Friday, 13 May 2016

Top 10 Olympics Songs - Road to Rio 2016

Exciting times are ahead with the Rio 2016 Olympics coming up this year in August. It brings back sweet memories for me of the London 2012 Olympics, as that was a significant year for my music career as my song ‘This Is My Dream’ ended up being used as an Olympic Song that year.

Now with the Road to Rio 2016 officially underway, I was recently pleased to discover that ‘This Is My Dream’ has made a countdown of the Top 10 Olympic Songs. I’m really honoured to have my song included in the list. If this countdown doesn’t put you in the mood for the greatest games on earth, I don’t know what will. Here’s to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games! To all the participating countries and athletes, I hope Rio 2016 will be the year for making your Olympic dreams come true…

To get you in the mood, here’s the Top 10 Olympics Songs countdown. Enjoy!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Do it anyway: the only failure is the failure to try

Several years ago I discovered the famous poem by Mother Teresa 'Do It Anyway'. It served to remind me during a period of a lot of frustration and disappointments that all any of us can do in life is be ourselves and try our honest best. You can't ask more of yourself than that. In fact, everything else is out of our control. Here's that poem:


1. The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:

              People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

I was so moved by the poem that I was inspired to write a song on the same topic. It's called 'At Least You Try' and it talks about how the real winning in life is in trying. 

There is a certain courage in trying that is too often overlooked or underestimated. Regardless of the outcome, just to try takes real courage sometimes. Many people remain locked in a prison of fear and never try to do anything with an element of risk for fear of failure. 

So this song is a salute and dedication to anybody out there who is stepping out on courage and trying their best. At least when we try we always learn something... it's never a waste in that respect. Hope you can relate to this song too - it's for you...

"At Least You Try" is available from the following digital download stores:


At Least You Try
(Written & performed by Kashy Keegan)

Dry your eyes
I know it’s hard to understand
All of those things
That are out of your hands
Some things in life
You just can’t control
Gotta know when to let it be
Gotta know when to let go

You see it’s hard to fail
But it’s worse to never try
So do it anyway
And do it with pride

It may not go to plan
It may never seem to go right
It may not mean much
To anyone else
But the one thing that can’t be denied
Is that you gave it your best
And at least you try

I could lie
And tell you life is fair
And that it’s all gonna be alright
Somehow, somewhere
But the truth is 
Hard work doesn’t always pay
And no matter how bad you want something
It doesn’t always come your way

You see it’s hard to fail
But it’s worse to never try
So do it anyway
And do it with pride

It may not go to plan
It may never seem to go right
It may not mean much
To anyone else
But the one thing that can’t be denied
Is that you gave it your best
And at least you try

The strength you’ve shown
The ways you’ve grown
It hasn’t all been in vane
Sometimes in life
The reasons why
Don’t always come straight away

It may not go to plan
It may never seem to go right
It may not mean much
To anyone else
But the one thing that can’t be denied
Is that you gave it your best
And at least you try

Friday, 15 April 2016

A bumpy road to self-acceptance

There are things about life and ourselves that we struggle to accept at times. The journey towards self-acceptance seldom runs smoothly - it can be an ongoing journey and we can battle many insecurities along the way. It’s not made any easier when we have to deal with sudden or major changes. 

Disability didn’t touch my life until my mid-twenties. I was fully able-bodied. But then, in 2009 at the age of 25, I started showing signs of muscle wastage in my lower legs and feet. I noticed my calf muscles started to gradually shrink and the motion in my feet became more limited which made walking more challenging. 

A visit to the doctor, who then referred me to a neurology consultant at my local hospital, confirmed that I had a lesser known disease called Charcot Marie Tooth. It’s a neurological disease which causes progressive muscle wastage in the feet and lower legs. It turns out that it’s hereditary and I had inherited it through my mother’s gene pool, although she was completely unaware that she was a carrier. 

It was a big shock and the disease brought with it a new set of physical limitations that I would spend the next six years or so adjusting to. It’s only now that I have felt ready to accept it as part of who I am.

