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Behind The Name: Knb

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Name: Kalei Barksdale

Age: 20

Location: Bay Area, California, US

How did you get started making music, and how long have you been doing it?

I got exposed to FL Studio by my brother's dad when I was 7, and I always was attached or stuck to it ever since - that's how I realized that I wanted to do something with music when I got older. I was able to get my hands on my own version on FL when I was 13 and haven't looked back. So I think that puts me at like 12-13 years or so making beats.

What equipment/software do you use to make beats?

The headphones I use now are Audio Technica ATH-m50x, and I still use FL Studios. That's really it, the same laptop I make my music on is the same one I use to type essays for my class

What would you say is distinctive about your production?

Samples are a huge one and probably the main thing or reason why people like my beats so much. I sometimes sample dig for hours before I find the right one, but once I get the chops down and lay some drums it's over with. I also don't just stick with one style when I sample; a lot of my beats are faster paced but it definitely varies, but another thing is that I love love love basslines and 808s. My beats are always mixed very well so it can knock on speakers or in your headphones, because I absolutely love the low ends and effect that basses give. If you know you know - the car test is the real test to see if your beats are legit.

When it comes to making things original though, I'm not sure what it is that makes my sound special or unique - I can say that I really enjoy chords and drawing them out, and I absolutely love pianos as well. I feel that I don't tend to make the most aggressive melodies or beats, so that might be another thing that sticks out. But for the most part I like combining my chords with synths to compliment it, and as usual my drum game is pretty on-point, so there's that.

What's next for you - what will you be up to in the coming months?

More beats for sure, I think I wanna advance a little more though and get out my comfort zone. primary goals are to hit 4,000 subscribers on Youtube and hit a million views, which doesn't seem too far away from now. I also wanna start some type of exclusive club for about 10-15 of my most loyal subscribers & customers, to where they can see or listen to unreleased beats or songs, that sort of thing. But I'm so used to doing things just on my computer at home and I've never gone into a studio and made something, so that's something that's definitely on my to-do list. I think I wanna be a little more out-there on my beats and participate in a show-case or a beat battle with another producer on Instagram or another platform, maybe even in-person. But I do have a little something planned with another rapper in my city, so hopefully that can help put myself on the map and become a little more well-known locally. That's all I've ever wanted really is for people to wanna hear my beats and enjoy them to the fullest.

What do you like to do for fun outside of music?

I'm suuuuuper family-oriented, so I love spending quality-time with my loved ones and family whenever I get the chance. I'm also a huge sports fan (especially basketball - DubNation!) so I'm always up for athletics, outside games, sport events, etc whether I'm in it or watching from my TV or in the bleachers. That's also what I'm going to school for - I'm a Kinesiology major (study of body movement, think health science/sports med) to become an athletic trainer and eventually a PT. Education is definitely a priority for me and I've always been a student before anything, so this whole time that I've been posting beats and all, I'm excelling in school. Good grades are important to me.

What are some of your musical influences, or people you look up to in the industry?

Timbaland is definitely number one for me, just because he knows how to genre-bend and dabbling in everything while still being true to himself and his style. He's got hits from the 90s to the 2000s and if you ask me, he can absolutely make some more Billboard songs if he put his foot forward to it. But he's spending his time uplifting and working with internet/Youtube producers through his Twitch, and I can't help but think that's even cooler than wanting to just make music for yourself and rappers all the time. Metro Boomin, Reuel Beats, Pharrell/The Neptunes, Wondagurl, Michigan Meech, Pierre Bourne are all my other influences I'd say from the last couple of years or so that's really been a role model for me as a producer. That's just off the top of my head, but I love how much all these names have done for hip hop in one way or another.

Knb's RapPad: KNB

Knb's YouTube: KNB Productions

Knb's SoundCloud: KNB


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