When a new artist has the “it” factor, it’s hard for listeners not to be drawn to them. Considering that Luh Kel, a rising freshman, already has millions of streams and gold and platinum accolades to his name, it’s probably a safe bet to say that he has “it.”
Last spring, the St. Louis native entered the R&B ring with a strong debut single (“Wrong”). Holding close to the ropes and building on the song’s momentum, Kel released Mixed Emotions, a 12-track project that solidified him as an artist to watch.
Though Kel has received lots of industry buzz and acclaim in his brief time in the limelight, he hasn’t consumed himself with it. Instead, he returned to the studio to record more new music. The results: L.O.V.E.(Loss of Valuable Emotions), the second collection of music from Kel in less than a year.
It was a cathartic release for Kel, who says the project’s title “speaks to emotion as a whole.” In his past, Kel suffered from the loss of love and felt compelled to express what’s been internalized on L.O.V.E. “I’ve been through it a long time ago, so I’m still speaking on things that I used to go through,” the 18-year-old artist tells Rated R&B. It’s that relatability and transparency that has grown his loyal fanbase and gained new listens for songs like “How to Love” and “Promise.”
Less than a month after releasing L.O.V.E., Kel reissues the project with four new songs. One of those new tracks is “Feen” featuring Trippie Redd.
“Always from the jump, I knew ‘Feen’ was going to be a hit. I was in the booth with Scott Storch and we were just cooking up. We knew it was going to be a big song,” he says. “When we were shooting the video, we wanted to capture that feeling of the highs and lows that come with love. And it was awesome shooting and recording with Trippie, he made the whole thing even better.”
Rated R&B caught up with Kel following the release of L.O.V.E. In our interview, he dished on the creative process for his new project, working with legendary producer Scott Storch, interest in making L.O.V.E. a visual release and more.
From gold and platinum single success to the overwhelming support from your fans, you are well on your way to being this year’s MVP in R&B. What is the key to your success?
Everything comes from connecting with my fans and them being a part of making the brand, you know what I’m saying? Being close to people and making them feel close to me, because then they’ll be lifelong fans, as opposed to fans that are just for the moment.
You just dropped L.O.V.E. (Deluxe), a month after releasing the standard edition. Why is now the right time?
There’s a lot going on in the world right now. This is a time where you can’t go out or can’t go on tour and be physically there with your fans, so you have to do it musically and through social media. It’s the perfect time for me to connect with my fans through my music. I want my fans to catch a cool vibe. My music is mostly R&B based, and it’s me talking about relationships and things like that. Whenever people listen to my music I want whatever they’re feeling – if they’re down from a relationship or feeling up from a relationship, any relationship advice they can find in my music.
In making this new project, how would you say the writing and creative process approach change from last year’s Mixed Emotions EP?
It’s mostly the same thing. I’m just in the studio with different people than I was before; bigger people like Scott Storch, but it’s the same process. Just turn on the beat and I go crazy, regardless. I’ve done a couple of collabs with people and that’s different, but basically the same.
There were a few songs that I recorded before. It wasn’t like we working on a project, it was more putting a lot of music together. We took some of my best pieces of work and put it together and then turned it into a project. The creative side, as far as the flower bomb activations and promotions and things like that, it took a couple of months to put together. But the project itself – we just put together all of the songs, and then put the best body of work together from there.
Not many new artists can say that they’ve worked with legends like Scott Storch on a project. Besides his name being a major stamp of approval, what kind of vibe was he producing that made you want to have him a part of this project?
The vibe was just good. Scott Storch is a really cool person and a legend so it’s definitely big for me, to know that I’m working with the producer of the biggest songs that I would listen to growing up. It definitely feels good and it’s amazing to have him work with me on my art, as well. Our minds are very alike. I’m quick with words and he’s quick with the piano. It just matched perfectly.
Another huge collaboration for the new project was with Queen Naija, who is on top of the R&B world. You both seem to have a great work ethic as it relates to music. Is that what attracted you to collaborate with her for the fan-favorite track “Want You”?
Me being an R&B singer, there aren’t a lot of real R&B soulful singers. I knew that song was an emotional song – it sounds like new school, but kind of old school – so I knew her voice was going to put a soulful feel to it. She’s cool. That’s my big sister. She has a great vibe and great energy, she’s cool to be around.
What is on the horizon for Luh Kel in the near future?
There’s a lot coming soon. I’d rather show you rather than speak on it because when you see it you’re gonna be amazed.
Stream Luh Kel’s new project L.O.V.E. (Deluxe) below.