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3rd August 2023

Interview: Elijah Kang

After releasing his new vibrant single called “Butterscotch”, the openly gay rapper is singlehandedly dismantling stereotypes, whilst garnering an online platform with millions of views, such as showcasing his talent for intricate and playful lyricism on TikTok. Keanan, born in Cheltenham, is a flourishing star, considered by Gay Times’ ones-to-watch as an unsigned LGBTQ+ talent in the UK. As well as this, he has received recognition from the BBC, such as their “BBC Introducing” platform and the radio. His new single is filled with retro-inspired yet current hooks, and is brimming with the sounds of summer that are captured by this colourful track. 

Hi Keanan, thanks for talking with ReVamp! Could you tell the readers a bit about “Butterscotch” and the inspiration behind this song?

Hey! Thank you for having me – it’s an exciting time for sure, especially with “Butterscotch”. It’s such a cool, hybrid of all my favourite things I love. It has a disco, pop feel but also incorporates rap with that sassy energy. It’s a track that I have wanted to create for such a long time. But one random morning, in my kitchen I noticed a pack of butterscotch flavoured sweets. The word “butterscotch” just sounded really cool to me and I instantly sung “you’re sweet like butterscotch” which was really fun and catchy. So that same afternoon, I played around with it and ended up writing the entire track. On the surface, the track is about telling somebody how “sweet” they are and how much you admire them but the deeper message behind the song is really about remembering to love yourself in the process. We often fall for someone so whole-heartedly; we sometimes forget to love ourselves and what we bring to the table so it’s just maintaining that self-confidence. Someone may be “sweet like butterscotch” but they “need that little spoon of sugar” that you’ve got. It’s all about balance. 

Can you sum up your single in 3 words?

Funky, sassy, and energetic.  

You stated previously that you want to be remembered as the role model that you never had in rap – how do you hope the industry you’re in will change for the better in the future?

I think we’re really seeing positive changes in the US in regard to rap representation with artists such as Lil Nas X and Saucy Santana. But in the UK, we are still very far behind in achieving this, so I hope to be remembered as a role model by bringing more of these conversations to mainstream media and being a positive form of representation for those who don’t see themselves in rap. 

I heard that you’re playing at lots of shows this summer, like Boardmasters and Brighton Pride – what do you enjoy the most about performing?

Being on stage just feels like home to me. I get to be myself and come to life and it’s something I never take for granted. But overall, it’s just so FUN. Being an independent artist can be really stressful, you can get weighed down by the business and the admin so being on stage just reminds me of that spark, and the passion I have for music – it’s going to be an exciting summer for sure.

What’s next for you after this single and your gigs this summer?

I’m always creating music or plotting my next steps – it’s who I am. But I’m definitely enjoying exploring new sounds and finding who I am as an artist. Every year is new growth and I’m just excited to see where I go next.

How do you personally define success?

Success is really hard to define, personally. It’s definitely something that grows and evolves overtime, so I try to focus on the small wins every day, then naturally, the rest will follow. However, there are certain things in my career I would LOVE to achieve. I would love to perform at The BRIT Awards, or for a track to reach the charts. Maybe then, I’d feel THAT sense of ‘success’ but I do believe in celebrating the now and the present and I’m super proud of where I am and what I stand for.

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'Butterscotch' by Keanan is out August 4th.

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