Dramatic changes in life life can be hard to accept and come to terms with at times, but with an open mind and the right perspective it can be achieved - as I have found. I wrote this song to share my experience in the hope that it might give others facing similar challenges some comfort or hope too.

The song is available for download on the following digital download stores:


Love Me For Me 
(Written & performed by Kashy Keegan)

This world can put you through
Sometimes the pain’s so real
It’s hard to soothe
Walking in my shoes
These days it’s harder to do
But with every step I try to push on through

Can’t hide it, no
Though I’ve tried to deny it
Some days it’s still so hard to feel good about me
But I guess now it’s time
To end this secret war inside
For peace of mind
I must accept it’s part of me

Make me patient
Make me kind
Show compassion
Through the hardest times
Cos this I know
Will be the fight
Of my life

But I’ve got strength where they don’t see
My spirit is a soldier he
Won’t give up no
He’ll never admit defeat
But can the same be said for me?
Can I rise above the insecurities
To find the peace of mind
And acceptance that I need
Can I learn to love me for me

Can’t waste no more time
Who cares what other people think
What matters now is what I think about me
Acceptance I seek
But now I know it has to start with me
Can I accept
My own disability?

Make me patient
Make me kind
Show compassion
Through the hardest times
Cos this I know
Will be the fight
Of my life

But I’ve got strength where they don’t see
My spirit is a soldier he
Won’t give up no
He’ll never admit defeat
But can the same be said for me?
Can I rise above the insecurities
To find the peace of mind
And acceptance that I need
Can I learn to love me for me

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Out of the Rubble: finding the strength to start over

My favourite songs have always been those with a motivational / inspirational message. Those that can provide some form of comfort or help to empower you through life’s difficult times. It was always empowerment songs that resonated with me the most growing up and formed the basis of why I grew to love and appreciate music. True to my word, the next single from my new album Inner Song is a motivational song called ‘Out of the Rubble’. A song I wrote about finding the inner strength to start over again and get back up when it feels like you’re world has crashed. Hence the title of the song being ‘Out of the Rubble’ to represent emerging from the wreckage and finding the strength to start over again.

The experience of loss can be a devastating one. I was fully able bodied until the age of 25. At that age I started noticing muscle wastage in my feet, ankles and lower legs. Unbeknown to me it turns out I had a rare neurological condition called Charcot Marie Tooth. It was back in 2009 that I first started to notice it. Thereafter I developed foot drop and had to adjust my walking.  However, after living with it for six years, I have adjusted to it now and have finally learnt to accept it as a part of who I am. It’s quite a big transition to go from the state of being fully able-bodied to then having a physical disability and having to adjust to new limitations.

Everyone has been, or will go through a hard time at some stage in life. Life has a knack of teaching us about loss. Having that rug pulled from under your feet, so to speak, is seldom a pleasant experience. But the lesson it has taught me is a triumphant one about the resilience of the human spirit. It’s taught me about my own inner strength and has taught me time and time again about how to be my own saviour. Clawing my way through the rubble and finding the strength to pick myself back up again can be an empowering process as well. It’s taught me that I didn’t realise the extent of my own strength and now I’m less fearful of weathering similar storms. I’m less afraid. That’s why I was inspired to write this song. For anyone who has lost it all and found the strength to get back up and keep on keeping on - or for those people who are going through that right now - this song is for you. I hope that you might find it empowering too. It’s called ‘Out of the Rubble.’

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

How An Almost Unknown Songwriter Outsold Lady Gaga And Katy Perry

As a musician, breaking into the industry is no easy feat, and the challenge can often seem insurmountable enough that many eager young artists give up somewhere along the way. This is exactly what had happened to Kashy Keegan, before he unexpectedly became an overnight success.

Guest post by Chris Robson on The DIY Musician

You work hard trying to make your mark in music, but after much frustration with the business side of the industry, you quit.

