Keith Anthoni divulges a memoir of his turbulent upbringing with genius attention to detail on his latest single, "Trying."
Being a Northern Virginia area-native, the budding Rapper—who takes virtue in the sincerity he imbues his music with inherently interweaves his ethos within all his musical endeavors. It's not about how hard life can get; it's about how hard you can take a hit and keep thriving. Keith Anthoni's music is rooted in his mind, body, and soul, wrapped around his innards like kudzu that grips firmly but naturally in the way it reflects his life within his hip-hop constructions.
On his latest single, "Trying," it's easy to see the common ground he creates. Inspiring listeners to keep fighting and to find strength in his narrative. Inaugurated by an aural cascade of anamorphic pads and filtering keys that fill-in the airy spaces between Keith Anthoni's luring voice and the bombastic breakbeat that sucks you in immediately, "Trying" renders-up lucid and frank; especially when the lyrics hit you.
"I love the place I'm at cause I hate the way I was livin', physically feelin' great but mentally I'm in prison," he unfolds with a soothing inclination, with lines that instantly come from a place of vulnerability, skipping over the measure with tapered finesse and the nonchalant flow of a veteran emcee. Over a mid-tempo bearing, strapped and locked-in by the 90s-borrowing breakbeat that bolsters from behind, Keith Anthoni's incisive personal story comes to life. He holds onto his non-wavering rhythm throughout his internal ruminations, "hope you listen to my state of mind I find distance," and injects pulse fires of harmonic adlibs that accentuate the tails of his expressive denotations, facilitating his poetry with dynamic sonic texturing. When the hook comes around, Keith's intonation blossoms, manifesting the top-line melody with seamless fashion, transitioning with perfection, and nodding at his R&B and Soul inspirations with his infatuating delivery. His second verse accentuates some of his poetic craftsmanship with a quietly devastating line that highlights his self-awareness and interweaves the entire section together perfectly: "worried bout the now we ain't worried bout nothing else." It's an emollient tie-in line that highlights Keith's credibility as an upcoming legend when you play this single back a second time.
"Trying" is not an egotistical tale boasting about dope-running and acting belligerent; it's a profound personal anecdote interjecting the past and the present: his dealing with death, his struggle with pills for recovery, inner identity uncertainty, and the uncovering of his undying fight within him. If anything other than a masterfully orchestrated track or a vivid biographical tale, "Trying" is a testament to the unhindered artistry and authenticity within Keith Anthoni's music as a whole.
Can you run us through your creative process when it came to a personal song like "Trying?" What element came first, and how did it develop from there?
When writing ”trying” I was just really trying to capture the struggle of battling depression. People that often suffer from depression and anxiety suffer in silence and I wanted to let people know how hard it is to deal with issues without the right resources used to help you. “Trying” captures the late nights spent crying and battling inner demons.
What were some of the challenges, if any, that presented themselves through the artist process intertwined within "Trying?"
The only challenge I can say I faced while making this song was allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to tell these stories.
Is this a project that you'd consider to have been challenging to divulge based on how vulnerable this song is?
Yes, I’ve never liked opening up to people so this song I feel like was my way of opening a new connection with the listeners.
When you think about some of the emotions you channeled into for the performance you've captured on "Trying," which come forward as the most compelling?
The feeling of defeat, when you have no motivation but you still try and try again. That’s what made this song come true, the thought of not being good enough but trying to be the best at the same time.
How do you feel these emotions influenced the way this track turned out?
I feel like it really took the song to another level I don’t think the song would be the same without these emotions.
If you could give listeners a few sentences that would act as a prologue to the experience you've laid-out from listeners within "Trying," what would you feel the need to express?
When you know you can’t prove yourself to anybody and you’re still trying you’ll know the emotions in this song. I’ve battled with mental issues for some time now and it’s ruined relationships for me but I’m still trying, trying to show that I have bounced back from the many times that I’ve lost but nobody will see that.
What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020?
My love for music, 2020 has been a tough year for me mentally, physically, and emotionally so my love for music will always allow me to get back up and try again.