"...music is really the only thing I want to do. That's the one true thing in my life..." - Mack Keane
A well-placed falsetto line can send the ho-hum of a smoldering soul song into the stratosphere. It's somewhat of a tradition, too, warranting pin-point focus on not only remembering the words but pouring every throb of heart into the story. From such greats as Marvin Gaye to current superstar acts like John Legend, that chilling, magnetizing vocal trick is acrobatic in nature and outright moving. When newcomer Mack Keane flips into his falsetto on "Remember Me," a deep cut on his just-released 2107 EP, the melody shoots across the skin and down the spine. During Keane's recent promo stop at Popdust, the singer delighted us with an acoustic, keyboard-led performance of the song, as well as his more provocative and gutsy "Model Behavior"--you can watch both sterling moments below. "There's always a dramatic arc in any art form, really," Keane says of his thoughtful placement of falsetto parts. "You just have to know...in that moment, that dramatic place, you can put in a falsetto. Also, it's just feeling. If you feel it, just do it."
"I was in my dorm, and I was creating a hip-hop beat to initially start off," he shares about how "Remember Me" came together. "I put up some chords over it and really vibed with it. I pulled out some poetry. This song is about the mental struggles that I was having when I was about 18 years old--that moment when you're coming into adulthood and thinking 'what's the point of my life? When I'm dead will I still be remember?' I want to do something meaningful with my life."
It is from that swirling, complicated state of existentialism that Keane has constructed his latest EP. In his song "Imagine," especially, there is a lyric which reads "is it cause I speak truth?" On his own personal truth in life, Keane says, "My truth in life would honestly just be that music is really the only thing I want to do. That's the one true thing in my life--and to not lose site of that, even if it's so difficult in these early stages of my career. Every single day is a struggle because you're constantly thinking 'this is just so hard, how am I going to do this.'" And in his music, he aims to "always be growing" and never be comfortable" with the way things are.
On his EP opener "Model Behavior," which sets a rather brash, unapologetic tone for the project, Keane takes aim at an ex. She's "a slave to the picture," he barbs on the first verse. "I had gotten assigned to write songs for Trey Songz's recent albu, and I was creating tracks to send over to his publishing company. At some point, I said 'I hate this. I hate this mechanical process of songwriting.' It's much more cathartic and personal to me. I kept this track and wrote lyrics over it about some things I was going through."
In our exclusive session, Keane discusses his musical heroes, his personal journey through writing and recording the 2107 EP, and what his next steps might be. Take a look below.
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