Then, years later, something happens seemingly out of the blue, halfway around the world, and within 48 hours you’re performing in front of thousands of people in a distant country; you’re catapulted to #1 on the iTunes charts, outselling pop stars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry in the region; and the record deal you’d hoped for long ago is finally within reach.

This is what happened to Kashy Keegan, a songwriter from London who (thanks to the Internet) had an unexpected success when a song he’d written years earlier found its moment during a protest in Hong Kong.

I asked Kashy about the whole experience, how he kept the momentum going, and the power of “the right song at the right time.”

An interview with Kashy Keegan

At the point at which your song “This Is My Dream” got noticed, you’d kind of given up on pursuing your music career, right? Can you talk a little bit about your life in music up until that point, and what led you to stop making music?

Before the song got discovered I had spent the previous 15 years working every kind of odd job you can imagine from cleaning nursing homes to telesales to working in a hospital for five years. This was all to get the money to record demos at a local studio. Songwriting has been an all-consuming passion for me since the age of 12 and I didn’t socialize as a teenager because every free moment was literally spent working on songs. However, I gave myself a deadline that I had until I was 25 to try and get a break. I turned 25 and was still nowhere nearer to achieving my goal.

I didn’t give up writing songs, because songwriting is my true passion, but I did stop knocking on the doors of managers and record labels trying to get a break. I was feeling forlorn and jaded with the music industry. It seemed like it was a closed-shop to outsiders like me. I was so frustrated and worn down and so I decided to turn to the next best thing which was music journalism. With a lot of perseverance I was able to get a job as an online journalist for a radio station and dedicated myself to that for a while. The irony is, that just as I let go and moved in a different direction, that’s when opportunity came knocking on my door.

How did “This is My Dream” get discovered?

I wrote the song back in 2006. I channeled all the obstacles and frustration I had experienced over the years of trying to get a break in the industry. It was a very raw and defiant song about not wanting to give up on my dream of becoming a songwriter. I uploaded the song online to a few social media sites and then it pretty much just sat there for six years and no one really listened to it except for my family and friends.

Then fast forward to 2012, I got an email out of the blue from Universal Music in Hong Kong who had received a request to use my song “This Is My Dream” as a theme song for the launch of a new TV network. They had found the song online and it led them back to me. I signed a publishing contract with Universal and then just over a year later the song ended up reaching number 1 on the Hong Kong iTunes chart and even outsold releases that week from Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It was such an unexpected surprise but a beautiful outcome to all of those years of perseverance and struggle when it felt like no one would give my music a chance.

Once you’d licensed the song, did you start gearing up again to pursue music?

Not at first. The song was put on hold as the TV network was waiting to get a broadcast license from the Hong Kong government. However, everyone was extremely confident that they would get the license in a matter of months. There was already a huge local buzz surrounding the network.
Meanwhile, because I was working in London and on the other side of the world to Hong Kong I just kept my head down and focused on my day job. I’d had so many false-starts and so-called “big” opportunities in the past that never amounted to anything and so I didn’t want to get too excited.

What happened in Hong Kong that kind of threw a wrench in things? What were the protests about?

Fast forward to October 2013, several months after I had signed the publishing contract with Universal; all of a sudden the news broke that the Hong Kong government had given broadcast licenses to two other TV networks but had refused a license to the people’s favorite, a network called HKTV, who were the same network planning to use my song as a theme tune for one of their documentary series.

This license refusal by the government was seen as politically motivated and so it sparked a huge public backlash from the citizens of Hong Kong, which saw all ages and walks of life come together to stage public protests. In fact, tens of thousands of people took to the streets over three weeks of prolonged protests.

I was back in London at the time and completely unaware of the situation in Hong Kong. However, I started receiving all these alerts on YouTube that people were uploading my song. I logged onto YouTube one night after work and saw all the videos people had been uploading showing literally thousands of people in Hong Kong at a protest singing along to my song as it was being played on loud speakers. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What was originally intended to be a theme song for a documentary series had now become the unofficial anthem to these large scale protests.

Can you talk a little bit about the experience of flying over there to perform, and how that changed your life and career?

