“Flying” by Kéwork is a well-crafted Neo-Soul/Indie R&B track. With all these soulful infusions, it still ends up having very commercial sound with memorable hooks and a classic songwriting structure. It starts off with a chill beat-driven verse, then the melody picks up briefly for the pre-chorus, only to pull us into a full-fledged chorus with packed layers of horns, strings, and harmonies that lift the listener up to give a sense of truly flying. The “flying” hook has been stuck in my head for quite a few days, which is a really good sign of the writing. It is also impressive to the production aspect that real brass was recorded, and those big, finely-polished horn lines are definitely a main feature of the track. The concept behind “Flying” is very intriguing. It is a story about a young, ordinary man who is determined for his love interest to take a chance on him. So he offers her a Persian carpet to fly into space together. The music surely paints these visuals through its magical bells and soaring melodies of a flying carpet. “Flying” has been added to the New Music Friday NL playlist within a week of the release, which shows his debut was immediately off to a good start. Kéwork also works as a songwriter for his publishers Roc-A-Ville/GL Music as well as for other artists. Kéwork has an incredibly soulful, soothing and uplifting voice. He has true musical experience with over a decade of private piano lessons and an E-Music Bachelor’s degree from the Conservatorium Inholland Haarlem under his belt. His strong music background shows in the complexity of his music yet also in the way he is also able to create a catchy hook with the power to entrance listeners. The best part of all, in my opinion, is that his goal in using his musical talents is to inspire people to do what they love.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kéwork, and here is what he had to say:
Q&A with Kéwork
That hook melody “Flying” is super catchy. What was your writing process for this song?
My good friend Bilal. who goes by the name ‘Baba’, sent me a demo of the instrumental four years ago. When I first heard it I was completely blown away. Automatically I started humming and singing parts of the chorus. The first thing I came up with was the “I’ma take you flying” line. In the beginning stages, the chorus was quite different lyrically. It’s very odd yet interesting to listen back to the voice memo I made 4 years ago to show Baba what I wrote. ‘Flying’ took me quite some time to ‘perfect’. 4 years went by until I was happy with the writing and production. I re-wrote a lot of parts over the years to help it make more sense story-wise and achieve a certain level lyrically speaking. When the songwriting was done, Baba and I wanted to experiment with the production a bit more. Both of us felt that recording real brass would take the song to a higher level, rather than just using the synth brass we had already programmed. And we were absolutely right. Whilst recording and listening back to the brass, we fell in love with the song in a completely different way. This was the missing piece of our puzzle, and I truly believe it enhances the vibe of ‘Flying’ in a unique way.
I love how uplifting lyrics are to this song. Was there any real-life experience that inspired “Flying”?
In Armenian, one of the roots of my name is actually St. George the dragon-slayer. So, I’ve always loved the idea of having the first album I drop retell his epic tale with a futuristic twist and small easter eggs of things I hold near and dear. Though ‘Flying’ is the first single, you actually find yourself in the middle of the wider story — a little like how the Star Wars saga was first told. I think it’s sick when you see all the different plots and themes finally coming together; the album I’m working on will be filled with that kind of thing. This part of the story actually revolves around the escape of my character and his damsel. Having middle eastern parents meant I grew up having to clean all the Persian carpets in our house. So deciding on that to be the escape vehicle was a big shout out to the imagination of my 7 year old self. I think it also represents the relevance and power of culture and history, in a time where it seems we so often disregard that kind of stuff.
Your sound is very polished - it is a perfectly packaged fusion of neo-soul and commercial. Who are your biggest musical influences?
Sonically, I’m writing what I grew up on: a cocktail of Pop, R&B, Soul, Electronic and Hip-Hop. Some of my biggest influences are: Ryan Leslie, Pharrell, Timbaland, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Craig David, Michael Jackson, and Daft Punk.
Was there any particular moment in your life when you knew that music is your passion?
At the age of 12 when I was heavily influenced by a lot of artists and producers I was listening to. I was taking piano lessons back then and started making my own beats on a very old Yamaha PSR 2000 keyboard. Doing so, I discovered that this is what I wanted to become better at and spend my life adding value to the lives of other people using this creative outlet amongst others.
What is coming up next for you?
I’m currently working on my album. Next to that I’m writing and producing with and for other artists. I plan on releasing my second single very soon, which will reveal more of the saga I mentioned before.
Any parting words to your supporters?
Thank you for listening, sharing, and appreciating the work I’m spending countless of hours on. It really means the world to me. I hope my work inspires you to do what you love, and to fight for what is right. To live life to the fullest, dream big, and to work on becoming the best version of yourself every day.