Keysha Freshh, a Toronto Canada native, is definitely a force to be reckoned with. She can hold her own in this industry that is usually dominated by men. Her hard-hitting bars and dope flow make for something you can’t sleep on. She’s been doing this for years so of course she has had plenty of time to reach the level of where she’s at now. She’s worked with some of the greats and most recently was featured on a rap cypher, which has over a million views and has been shared thousands of times. She’s one of the best emcees in Toronto and I got the chance to chat with her and learn a little more about her. Check it out below!
Well first to start off, how did you get into the music business? I’ve seen that you’ve been about this music business since you were five, so technically you’re a veteran (laughs).
Keysha Freshh: Yeah basically the story was that I was in kindergarten and you know they give you this certain time called creative time and most people will draw but I wrote this poem like a song about the spring season and the teachers ended up liking it a lot. So it ended up being my first published work at 5. Also my cousin is a singer and she used to take me to the studio all the time so I was exposed to the industry, hip hop, R&B music stuff like that at that age. I’ve always had this admiration for it. It was kind of inevitable.
That’s cool. So your first single, “Hollywood Fresh” blew up in Toronto all over the radio and other places. Later on, the video blew up as well and you even had Mims on there so how did all of that feel? The first time hearing your song on the radio?
Keysha Freshh: It was surreal! It was a feeling I can’t describe because at the time I was in high school, so it was kind of like a big deal being in high school and having a song on the radio you know? It automatically shoots you up [into] being the most popular person in school. It was really cool and was a proud moment too because hen you put in all this work, you take pride, saying that yo I got those lyrics and that’s my voice, you know especially being a 15, 16 year old kid. It was just really a surreal feeling and then Mims on the remix to the song was just a double bonus because he asked. Before we did the remix, he had passed by the video shoot and from there he said send me the instrumental and then a week later I got sent back the track for the instrumental and so that’s how we knew right away, we were going to add this to the remix. I’m so very grateful for that and when I do talk to him, we always reminisce about it. It’s just a great feeling.
That’s pretty cool! I remember when he had blown up with “This Is Why I’m Hot” here in New York City.
Keysha Freshh: Yeah! That was a big record. Yeah, everyone loved that record so getting that cosign after that record drop was like…. couldn’t have been better timing!
So I’m a huge fan of Toronto artists and music, so is there any particular artist that you would like to collab with from Toronto?
Keysha Freshh: I really like Tory Lanez. I think he’s amazing. I’ve known him since back in the day. We started out about the same time. I’m a big fan of his. Another artist from Toronto that I would like to collaborate would be PartyNextDoor. I’m also a huge fan of his. I remember back when he was Jahron B. To see everybody just kind of evolving and becoming stars that they were destined to be… it’s just the great. Those two for sure at the top artists that I would choose.
Nice choices! So you’ve also worked with P- Reign amongst other highly acclaimed artists and producers. If OVO were to come to you and ask you to be the first female member would you join?
Keysha Freshh: Absolutely! I’m a huge fan of the movement and I think that they’re here to stay. You know being the first female on that would be significant. It would be a huge opportunity in itself because you know a lot of artists Drake signs, mentions or remixes blows up so that opens a huge door for them and it’s up to them to take it from there so I definitely would.
You’ve performed at numerous venues including Dundas Square in Toronto, which holds about 30,000 people. Do you ever get nervous performing in front of a big crowd?
Keysha Freshh: No, not really. I mean…it’s the same feeling with the big crowds as it is with 30 people. I would feel the same way. It’s like a feeling of excitement. I’ve been performing for a long time and nerves are no longer there. It’s more so now just making sure that I give them the best possible show that they came for so it’s not really nerves, it’s more so excitement.
I mean I would be nervous if it was me in front of all those people (laughs). So you recently did the International Women’s Day cypher for Team Backpack, which has blown up all over social media! There isn’t a place where you can’t see it now. How did that all come together?
Keysha Freshh: That’s incredible! I lose my mind when people keep telling me that they’re seeing it everywhere. It’s amazing! Basically what had happened was a friend of mine just told me he wanted to bring it to Canada and this was last year. I was like that’s a great idea because it originated in LA and New York and it was blowing up everywhere else so why not bring it to Canada? It was kind of a hot thing going on right now and so he went out there and he hit me up late last year and was like “you know I’m going to do the cypher next month” and I was like “oh perfect! so you want me to be there?” and he’s like “no” and I’m like “what?” and he’s like “nah not this one I have another one that I plan to have you on there’s some artists that we also picked up for that one too”.
The first cypher was for an artist from Toronto, so they did that one and he hit me up like two or three weeks after that one saying “for International Women’s Day, we want to do with Team Backpack and we want you to be a part of it” and I said “okay cool that sounds great!”. As for protocol, they don’t usually tell you who else is going to be in the cypher with you, so it’s kind of like you’re just going in a few days before and they give you the beat and you’re kind of just going in just hoping for the best, you know? When I got there, I saw Phoenix and Haviah and I’ve known both of those artists for a while. I did not know Lex Leosis prior to the Team Backpack cypher, but now we’re like sisters. We have a group chat and we talk everyday. Every time a new celebrity or OG rapper shares the cypher, we screenshot it to each other (laughs). So, yeah that’s how that came about.
Wow that’s awesome! Are there any collabs in the work between you ladies?
Keysha Freshh: Yeah actually we plan on doing something with Little Sister actually on this beat again. I actually had a blast and she released an album the other day and there’s a song, I love on the album that’s called “Monogamy” and I asked her if I can remix it and she said sure as long as I remix this other record that I have called “The Contemplation”. Again Phoenix and I have some work that we’ve been working on for the past couple of years, so everything should be coming out later this year.
Dope! Looking forward to hearing it! As a female rapper, how do you feel about the current state of rap and hip hop specifically with female emcees and rappers?
Keysha Freshh: I like the way it’s going. There are a lot of different rappers. I feel like it’s going back to the 90s where there’s not just one type of a specific female rapper. I know so many dope female emcees who are just like…amazing like Lyric Jones. Her and I connected in February and we’ve just been back and forth like “yo we gotta work together!”. I was just in New York and she was in New York too. We just missed each other but Lyric is amazing. Chelsea Reject out of Brooklyn… she’s amazing! There’s so many to choose from! I feel like people that say there’s only this type of female artist, is really picky and they must not be looking because there are so many to choose from that are killing it. You just have to do extra research and you’ll find them.
I definitely agree. Who are some of your favorite female artists and which ones inspire you?
Keysha Freshh: Bahamadia definitely because of her lyrics and the context of the album. Her album Kollage is like one of my favorite albums. Missy Elliott because of her creativity. I’ve always loved Lauryn Hill’s melodic ways- the singing and the rapping, I thought that was amazing. I’m a huge fan of Rhapsody. She’s super dope. Rah Digga, she was sick. Da Brat, everyone says I remind them of Da Brat. Sometimes I like to wear my bandana (laughs). Foxy Brown, I listen to her every single day, amazing, AMAZING lyrics. I think that each of them for so many different reasons have each inspired me on my particular sound, so I can’t say that there was one particular that I love. They’re just all dope and inspiring.
And lastly what’s next for Keysha Freshh?
Keysha Freshh: I have something that I’ve been working on for the past 4 years, a documentary entitled ‘The Underdog’. [Now] I think it’s time to release it. It’s just that something always ends up coming up… it has just been [delayed] forever (laughs). I have an album coming out and again the cypher has opened up so many opportunities. That’s amazing. I’m very grateful. We had over a million views and then we posted it again and we had over a million views in 4 days!
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