It all really happened within the space of 48 hours and very much on a whim. I received an email from the TV network in Hong Kong inviting me to come and perform the song live. I had no idea what to expect. However, I went into work the next day and asked my colleagues about whether or not I should go and they all unanimously thought it would be a good idea. I booked my plane ticket that night and flew 13 hours to Hong Kong all by myself. I arrived in Hong Kong, met the crew from the TV network and was driven to the protest area.

My arrival had already made the local news before I’d even performed. I did my rehearsal in broad daylight. I’d never performed this song live before and had no clue how it would turn out. There was already an audience of a few hundred people gathered. I was thrown in at the deep end but fortunately it went well. By 9:30pm it was my time to go on, by this point the crowd was roaring outside and there were thousands of people gathered. I’d been awake more than 24 hours but I went out and the adrenaline kicked in and it all happened in a blur.

The audience seemed to really appreciate my being there and I performed the song again with several famous local actors from the TV network at the end of the night. After that, there seemed to be a never-ending queue of people wanting to shake my hand and take their photo with me. I got back to the hotel in the early hours of the morning and received the news that the song had gone to number 1 on iTunes. My head was still spinning and I was convinced that it was just a dream.

What steps did you take to actively parlay that attention into continued momentum?

I was actually panicking about what to do next because I really didn’t want to put any foot wrong or waste this big opportunity. The next day, after my performance the night before, I started contacting record labels sending them links to all the news articles trying to leverage the attention I had received to try and land me a record deal. It wasn’t easy and most were hesitant at first. I think the political undertones to the protest didn’t help my case but the experience had reignited that fire in my belly and I was determined not to take “no” for an answer.

I finally convinced the managing director of a local record label in Hong Kong to sign me and, after much perseverance on my part, he relented and gave me a shot. Meanwhile, I returned to the UK and crowd-funded the money to stage my first full-length concert in Hong Kong. Early the following year I returned to Hong Kong for the concert and then finally decided to leave London and relocate to Hong Kong full-time a few months after the concert.

What about maintaining your fan relationships? How much time are you spending on average on social media? Were you able to use that initial burst of attention to build your email list?

At first it was crazy. Before coming to Hong Kong I had about 73 page likes on Facebook. After that one night when I performed, the next day it had shot up to over 8,000 page likes. It really was a sudden burst of attention and I did build an email list and launched a crowd-funding campaign to stage my first full-length concert in Hong Kong. However, my experience has taught me that an initial burst of exposure is not enough – you need a machine behind you to keep interest up. You need to be performing regularly or appearing on TV or radio. Social media growth works best when it’s a reaction to an outside event. For instance, if you’re playing live and people like what they hear they will often find you on social media to hear more. I still don’t think trying to build a following through social media alone is a good strategy. It’s a great tool for staying connected to supporters but you can’t rely on it as your only means of promotion. It’s too saturated.

How about the infrastructure around you: did you then work with a manager, publicist, booking agent, etc?

I continued to manage myself but I worked with a local record label who funded and distributed my next album. Promotion was minimal but I did lots of interviews with local press and an in-store showcase at HMV’s flagship record store in the center of Hong Kong. The album reached the top 20 in the rock/pop category. I also finished second overall in MTV China’s songwriter of the year competition. That was also a complete surprise because I was the only western artist and the only English language song in the competition.

I’ve heard quite a few stories of musicians who found recognition only after they’d stopped searching for it. What’s the lesson there? Any philosophical thoughts on the matter?

It’s a tough one. There was definitely a certain irony to my situation, but in some ways I felt that it was those 15 years of prior dedication and perseverance finally paying off. I’m all for making your own luck in life and believe that there is a lot to be said for perseverance. If you keep on persevering something has to give eventually. However, I think, as for most things in life, you have to strike a balance. The best opportunities usually find us and not the other way round.

I think you have to knock on doors and make yourself known, but bear in mind that if someone is genuine about wanting to use your music or sign you then they will come knocking on your door. I think perseverance will increase your chances of getting a lucky break, but there’s no forcing it. You have to make sure your music can easily be accessed and then let people know it’s there. If someone is genuinely interested they will come knocking.

