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BKAYE Interview: How The Producer Developed An Ear For Melody

The DJ and producer Brian Kelley aka BKAYE grew up in the San Francisco suburbs and has become a household name in the dance music community in just a short period of time. BKAYE is most notable for his remix of Major Lazer's “Be Together” and Ed Sheeran's “Shape Of You.”

With official remixes for The Chainsmokers, Post Malone, and Bebe Rexha, BKAYE is one of the producers we're looking to for creating something new and exciting for dance music in 2018.

You did great on your Spotify numbers for 2017 and I'm sure you'll continue to grow this next year. For our readers, how do you pronounce BKAYE?
BKAYE is pronounced bee-kay, or just saying the letters B and K. Those are my initials and BK has been my nickname since middle school. I just added the A-Y-E at the end for branding purposes.

How did your remix of Major Lazer become the defining song of your career so far? How did they hear it as well as the Ed Sheeran remix?
I produced that remix about two years ago on FL Studio. I remember I got the vocal as part of a remix competition. I made the whole beat really quickly, all my ideas just kind of flowed together nicely. The chords, the melody, the extra guitar melody, and the vocal chops all just fit together better than I expected and I think the result was a super vibey and unique remix. It didn't win the competition but it won the battle for exposure. I remember looking at my Soundcloud notifications one morning and seeing Diplo had followed me. It was an amazing feeling and I knew he must have followed me to download the track. Sooner or later my friends were sending me video clips of Major Lazer playing the song out at huge festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, etc. It really came full circle when I met Diplo in Las Vegas and he thanked me for the remix, that was really surreal.

With the Ed Sheeran remix, it was all about timing and I just got really lucky. The day the track came out I felt super inspired to make a bootleg of it and again the ideas came so quickly. I didn't know it was going to blow up as big as it did on Trap Nation's Youtube channel (80M views), nor did I know Shape of You was going to become the biggest track of Ed Sheeran's career, but I knew as soon as I finished making it I couldn't stop listening to it.

What was life like growing up in San Francisco for your music career? Was there a good scene to learn music there?
I wasn't too involved in the SF music scene but I always took music lessons as a kid and throughout high school. I played the piano and guitar when I was little, and then I picked up the trumpet and played in jazz bands for twelve years. I didn't love it at the time but I really appreciate the fact that I did it now because I think those were the years when I was unknowingly developing an ear for melody.

Tell us about what's to come in 2018 and what you're looking forward to.
2018 is going to be an amazing year. I'm going to continue to release remixes that I'm super proud of – quality over quantity, but most importantly I'm going to be releasing original music this year that I can't wait to share. I also plan on doing a lot more shows and I'm super excited to meet more of my fans!

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