State of the Arts: eMeX Releases "Kelsey"
Interview By Jaylin Paschal
Baltimore native Matt Walker, better known musically as eMeX (M-X), offers insight on Kelsey. The twenty-four year old artist explores love and vulnerability juxtaposed against the quest for fame, and all of its consequences.
CL: Tell us about your journey in music. When and where did it all start?
eMeX: For me it started with the passing of my grandmother, really. 2006, if I remember correctly. She was someone close to my heart so I wanted to do something for her eulogy and basically thought to do a poem. I remember being so shy at that point though, that, even though I wrote it all, I had to have my older cousin read half of it with me to push me through it. Basically, it received so much love that it was just a great feeling that I couldn’t let go of. It hadn’t transformed from poetry to music just yet, and I didn’t start taking it seriously right away, but here we are years later.
What is your creative process like? Where do you get your inspiration?
Music has always been a form of escape for me. Expression and release are key when I think about art, so it’s often just real life shit that inspires me. Everything you hear is gonna be my life in a scope or at least my perspective. My thoughts, my experiences, my emotion. My creative process varies. Often times I’ll have something I wanna talk about then somehow I’ll either stumble upon the beat or I have my go-to producers to hit up. My lead producer, Komari, is typically involved in the process and that always turns out crazy- whether it be from scratch, something one of us already has going, whatever- we just have crazy work energy on collabs.
What is the significance of the name Kelsey? What does this project mean for you personally?
So the name ‘Kelsey’ is inspired by the name of my ex and (crazily) the name of two of my best homies' former love interests also. We were all messing with our Kelsey(s) around the same time. Same energies, frustrations, and situations. Just kinda crazy how life works, so honestly, when the name was proposed… I was kinda like, “...f*ck it… Let’s run with it.” But Kelsey is meant to represent everybody’s dream girl; everybody’s relationship and all the good and bad that comes with it, you know? Throughout the album you hear all the ups and downs that come with having love for someone and how it drains you, especially mentally. Kelsey is also meant to symbolize the parallel/metaphor of chasing stardom and the ills that come with being a rising star. It all looks so appealing until you get it - then you really see what you’ve gotten yourself into. The project, to me, is me literally detailing my personal relationship but also giving you everything going on within my mind around the same time, embodying this rising star lifestyle. This was me leaving it all on the table. This is what happened, what went down, and how we got here. Only thing that’s not to be taken literal was "Strobe Lights" portraying shorty as a stripper. That metaphor is just thinking like “everybody wants her, she looks amazing, but she could very well be poisonous.” It’s funny, in the next song, “Say You Won’t,” I reveal her being an actress- and that’s the truth.
What is your favorite track on Kelsey? (My personal favorite is Woman… I love Sade + the storytelling element.)
Ha, yeah I have a lot of love for “Woman.” That track is one that I knew exactly what I wanted, from the sample, to what I wanted to say, down to how I wanted it to sound. So it made it easy for us to make that record. Komari and I co-produced it and, then I wrote the song in about 15 minutes. I think my favorite track would have to be “95 (So Slow)” for the simple fact that it’s one of those real stories from my life that I was able to have translate well into music. The car accident really happened, I was really drunk, I was dealing with other women at the time due to my relationship being in shambles, everything. I have a habit of "escaping" my thoughts by driving out, no destination type shit, just going. And a lot of times, honestly, liquor is involved. So that track just spoke different volumes to me. My car was totaled by the end of that situation so I felt like God was tryna tell me something. I wanted to tell that story and Uno Hype’s beat was perfect for it (then some added on piano dramatics from Komari). It turned out great for me.
What, if anything, would you change about Kelsey in hindsight?
There was definitely a song that I left off because I just wanted to condense the album amongst other things. I think in hindsight I would’ve put that on, just to paint the picture better. Who knows though, you might hear it soon anyway. Other than that, I think I’d drive myself crazy trying to make it perfect to the point where I felt like it was finally ready. So eventually, I just had to be like… “Okay, let’s just drop it.” So I don’t even wanna think about change anymore.
Has the reception/response to the album been what you expected?
Definitely, it’s been all that and more. I wanted to give everyone at least one song that they could appreciate from the album. I think I succeeded with that. I covered a wide spectrum of sounds just to flex my versatility for one and then, that’s just some "me" shit anyway. I feel like I’m a constant agent of change; reinventing- in sound, in flows, whatever. I wanna be an artist. Not one dimensional and I think people get that. It made the responses multi-dimensional too.
What are you future plans with marketing, performing, etc.? Any projects we can look forward to?
I’m looking forward to doing everything that I can to spread the word, really. I feel like, as long as I get people to listen, I’ll get people to remain fans so to speak. I like to let the music talk and I hardly ever promote my own shit. I need to get better with that, because the people I’m around push that agenda more than I do, but it’s all love. I have some people in higher places looking to get behind the movement, so everything helps. All-in-all interviews, performances, collaborations, all that... I’m with it and ‘bout it. Looking forward to it and what the future holds, for sure. As far as future projects go, I’m just gonna say we’re just getting started over here. Stay tuned and I’ll make sure those listening get what they wanna hear.
Special acknowledgements from the artist to Jordan Bailey, Komari Bailey, Manny Mozart, Russell Schiller, Cyrene Lovette, Saneit Monae, and Rolanda Taylor. "We all collaborated in some way on “Kelsey” and they deserve all the praise I can give ‘em," eMeX stated.