For most of us 2020 is a year we’d very much like to forget happened even though there’s still just a little less than half of it to go. Specifics to support this are likely not necessary. But in the midst of all the mayhem, tragedy and uncertainty, there are many who believe, are examples and have operated from the position that this time will birth new opportunity if you’re paying attention, are not afraid to explore and to act. Case in point, Kreshonna Keane.
Coming into this tumultuous year, the talented, twenty- five year old photographer who hails from the boogie – down Bronx, was already creating a lively buzz with her engaging style. It’s a now signature style the impressive photog, who graduated high school at fifteen, became a photo assistant at sixteen while attending college and has already traveled to twenty-five countries, crafted that vividly tells stories of her neighborhood with luscious color and fashionably swag.
When the pandemic took hold and almost literally padlocked us all inside, in addition to sharing her gems that featured others and stunning self-portraits of Keane herself via social media, she also embraced a concept born of the quarantine – FaceTime shoots. It wasn’t something she thought much of at first. Many others didn’t either. But then she discovered how she could bring her signature approach to this apparent fad and once Twitter got hold, Keane’s kite of recognition caught a hurricane force wind. I SPY SOUL caught up with Kreshonna Keane in the special quarantine version, video interview via Zoom above to talk about her style, motivation, the recognition, and more. BC
“An artist’s main job is to reflect his or her time. That’s the job. With any luck we can actually, per chance, illuminate, shine a light, strike a match, curse the darkness. Thats if we’re lucky . . .”
Those words came from Tomás Doncker just over three years ago during our interview with him upon the release of his riveting release, The Mess We Made. (Click here to view the interview) That project, quite without intention, was born from what was for him the literal life-numbing response to hearing about the atrocious killing of nine African-Americans inside a church located in Charleston, SC, murdered by white supremacist Dylan Roof.
Doncker, a super busy, accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer and impresario of the successful label, True Groove Records, shut himself down to everything except his guitar and a means to capture his thoughts in response to that heinous act. In doing so what emerged was the essence of what we asserted then was, “an incredibly impressive, provocative, no holds barred, scolding of our country and of our society, but not without a few suggestions of things we can do to get right.”
“What are the possibilities when we’re not confined by a little box called gender? What does that wholeness look like?” Maryland – born singer/songwriter Chandanie poses that question when talking about the inspiration for her new single, “Make We Whole,” which features long time collaborator and acclaimed emcee, JSWISS. She further submits about the ideology behind the track, “Wholeness is being able to show up authentically, being able to show up in a way that feels good to me. Feminine, masculine, or beyond.” Needless to say, quite an intriguing premise. But this is the kind of live-living territory the talented artist is often apt to muse.
Co-produced by Chandanie and guitarist/songwriter Vo-Era, “Make We Whole” is the follow-up to her single, “I Win My Love”, an ode to self-love and another example of what the emerging vocalist calls Soul Liberation Music. It’s a groove-infused brew that blends the musical elements of jazz, soul, R&B and more with purposeful messages. These are messages that evolve from her own introspective grappling with issues relating to self-love, gender counter-normativity and relationships, but grappling likely shared by many. And they are delivered throughout by her stylistic, vocal flow and tone that harnesses both nostalgia and newness surrounded with siren-like harmonies.
Chandanie, who now calls Brooklyn, NY home, is gradually spreading her sound or crusade, if you will, via performances throughout NYC and through recordings that include her own and as a featured vocalist on projects from JSWISS, accomplished saxophonist/producer FKAJazz and other impressive young artists on the come up. It’s clear “Make We Whole” will open the door to more questions of the soul Chandanie is likely already pondering.