Popping Up: Speakers
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey—Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
With the Hot 100 a total dance party nowadays (Adele notwithstanding), there’s more than enough room for new acts commanding you to shake to the beat. Enter new dance/hip-hop duo of speakers, made up of Keon B and Blair Taylor, both only 21 and already making some noise with their thumping single “Bass”. Their debut album is due to drop sometime next year, but we’ve got you covered on everything you need to know about this sizzling new pair. Put your ear to these speakers in our latest Popping Up:
SOUNDS LIKE: Dev, LMFAO, Black Eyed Peas — party music that mixes together rhythmic pop, urban, and electro.
WHO DOES WHAT: Keon handles the vocals and lyrics, while Blair — one of the best producers to come out of New Orleans — acts as the musician/producer of the pair.
HOW THEY GOT THEIR NAME: “You can’t hear music without speakers,” says Keon. Adds Blair, “And you need two, a left and a right. We are not one without the other.”
CURRENT SINGLE: The club track “Bass”, which comes with a creepy/humorous video filled with skeletons who can’t stop partying.
FILMING “BASS”: “Making ‘Bass’ was a lot of fun, man,” Blair says of their first video shoot. “Being my first video shoot I couldn’t ask for more. Carlos Lopez Estrada and his teams are very creative and did an amazing job with the video.” Keon adds, “It felt like a house party gone wild.”
HOW THEY GOT TOGETHER: Keon first approached Blair, who was one of the most sought-after producers in New Orleans at the time. “I called and texted Blair for a while year after hearing this CD, and he never responded. I’m still mad about it,” Keon jokes.
Blair, who mostly focused on producing rap and R&B, had received Keon’s messages, but was too busy to respond. Finally, after a year, Keon met with him, and a partnership formed as both were interested in trying their hand at pop music. “Keon was trying to do pop music and I was ready to branch out into other genres,” says Blair.
THEIR FIRST BIG BREAK: “I came out to LA to have some meetings that went very bad,” Keon tells us. “I was down and out and went to eat at Roscoe’s [Chicken And Waffles] when I overheard someone talking about a rapper I knew about on Interscope. I approached him and gave him a mixtape, and through him that’s how we met Matt [Michelsen] and Troy [Carter of Atom Factory].”
“We met Alex Luke who signed us to Capital,” Blair continues. “We met him through Matt Michelson… and I feel we owe both of them the credit for getting us to we’re we are now.”
TRAGEDY STRIKES: Blair, who’s a native of New Orleans, lost his house in Hurricane Katrina. “We had evacuated and were staying about an hour away,” he says. “I remember seeing our local Walgreens on the news that had water up to the roof and saying to my mom, ‘If that water is up to the top, our house is gone.” He spent six months in Texas before returning to New Orleans, but doesn’t like to complain about losing his home, since he knows many others lost much more than a house in the tragedy.
MUSICAL BACKGROUND: Blair’s father is a jazz pianist/producer, so music came naturally to him. He learned the drums at age 11, and began to explore production in 9th grade while attending a creative arts school. As for Keon, all his family members were church singers, so he grew up surrounded by people singing and performing constantly.
WHEN YOU CAN PICK UP THE ALBUM: Sometime in 2012, on Virgin Records, in conjunction with Newco.
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