Also, at CD Baby we hear quite a few stories about particular songs finding their moment long after their release date… sometimes decades later — especially in the world of sync licensing. Do you have any thoughts on if and how the Internet really empowers audiences to connect with the right song at the right time?

There are those rare instances in life when the stars just align for you. I think that’s what happened for me. After 15 years of what felt like an uphill struggle, things just clicked and it was the right song at the right time that captured the spirit of the moment. It didn’t matter that I had written the song six years earlier or that it had sat there all that time with no one really listening to it. The whole experience has opened my mind again and taught me that life really can surprise you when you least expect it.

For so long I was convinced that the music industry wasn’t open to people like me who didn’t know anyone on the inside. Still to this day, the best part of the whole experience, for me, was that I’d received hundreds of rejections over the years; I literally came from obscurity with no manager, no label, no publicist or anything like that. Yet, because someone on the other side of the world believed in my song enough to use it and give it a decent amount of exposure, I was able to defy all the odds and score my first number 1. It was very validating and immensely surreal at the same time.
A lot of the time people will write a song and want an instant reaction. It doesn’t always happen when we want it to, but once a song is recorded, there’s no saying how or when it might become the next big hit. I would say that you just never really know… you might have already written your biggest hit without realizing it yet.

What are you up to now, musically speaking?

I’ve just released my third album through CD Baby. It’s called Inner Song and it’s a collection of 11 songs, all self-written and self-produced, which chart the massive changes in my life over the past few years of moving to the other side of the world and having my first taste of success with my music.

There have been so many highs and lows and sources of inspiration and I’m really looking forward to sharing the new music that I have been working on. My intention for writing songs has been the same from when I first started writing them 20 years ago. That’s to try and write songs with a message of encouragement and empowerment, as those are the type of songs that inspired my deep appreciation for music and what have kept me going over the years. I think it’s really important, especially in current times, that music helps us get from day to day and gives listeners hope.

Any advice for young independent artists just getting their start?

For years nobody wanted to give me a break and people in the industry gave me every excuse under the sun as to why my music just wasn’t ready yet. However, an unlikely series of events led to my song getting some exposure and once people actually got to hear my music it didn’t do so badly after all. It taught me that, in spite of what anyone says or how some might try to discourage you, the thing you really need to focus on is getting yourself heard by the music-buying public. Let them be the judge and not some so-called industry expert.

In a way, writing songs is the easy part, getting them heard is where it gets a lot more tricky. You might have written the next “Imagine,” but if no one gets to hear it then it will just remain a great song that nobody knows. I think 30 percent of a songwriter’s time should be spent on writing songs and the remaining 70 percent of the time should be spent on finding innovative ways to get your music heard.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

George Michael, One More Try, and the new music video for Kashy's song "Shooting Star"

British singer/songwriter, Kashy Keegan, premiered the new music video for his song "Shooting Star" on his official YouTube channel today. The video was shot entirely at Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong. The song is one of the lead tracks from Kashy's new album Inner Song which was released earlier this month. On the inspiration behind the song, Kashy said: 
"So many situations in life start off with a lot of promise and then fizzle into nothing… I compare these type of situations to shooting stars… bright and alluring to begin with but then they fade away so quickly. These type of situations inspired me to write this song… hope you like it!"

Another of the song's surprising inspirations was the 1987 song by George Michael "One More Try". Kashy has been a longtime fan of the superstar's music and especially this ballad. The song discusses the pain of unrequited love and whether or not it's worthwhile to give love another try, a theme that Kashy's song 'Shooting Star' also touches on.

"That George Michael song 'One More Try' has pretty much been my go-to song for any time I've had to nurse a broken heart," says Kashy. "It's resonated with so many of my experiences over the years when it comes to matters of the heart. Also, I think it's one of his most outstanding vocal performances and the whole style of the song is very soulful and really hits the mark. I have wanted to write a song myself for years that tackles the same themes of disappointment, fear and heartache as impactfully as a song like 'One More Try'. I've given it my best shot with 'Shooting Star' and I definitely put my heart and soul into it. In fact, I've bared my soul in the song."

