Indian Queens-born and Long Island-raised artist Kahme’s EP In My Favor is out now. Stream it here. Daily Chiefers caught up with Kahme in New York.
What’s your earliest memory of music?
My mom used to get Bollywood tapes from the store and listen to that driving around.
How musical is your family?
My mom’s dad and uncle were trained classically. Both of her sisters are music teachers. My mom had a Master’s degree in sitar. I never really got to see her go practice that up front or anything but whenever I went back to India or New Delhi where she’s from, her dad had a music school so I always got to see that happen and hear that.
While they were classically trained, is it fair to say you’re the first to do music in another genre like the ones you work in?
Absolutely fair to say. The funny thing is, bro, I didn’t understand the value of it. I respected it and I appreciated it but it was nothing that I wanted to get into. My mom tried to teach me how to play the harmonium and the tabla. My focus wasn’t 100 percent there. I know one beat for tabla. Even being surrounded by my mom’s family that was so musically inclined, it was something I never took interest in until I really went into music myself.
Do you remember the first song you recorded?
A hundred percent. It was so trash. It was so bad. I thought I did something. I thought I was spitting the craziest shit. In hindsight, it was so bad that it was embarrassing.
What inspired you to start making your own music?
In middle and high school, there was this Asian kid who was always dropping music. I thought I could definitely do that and definitely do better than that. I was lowkey into poetry. In elementary school, one of my poems got published in a book. I always did poems here and there in school. To me, that’s cool. I watched a lot of Def Jam poetry. I used to watch so much of that on YouTube and stuff. Seeing that one kid, that one friend who I still talk to now, inspired me. It was just something I tried. I was enamored. I loved rap music. I loved that me against the world mentality. I think it was because of that whole outcast feel when you’re younger of me against the world.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Herricks High School. It’s in New Hyde Park. It’s a pretty dope high school. It’s in Long Island, but it’s more near Queens. I grew up on Long Island.
What’s the origin behind Kahme?
That is self-proclaimed. I’ve always been inspired by Japanese culture whether it’s the food, the anime mainly, the technology, or fashion, they’re just so cool to me. I used to watch a lot of anime growing up. There’s this anime called Death Note and in the second to last episode, I learned that Kahme in translation from Japanese to English means God. I always believed that we have God in all of us. The ability to create something from nothing is a God-like ability. In an episode, this guy’s screaming Kahme, Kahme. I pictured myself on stage thinking it would be so sick if people were screaming that to me. I really believe that we have this God-like ability in me. I’ve always fucked with John Lennon and how his music had a message behind it and his peaceful aura and what he meant to a certain timeframe. I always thought that was fire.
How old are you?
Was 2017 the time you started releasing music?
I definitely had songs before that but that was when I took it seriously and wanted to make it happen.
What song did you release first on streaming services?
It was Good Water.
Were you recording at home or at the studio?
Early on, at home. I started going to the studio late 2015, early 2016. My friend took me there. I fell in love with that whole environment and vibe. I met some of my closest friends I consider my brothers just going to the studio and making music.
Did you know anyone in the industry at that time?
Nah, bro. Nobody. I was figuring it out by myself. I knew how hard it was for me to understand those little things. I still don’t know anybody in the industry to ask like yo how do I move past this and go here. I think it’s part of the journey.
When you were making Money Dance, did you feel like it was special?
That’s crazy you say that. I was just telling my friend the other day it was special. I remember the hook was infectious. Right when I finished it, I knew I had to make everything was up to par because the first verse was amazing. I knew everything was special. I knew it was a song that made me feel good. It was something I didn’t see anyone else doing when it comes to Afro music. Hearing it complete, seeing the visuals, having the idea, and seeing it as a whole product, it just feels so much more special. I feel like that song will still hit five years from now. I feel like it will hit in any country anywhere.
Are you looking for a deal or staying independent?
Staying independent until I build leverage… unless it makes sense. I know I still have a lot of groundwork. I know once I have that one foot in the door, it’s exponential growth from there. No labels have come to mind so far. I have been offered a deal here and there, like a $25k deal. They wanted such a big part of my music it didn’t make sense to me. I am looking for investors though.
How many tracks is your new EP In My Favor?
I was thinking of making it seven or eight tracks and even making it into an album, but I felt it was right to make it six. There are no skips. You listen to an album today and you have your couple of favorite songs. I thought I could do a project where it’s all just bangers in their own right. You can really see the versatility, the change of moods. It’s really just six songs and people are going to be surprised where I can take it. I’m confident people are going to love it. It’s the perfect time to release. The summer’s here. It’s July. The songs I have on there make total sense for right now.
Tupac or Biggie?
Eminem or 50 Cent?
Jay-Z or Nas?
Rick Ross or Jeezy?
Future or Young Thug?
What’s your favorite food?
Pizza. It just has to be a good pizzeria. Toppings have never been a great concern to me but the pizza has to be quality.