If an indie coming-of-age film met a blockbuster from ’80s Tokyo, that would be the movie that sets the stage for Kennen‘s music. Born in ’99, the young Toronto-based producer, songwriter and singer draws from a wide range of inspirations, from Conan Gray to Daft Punk, creating a unique pop sound – all from the laptop and mic in his bedroom.
Growing up online, he picked up music production from YouTube tutorials at the age of 12. He began uploading originals and remixes as an electronic music producer, going by different names over time as his sound developed (Ken Gao was his artist name around his high school years).
Kennen continues to share music with messages about his life, influenced by his identity as a queer Asian artist. His upcoming debut EP can be expected to embrace themes that many in the new generation can relate to.
Watch the official music video for “City Lights,” taken from the EP (out on July 31), now.
I feel like I’ve watched too many coming-of-age stories. It sucks to feel like you’ve never had any “main character” moments in your own life, unlike what you see in those movies/shows. For a lot of us, in real life, there’s so much pressure for us to do well in work/school and only focus on that, even if we’re still young and we should be allowed to make mistakes. I wrote this to try to capture for myself, what it might feel like to live a life of young and carefree moments. I hope when people listen to “City Lights,” they can feel those moments too.
I wanted to make a chill pop song that makes you wanna hit up your friends and go for a night drive or a 12AM burger run, or go to the beach and stare at the waves and the silhouette of the skyline.