the first time I had approached music writing at that point (usually I start with the lyrics/melody before painting around it). I sat on the beat for about a month until I found myself in the circumstance I described earlier -- drowned out by the noise, longing to be seen. At that moment, the beat started to play in my head. Along with that, the first couple of lines began to form, so I grabbed my songwriting notebook and was writing. Each verse and the chorus were written separately, so it took a couple of weeks to piece together, but everything flowed at the end.
What was the most challenging aspect of creating “Bells” and why?
I would say the most challenging aspect was just how vulnerable and honest I was in the whole process of creating it, from writing to performing to recording it. The recording was especially difficult because I'm still getting used to being in the booth and doing multiple takes. I feel stagnant, and it's easy for the authenticity to get lost in the process. That's why I usually like to perform my music live before solidifying it in the studio. I had to keep coming back to the studio with "Bells" as I grew with it on the stage, understanding it and learning more about myself and my message. But in the end, it was all worth it, and I'm happy with what I have to share with y'all.
What’s next for you ‘Kechi?
I've been preparing to release my EP The Light next month to start off the decade. I'm really excited to have the world hear it, as it's been a long time in the making. And then I'll continue to march on, performing live in the Chicago scene, making more music along the way. The goal is to keep creating and keep sharing. I can't wait to share it with y'all.