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Event Recap: Who is Khemist? - A First Look at Puzzle Pieces

This past Friday, July 29th 2011, iSocialite had the special privilege of being present at local poet/hip hop artist 'Khemist' listening party for his debut album, 'Puzzle Pieces', slated to be released August 30th, 2011. All tracks on the album, with the exception of one, were produced by Dilemma (of Hello World Music) who was also present at the intimate event which took place at the legendary Sigma Sounds Studio

I jumped right into my interview and I must say I was excited. I had never heard of Khemist before receiving my invitation so I was eager to listen to his music and get to know more about him as a person and artist. Our interview seemed to flow, I asked him questions about any and everything that came to mind. First and most importantly we discussed his name. He told me about his original name 'Skeeta Blank' and even directed me to his old Youtube page under that name. He recited an old rhyme and his poetry skills were evident the way he fused two unrelated subjects together to make a solid verse. He began writing poetry at the age of 12 as an extra credit assignment and from there he says he was hooked. At the age of 14, after hearing Nas' "You Gave Me Power," he began to appreciate the creativity in music as well as the flexibility of the usage of words. We talked about how he listened to "You Gave Me Power" repeatedly before he actually understood the true meaning. From that point on he decided to dig deeper inside himself and transfer his poetry to raps. He decided to change his name and I honestly believe Khemist was the best selection. He spoke about using various emotions and thoughts and binding them together somewhat like a science experiment. Since he is the one in control of his creativity, or the experiment, it is only right that he be called the 'chemist'. When I asked what made him decide to spell Khemist with a K he responded, with a straight face, "I wanted to disrespect the alphabet..." and took a sip of his drink. As a writer I am always interested in learning people's backgrounds. The steps they took to get to where they are and the people who helped them along the way. Their inspirations, aspirations and everything in between. Khemist and I discussed all that and then some. With so many aspiring artists out here, I sometimes need an extra push before I listen to certain music. During the listening party, Dilemma shared with us details of how Khemist, a freshman at Hampton University at the time, took a bus seven hours every weekend and stood outside Sigma Sounds in an effort to work with the talented producer. "I had to pay attention to that," Dilemma said. I agree. That hunger and drive is evident in this young artist and with a name like Khemist you have to know his music will speak for itself. 

"The title puzzle pieces came from the journey of me trying to figure out who I am as a person and as an artist...we still puttin pieces to the puzzle."

As the listening party kicked off, I must admit I was impressed. I never doubted Khemist's talent, however, I was simply unsure of exactly how talented he was. Does that make sense? Regardless as to how hesitant I was to become a fan, all that changed quickly. To start things off Khemist played a short video featuring various studio sessions, concert footage, and audience feedback of performances. Kudos to his PR team, Promo EST, because, considering my background as a Marketing consultant, I believe the 'trailer' was a great touch. It displayed his talents as an artist but most importantly his personality and the genuine loyalty of his fans. These are extremely important factors surrounding the branding and promotion of any artist!

Puzzle Pieces features collaborations with various artists such as Tyler James, Chill Moody, and Selina Carrera to name a few. There were upbeat feel good songs, lots of tracks for the ladies, and a couple personal tracks. Khemist stated that Puzzle Pieces is his 'heart' and after listening to some of the tracks I can see why. His goal with this project, aside from making great music, was to show people how he's grown as an artist. Even without hearing his old music his growth is evident through the stories he tells and his personality is clear in his performance. 'Puzzle Pieces' features an upbeat track called Pre-Gaming dedicated to just that; getting the party started. When the beat came through the speakers, a classic down south tune, I almost stood up and danced. He played two other tracks for us, "Unspoken Word" and "Change Today" both personal reflections and motivational tracks. He has an upbeat track entitled, "Rock the Blue and White" which is dedicated to his school pride. Some of his schoolmates were in the audience and already planning to play the track in the student center when school resumes. The acoustics on "I Just Wanna Love You Girl" were amazing. Its always good to hear live instruments.
I wish I could give more details but I don't want to give the album away. All in all the party was a success and the album appears to be a hit. Khemist is a very talented individual and I wish him much success. Cant wait until the album drops so you guys can hear it for yourselves! 
Get a sneak listen at www.khemist.bandcamp.com
---Nola Darling
Check out the website at www.LocalKhemistry.com 
follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/LocalKhemistry
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