Love Keyyz is a Cincinnati native, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, pianist, and model. Love Keyyz grew up in the inner city, constantly facing adversity, but her drive, motivation, and hard work towards a vision that only she could see made her stand out. In 2010, she began making YouTube videos that showcased her personality and raw singing talent. As Love Keyyz started gaining traction from the videos, she started writing her own music in 2012 and taught herself how to play piano. In 2018, the songstress moved to L.A. True to her name, Love Keyyz's discography consists of plenty of love songs. Shortly after her move to L.A., in 2019, Love Keyyz released her most notable project, "Naked." The EP, "Naked," was executively produced and written entirely by Love Keyyz, and garnered a lot of attention. "Naked" peaked at #59 on Apple Music’s R&B Top 200 - a feat she accomplished with no marketing and no record label. Being in Los Angeles encouraged her to be a better musician, so she enrolled in music school later that year; recently graduating with 4 certificates and 2 degrees in music. Studying with two of L.A.’s finest private instructors helped her cultivate her already tremendous sound, and with those skills, Love Keyyz created her newly released, critically acclaimed album, "I Could Be Dreaming."
Hi Love Keyyz! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
My artist name started as just “Keyyz,” which is just a nickname based on my first name. I’m a lover girl, and I write about love all the time. I’d always end everything with “Love, Keyyz.” People started to assume my name was Love Keyyz and my team, at the time, explained to me how it made me much more marketable, so as not to be confused with any other artist with the name/variation of it. The name grew on me, especially since it’s a play on my nickname and my actual love for piano.
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio - born and raised. I moved to California in 2018, when I was 21 years old, and have been based here ever since!
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I actually started as a Hip-Hop dancer. I danced as a kid up until around age 12. When my dance coach moved out of town, I used singing as an outlet. I used to record YouTube videos in my bathroom back in 2010, and I started to get lots of song requests. After garnering lots of attention and tens of thousands of views, my uncle said that I should make my own song one day. He put me in the studio, and we never looked back since. I had no idea music was my passion until he invested in me. I fell in love with music the first time that I walked into the studio.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
I used to be ashamed of my upbringing. I wasn’t close to either of my parents and that made me grow up fast. It also made me very independent at a young age. Being independent gave me a lot of control. For example, I started dyeing my hair every color at the age of 14/15. I grew up very bold and unapologetic. I think that prepared me for who I am today because I’m so transparent in my music, yet so authentically me. I don’t hold back, and I move confidently because I have a go-getter mindset. I may not fit the mold, but I control my own narrative. I control my own career. This independence is definitely the reason that I have turned down multiple record deals though. I like to be in charge. Blessing and a curse, haha.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
I would describe my sound as smooth and sensual R&B - very urban, contemporary vibes. A lot of my music is soft and heartfelt, but I also give you the old R&B nostalgia with my acoustic ballads, full of harmonic textures and vivid imagery through my lyrics. Think of a cross between Alicia Keys and H.E.R.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
When I’m away from music, I absolutely love being outdoors. I love nice views, so I hike often. The beach is a luxury that I don’t take for granted living in Los Angeles. I have learned that being in nature and really disconnecting from your day-to-day (especially where social media is involved) is so refreshing and really vital to stay creative. I am so busy on a daily basis, so being outside and/or traveling is the way that I stay rejuvenated. I’m always passport ready, and I’m a frequent flyer. I travel solo frequently because I don’t wait on anyone.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
I am a forever Beyhive member. Before I got into music, I had a crazy obsession with Beyoncé. She’s an incredible entertainer and vocalist. She is the standard, so I studied her. I also am a huge fan of Alicia Keys because she is an amazing pianist and songwriter, and I feel that I relate to her. Those are my main influences, but I also love the newer artists like H.E.R. and Kehlani because we are close in age.
What are some of your future music career goals?
I’m currently taking harp lessons, so one goal is to become a multi-instrumentalist. I sing, write, play piano, produce, and slightly dabble in harp and guitar. But, I want to be pretty good at many instruments. Bass guitar is next.
My main goal is to be able to perform full-time and to write music for TV/film. Being rich and famous is always the goal, but realistically, I’m focused on longevity and financial stability. I hope to book great residencies and consistently land my songs on major shows. I really enjoy composing, not just for myself, but for others. That way, I can stack those residuals while also staying booked and busy.
Now onto your release, “I Could Be Dreaming.” What inspired this album?