"Shooting Star" is the first track on Kashy's new album "Inner Song" which is available now on all digital music platforms. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Kashy Keegan is back with a brand new album 'Inner Song'

"A British singer-songwriter has become an unlikely hero in Hong Kong, where his anthem to overcoming adversity has galvanised free-speech protesters."

— The Guardian

In the follow-up to his 2014 hit song 'This Is My Dream,' which beat the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to reach number 1 on the Hong Kong iTunes charts, British singer-songwriter Kashy Keegan returns with his most heartfelt and personal collection of songs to date.

His new album 'Inner Song' is an account of Kashy’s roller coaster life which saw him emerge from an unknown musician with the most eclectic range of day jobs to a renowned star in China. With a musical style that touches upon influences from Adele to George Michael, Kashy has won over the hearts of the people in Hong Kong in 2014 where he started turning his acclaimed song into reality and live his dream of being a successful musician.

His song 'Need For Love' draws upon his recent life changes and moving to Hong Kong to pursue his goals. The song is about the basic human need for love and how people sometimes create a bubble around them that causes them to feel lonely.

'Inner Song' is a personal account of life's highs and lows. While drawing on his own experiences, Kashy is using his music as a means to connect to others and encourage them in dealing with inner turmoil.

Using music to help empower others or to try and provide some form of hope, comfort or healing has always been at the core of what has motivated Kashy to write songs. And the singer has plenty of reason to do so. Having had a colourful life that has been filled with many surprises, both good and bad, he understands what adapting to change means.

His musical journey began at the age of seven when he first started taking piano lessons and he wrote his first song around the age of 10. Having spent most of his teenage years in isolation to write and record his music, Kashy has always been certain in terms of his aspirations. The songwriter grew up to the music of artists like Elton John or Tracy Chapman as well as Gospel music, which contributed to the development of his own songwriting techniques.

After having won a young journalist of the year competition at the age of 15, he started working as a journalist interviewing world famous celebrities such as the Spice Girls or Steven Spielberg. Giving up his journalistic career to focus more on his musical ambitions, he went on working in a vast mixture of jobs including cleaning toilets at a nursing home and being a clerk at a hospital.

At the age of 25, Kashy was diagnosed with a neurological disease called Charcot Marie Tooth which causes progressive muscle wastage in the feet and lower legs. The physical limitations that are part of the disease have made him realise the importance of seizing the day. The diagnosis has led Kashy to invest all the more time and effort in pursuing his musical ambitions. It has taught the singer self-acceptance and given him a fighting spirit which has ultimately inspired his lyrics. Kashy also eventually returned to working as a journalist.

His big musical break wasn’t until 2014, when his most famous song to date “This is my Dream” unexpectedly turned out to be a massive success in Hong Kong after being used as a theme song for a new TV network by the name of HKTV. He was consequently invited to perform to 30,000 people. In the same year he came second in MTV China’s songwriting competition as the only white English singing performer.

Having to take various detours until he finally found himself realising his dream of being a professional musician, Kashy’s songs on the upcoming album are an observation of the challenges that people sometimes have to go through:

"Life is a lot about how we deal with change - endings, new beginnings, opportunity, loss, love and separation; change is the one constant in life. The past five years have brought some of the biggest changes I have experienced. Starting a new life on the other side of the world; getting married; career changes; body changes and just about everything in between. I have lived through the biggest highs and lows of my life and learnt greatly from these experiences. And so I decided to call my new album 'Inner song' because these songs are my account of those changes from the inside out.”

With this album, Kashy is now entering the next chapter of his inspiring story and continues to both encourage people with his positive message and share a breathtaking set of soulful pop songs.

The album ‘Inner Song’ is out on 18th March 2016 and is available for pre-order here:

The single ‘Need For Love’ is available on iTunes here: