Get Familiar: Keyrah
Known for her dynamic exploration of genres, Keyrah is a versatile curator who effortlessly navigates through a myriad of musical styles. Her ability to seamlessly blend diverse sounds makes her a sought-after presence in both club settings and radio shows worldwide. Keyrah's approach goes beyond the conventional, steering away from obvious choices while consistently satisfying diverse crowds with ease and freshness.
Her musical palette draws inspiration from a childhood immersed in the eclectic sounds played by her parents and a background in music performance. Today, Keyrah's sets traverse the realms of Future Sounds, Electronica, House, R&B, Rap, Soul, Indie, Jazz, and more. This diverse range is evident in her monthly residency with Rinse FM, where she serves as an all-in-one sound collective, lacking any limiting lens or predefined criteria for selection—an unspoken yet discernible quality that sets her apart in the world of DJs.
Having relocated in 2019 from Birmingham, Keyrah has rapidly gained favor in London's competitive music scene. With each performance, she effortlessly captivates audiences, whether at renowned venues like KOKO, Fabric, and XOYO, or through guest mixes for BBC 1Xtra, Soulection, and NTS Radio. Her pitch-perfect sets have warmed up crowds for artists like Jorja Smith and Mansur Brown, while her turntable skills have been showcased at events for notable brands such as Pioneer, Nike, Stussy, Hypebeast, Selfridges, and LN-CC. Keyrah's rise is marked by genuine talent and dedication, devoid of gimmicks, making her a standout figure in the evolving landscape of music curation.
Your musical repertoire spans across various genres, from Future Sounds to Electronica, House, R&B, Rap, Soul, Indie, and Jazz. How do you navigate seamlessly between such diverse genres, and what draws you to this pick-and-mix approach in your sets?
In all honesty, my sets are just a reflection of me as a music lover. I wouldn’t ever want to confine myself to playing a specific genre/ sound because I think I’d get bored. I base everything on BPM and let my ears figure out the rest. No matter how diverse the selection may be I always try my best to translate it in a way that’s easily digestible for the listener.
Your monthly residency with Rinse FM showcases your ability to curate a wide range of music. Can you walk us through your process of selecting tracks for a set and how you keep your playlists fresh and exciting for your audience?
I’m always listening to music, day in and day out and I tend to build out my playlist for the next show bit by bit as I’m digging. Misc; (short for miscellaneous) allows me to play a wide variety of music, meaning sonically I don’t have any boundaries on how the show should sound. It’s fun to be able to play a wide variety of music because you never know who’s listening.
You've played at prominent venues like KOKO, Fabric, and XOYO. How do you adapt your sets to different venues, and what role does the venue itself play in shaping your performance?
I think the venue itself can have a massive impact on your performance. KOKO is a theatre, so when you’re on stage it feels very personal between you and the crowd, and sometimes that can have a direct impact on your set because you get to gauge crowd reactions in real time. The booth in Fabric (room 1) on the other hand is enclosed/caged off from the crowd, which I think can be helpful if you’re nervous. I’ve played some of my favourite sets in there because it feels like I’m just playing for myself in the studio or my bedroom.
Hosting guest mixes for BBC 1Xtra, Soulection, and NTS Radio is a testament to your versatility. How do you approach creating a guest mix, and what do you hope listeners take away from these curated sessions?
Radio and guest mixes provide an opportunity to play to completely new audiences and (sometimes) explore new sounds. I get a feel for what the show is about and what the listeners are used to and then I attempt to put my spin on it and hope for the best haha. No, but in all honesty, I take a lot of time curating my mixes, every song and transition has a thought process behind it and helps to build out the journey/ mood for the mix. I can only hope that the listeners have open ears and are receptive to what I’ve curated!
You've been involved with various brands like Pioneer, Nike, Stussy, Hypebeast, Selfridges, and LN-CC. How do you balance your artistic integrity with the expectations and branding of these collaborations?
This is a conversation I have with myself quite often - I think as long as you have a strong sense of identity, these collaborations will come organically and you’ll be able to tell which opportunities feel aligned and which feel slightly forced. I would say, never put your integrity on the line for the sake of a cheque lol.
Can you share your experience of performing at the Boiler Room in Amsterdam? How did the atmosphere and setting contribute to your performance, and what did it mean to you to make your debut on such a renowned platform?
This Boiler Room will be my first time playing in Amsterdam so I’m excited and a little nervous. There are so many great DJs and producers from here though and the crowds seem super receptive, so I feel like I’m in safe hands!
In addition to playing for live audiences, you've warmed up crowds for artists like Jorja Smith and Mansur Brown. How does your approach differ when opening for established artists compared to headlining your own set?
It’s always fun opening for artists because I get to dive into pockets that I wouldn’t usually play in a standard club setting. I think it’s super important to take the artist and their fans into consideration, as you’re setting the tone for the show. I always try and put myself in the listeners' shoes and think “What would I wanna hear right now”.