My last relationship inspired this album. It was the first time that I ever fell in love. Not the puppy love that I experienced in high school. I had found my person. Like, all the cliché things they say about love were exactly what we had. But, he cheated one day and everything fell apart. The love was so amazing that I felt like “I Could Be Dreaming.” But, the end was so painful that I had to be dreaming…because how could something so perfect, so one in a million, turn out to be a mistake? It’s sort of a side A/side B project. Heaven and hell, so to speak.
How did “I Could Be Dreaming” come about? What is the story/concept of the album?
This album actually started as an EP called, “When I Close My Eyes.” It was a compilation of love songs about my relationship. When I close my eyes, I’m in bliss. I can dream and be whoever that I desire. And, the love was so amazing that I felt that way all the time. I had what people have when they close their eyes and dream. It was due for release back in April of 2021. The engineer that I worked with just dropped out midway through. I kept trying to finish it. I kept praying about it. I remember saying, “God, if it’s not the right time, give me a sign, and I won’t release it.” Well, the timing wasn't right. Come to find out, my ex was cheating on me. So, if I went through with it, I would’ve looked like a fool. Essentially, my story wasn't done being written, so I made it a full album called, “I Could Be Dreaming.” This is a 100% authentic story that will walk you through from the day I fell in love, to the day I caught him cheating, and to the stages of grief that I experienced as a result. Every range of emotions is covered. It’s so raw and intimate.
Is there a specific song on “I Could Be Dreaming” that speaks to you most? If so, what’s it called, and what’s it about?
This is the hardest question to answer because I cover so many emotions in this album that all serve unique purposes. If I had to choose right now, it would probably be “Ceilings.” I wrote this song as a songwriting exercise to express my anger. My ex hurt me so bad, and I never got to express it. I never got the last word. I never got to be petty and try to hurt him back. “Ceilings” is about a woman who has been hurt so bad for years and she just…snaps. She literally goes insane, and she burns the house down with him in it. The lyric that I kept hearing when writing this song was “the ceiling’s gonna fall tonight.” She turns herself in with absolutely no remorse. I got to live vicariously through her.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “I Could Be Dreaming?”
I hope that people understand that love is real, and it still exists. Love is so amazing. Love is why life is worth living. But, it comes with a risk. We don’t always get our fairytale, and that’s okay. Bad things happen to good people. You don’t have to be ashamed about that when your intentions are pure. It was necessary to your journey. You’ll heal, and you’ll thrive. I know people who have experienced my situation almost exactly, and I did this for them - for them to heal, for them to know that they’re not alone. I’ll be their therapy.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
I don’t give myself enough credit, so I’m glad to share. My proudest moment, as of 2022, is completing this album. I put so much of myself into this. Creating an album (while actively living your lyrics) is extremely difficult, but I chose to see it through. An extension of why this album makes me proud is the fact that I graduated from music school. I was a college dropout back in 2016 because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t go to school for music because it was frowned upon. Fast forward, I went back, but for music, and I graduated with multiple degrees and certificates in music. I worked on most of my album while there with rigorous training and private lessons.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
The greatest lesson that I’ve learned so far is to stand strong on your beliefs and who you are. I wasted a few years because I decided to try and fit someone else’s mold. I didn’t know that I had power. I just gave in because it was easier. Luckily, it’s becoming easier and easier to do whatever you want in regards to social media. But, outside of that, you can still be who you desire to be. We don’t care to sit at big tables anymore. Those tables are outdated. We are the table. We make new ones.
Another big lesson that I learned is to believe in yourself. I have been blessed in my life. But, the transformation that I’ve witnessed once I actually started loving myself properly is almost terrifying. Once I realized that I had power, I learned how to use it. Now, I feel unstoppable. No one will ever ignite that fire that lives in you. You have to do it.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects or videos that we should be on the lookout for?
There will be more visuals coming this summer for songs on the album. “P.A.N.” is the next video you can expect. We are also actively working on show dates in a few cities such as Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston starting in July 2022. You might catch us in a city near you!
Where can we follow you on social media?
I am on ALL platforms @LoveKeyyz, but my most active accounts are Instagram and TikTok.
Before you go, please tell us a random fact about you that most people don’t know.
As much as I love music, I prioritized education. I won a spelling bee as a kid and went on to nationals. I also attended the number #1 high school in my state. I love school.
Thank you for the great interview; wish you much continued success!