Despite the insane year he’s had, Luh Kel is soft-spoken and calm. At just 18-years-old, he somehow doesn’t seem overwhelmed by the fact that he’s an R&B superstar.
In less than a year, the St. Louis R&B crooner has gone gold twice, platinum once, and is on the verge of going gold again by the end of 2020. He has already worked alongside Trippie Redd, PNB Rock, Lil Tjay, and Queen Naija. “Really I was about to give up on music,” the singer said. “I tried everything. I was in a music group, I did everything and it just wasn’t working out. So at that point, I was just ready to be in high school and be regular.”
He started experimenting with Instagram videos in jest, but his snippets quickly gained traction. “I really just started doing it for fun, but then it started going crazy.” He released his debut single “Wrong” last April, and it immediately cracked the Billboard Hot R&B / Hip-Hop Songs chart. Kel had become an overnight sensation, and his traction since hasn’t let up in the slightest. “I still had that music in me, so I was still writing songs, but I just wanted some for my friends to see, but really it just attracted the world.”
You’re still so young, and you blew up so quickly, do you feel like you’re ever missing out on the high school stuff?
I’ve kinda adapted. It’s really not as crazy as it might seem. I stuck with the same people I was already around. I still do fun things, but it just causes a bigger impact with the things I do. My mom really wanted me to be a regular kid honestly, but when stuff started taking off, she had to adapt to what I had going on.
What does she think about all of it now?
I mean, the same. She supporting the music honestly, but I’m 18 now so I’m kinda doing everything. I just bought me a new house this year. I’m just adapting to becoming older.
How do you not get overwhelmed by all of it?
My first song ever went platinum, so when I first started to see all the love I was getting from that, I definitely was overwhelmed. But honestly, I’m just keeping my head above water, and looking forward to achieving more. Those goals keep me more humble because I want more for myself. It keeps me level-headed.
How do you maintain that level-head when recording your debut album? Your singles have each garnered millions of streams and gone gold, do you feel any pressure for the album to perform as well as your singles did? How do you stay focused on just the music?
I mean, I definitely want my album to go crazy, but i’m just keeping it about the music. I been singing since I was a little kid, listening to Chris Brown and Michael Jackson and people like that. So I’m just keeping it bout the music.
Why do you think you’ve gotten so big so quickly? What do you think people connect with in your music?
I sing about love, you feel me? Everybody loves, you know what I’m saying? That’s a well-known theme.
So then what does love mean to you? Your debut album is called L.O.V.E. What does that abbreviation mean?
It stands for “love out values everything” and “loss of valuable emotion.” I think of different stuff every day for it. It means a bunch of things you feel me? I’m just trying to find out what love means to me.
What can fans expect from your album?
I’m changing it all the way up. It’s more so bigger records. Before I was trying to find my sound, but now that I found it, it’s all about just bigger records and more about me. I just go in the booth and freestyle about how I’m feeling. Really the whole album is me just going in the booth.
How do you not get caught up in the drama and keep it about love?
I don’t pay attention to anything negative, I just keep my head straight. I focus on my music, and not worry about everybody else.
Have you figured out what love means to you?
Honestly, everybody needs it. Especially the world right now. It means a lot to me because of the city that I come from. I come from St. Louis, there’s not a lot of love in that city. People don’t wanna see people win where I’m from. There’s a bunch of killing and drama, so I feel like if everybody gets love and spreads love everybody will be happy and good.
L.O.V.E. is set for release on October 23rd
Luh Kel – “All in You” (Official Music Video)