It all started with Mama.
I remember saying to my mama in the fourth grade, "Mama, I wanna play the drums." She replied, "Boy, I don't want you making all that noise in my house." So then, I said, "Sooooo can I play the saxophone?" She shot that down too saying, "I don't want you falling out on stage from losing your breath. Why don't you play the violin???"
Begrudgingly, I said "Ok ok ok.....I'll do that!" And ever since then, the rest is history. It was because of her that I found my identity in music. I began producing when I was in middle school with a program me and my brother, Dorrell, had. Later, I got introduced to FL Studio and taught myself how to play piano. Since then, I've trained in violin under the instruction of Brandon Christensen at Southeast Missouri State University and even performed in the Symphonic Orchestra. Through school and post-graduation, I released my first album in 2013 called Con(temporary) and have performed across St. Louis alongside many artists. I even play violin in my praise and worship team at my church!
So who am I, for real, for real?
Simply said, I'm Mad Keys, a St. Louis-based beat maker, synthist, and violinist. I've created a genre that blends elements of electronic music, jazz, soul, and, of course, hip-hop. I love the sounds of Robert Glasper, Thundercat, Esta, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans Trio, Hiatus Kaiyote, D'Angelo, Dilla, Common, Kierra Sheard, mannnn I can go on for years. Through my music, I strive to represent God the best way I know how; by sharing my gifts and testifying not only what His word says, but sharing my story with others.
I aspire to work with brands, movie directors, art and creative directors, videographers, and creatives to curate music for their projects. One day, I hope to become so saturated and knowledgeable in my craft that I can teach it to the youth.
Honestly, God may take me in a whole different direction than this. It may be something bigger than this. I'm not really sure about what direction I'm currently heading toward now, but all I know is that I want to follow Him, and let Him drive. During that, I'll continue to perfect my crafts.
It was God who blessed me with the ability to create and share my knowledge with others. I thank Him everyday for His blessings, for sending His son Christ to die for my salvation, and for allowing me the opportunity to create at my maximum capacity.
It was the push that I received from my dad, mama, my sister Amber, and my brother Dorrell to keep going, and not to give up on it.
It was Chelsea Anderson who is more than my lady. She is my muse, my best friend, she's what inspires me, she's what encourages me to not only create at my maximum capacity, but is my prime support. I'm truly her biggest fan. She keeps me lifted.
It was the inspiration of my good friend and brother Mario Miles-Turnage who inspired me to pursue my potential as a violinist. Not to mention, he gave me the name "Mad Keys." He's truly been there with me from the beginning and through our ups and downs, I can't help but love my brother.
It was the semi-daily conversations that I had with my cousin (cousin of a cousin of another cousin etc. lol) De'Santis Cross that kept me motivated and on-track. His energy and drive to create great work, and live off his passion is relentless. That is rubbing off on me greatly because that is exactly what I strive for.
Then, it was friends like Krystan and her husband (and my bro) Sterling Lloyd that helped me stay encouraged in the Word and have been truly been amazing friends. It was all of the times we've hung out and the good days back at SEMO. These two inspire me in so many ways and I simply cherish the mess outta our friendship; even if we in 2 different time zones.
It was Eric Brown and Orlando Vaughn who pushed me to be the best producer I could possibly be. It was our sessions together, their raw creativity, and constant learning about the science of mixing that I'm still figuring out. These two men are amazing at what they do and I'm truly grateful to have them in my corner. Love you brothers.
Then it was my brother Michael Helm that encouraged me in every realm of my creativity and entrepreneurship to not only strive for greatness, but to be great with what the Lord has blessed me with. I've learned so much from our friendship. You've challenged me to become more reliant on my faith in God, and maintain a strong and growing relationship with Him. Rest well brother. I miss you. Can't wait to see you again.
Then finally, it was a conversation that I had with a good friend of mine Adrian Walkerback in about 2013. I really looked up to him and greatly admired his work. I really wanted to pursue the things similar to what he did, but then, he encouraged me to understand what's important, what my goals are, and helped me realize my potential. I didn't get it back then because I was still figuring it all out, but I think back to that conversation all the time and it was one of those convos that has helped me gain clarity in the impact that I want to leave in the world.
If anything above resonated with you, or if you've vibe with my music, click below and let's have coffee, chat, collaborate, and just learn and build with each other. I want to support those who are doing great work and those who are still trying to figure it out.
Lord willing, I will continue my journey, and strive for innovation in every way I can.