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KaeDee Talks Self-Care & His Latest Single "Forgive Me"

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

In this cocooning space of my adulthood, one thing myself and KaeDee can agree on: Nothing is more liberating than reaching a point in your journey with self-care where your well-being is not earned off the back of strenuous service to your loved ones but is wholly premised on putting yourself first. Kadee's current single "Forgive Me," born from a slow lonesome day where the London MC contemplates his mental well-being advocates for staunch self-care.

His early sentiments “I was thinking about people in my life and how our dynamics have changed. I realized that it’s not just them changing the dynamic, but me looking out for myself and my own wellbeing” and the resolve of keeping people at arm's length, prompting the name of the track, inspired me to enjoy the solitude comfort birthed from a soulful touch of production of fellow United Kingdom producer AMoZ.

Raised by South Asian parents who fall into a cluster of traditional cultures that champion strict excellent grades, being a university graduate, and entering the job market in hopes of a stable income that can balance your student loans and living expenses, barely making it into a course he desired at the University of Essex felt like a second chance that he has since done everything but take for granted.

Honing his focus on his music career, KaeDee has since performed to sold-out crowds in London, dropping his first mixtape in 2015 and getting the opportunity to work with producer AMoZ to create an original album. Using his platform to speak his mind and have his say from a political point of view (on projects such as “Oh My Days” and “Written At No.16”), but also being able to bring positivity to the masses with lighter content (‘Sunshine Therapy’), it’s this variety that has seen KaeDee swiftly become a favourite amongst the upcoming talent scene from London to the world.

Not one to shy away from the realities of growing up in the UK and the issues faced and experienced by many (including struggles with mental health and fighting to achieve your dreams), "Forgive Me" features Verbz on the track, a fellow London native whom KaeDee shares the utmost admiration and respect for his lyrical prowess as well as his craftsmanship in delivery and smooth presence in the song, making this collaboration a no-brainer for KaeDee.

Wrestling the philosophical peril of keeping things the same and accepting inevitable change “Forgive Me” also serves as an unapologetic expression of mental and energetic preservation, embracing (in the personal spectrum) the cost that comes with establishing boundaries with those who take advantage as putting your wellbeing first often costs the relevance some relationships in your evolution.

I took KaeDee back to the turbulent nostalgia of his university days as we shared a philosophical conversation about his experiences with forgiveness, his relationship with sin, second chances, his current single “Forgive Me”, his relationship with Verbz, the impact of MF DOOM on his artistic character arc and more for ColorBloc Magazine.

Watch “Forgive Me Here:

ColorBloc Magazine: Could you share a story with us about where you were given a second chance in life? What made you appreciate it when the threat of losing it materialised?

KaeDee: It's not a life-changing experience or anything, but I would say when I graduated from college. The fact that I even made it through was crazy to me back then. I have more faith in myself to do that now, but back then, especially with South Asian parents, you believed that this part of your life would either make or break the rest of it. I was never really an "academic" type, only on occasion, and mainly with Art and English subjects (not the "more important" STEM subjects) but I made it through somehow. I graduated with 2 A Levels which was less than anyone else around me, and it took a lot of convincing to my dad that that was the best choice for me. Then my mate found me a course at the University of Essex with a foundation year, which would accept me with just 2 A-Levels. At that point, it was pure luck, and I remember thinking this could've gone a completely different direction - I basically owe all my friendships, experiences, and everything to him for finding that for me. That felt like my "second chance" because I effectively reinvented myself after that.

ColorBloc Magazine: Could you share a story with us about when you provided a second chance? Maybe you failed yourself at making a song and you gave yourself a second chance to make that song and it worked out, think in those terms.

KaeDee: I’ve done that so many times when it comes to music. I fail so many times writing and putting something together, and it’s hard not to get frustrated, but more recently I’ll be more zen about it and just let it go, and just say to myself “I’ll come back to it later, maybe”. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t, but allowing that second chance to happen in the first place is what counts.

ColorBloc Magazine: Have you ever played the victim in a situation where you were in the wrong? What inspired your spite?

KaeDee: Erm, maybe more so back in the day? I'm more confident in saying nowadays I'm self-aware enough to know if I'm falling into that "playing the victim" mentality, and in terms of it being a situation where I'm actually wrong, I probably wouldn't think I was wrong in that situation haha. But no, I think a lot of people, especially when they're young or if they're emotionally immature or have some unresolved trauma or ideas about themselves, use that victim mentality to protect themselves, so it's understandable. Even if I think I'm in the right in a situation, if I catch myself falling into that way of thinking, I try and pull myself out of it. I don't know if it actually helps anything.

ColorBloc Magazine: Without applying religious or spiritual dogma into the syntax of our conversation, What is your relationship with the concept of sin? Do you find it to be a hindrance to humanity or a necessity for the Yin and Yang of our character development as people?

KaeDee: Deep question. Not sure to be honest. There are philosophical debates on what even constitutes as morality and whether it can truly be objective or not. I mean, I think if you try and logic it out, it doesn't paint the full picture of an actual living human being with thoughts and feelings, and that's where we come into issues. I know you said without applying religious or spiritual dogma but "sin" sounds like a religious word haha, so in that sense I'd say it can be a hindrance when taken to the extreme, i.e. dictating what someone can and cannot do as if it's a hard truth when actually it could be a result of years of societal influence, systemic issues, corruption in religious institutions and so on. For me, there are things you could deem "good" and "bad", but overall I'd say there are things that we do or embody individually which we decide, yeah I don't like how I felt doing that, or this doesn't align with me or my values, and then we do it as a society also. I don't think it's as black and white as, you're "sinning" and "not sinning".

KaeDee. Image: Supplied

ColorBloc Magazine: What, in your life, constitutes an unforgivable transgression? Why wouldn't you be able to forgive that?

KaeDee: Feel like I'm back at Uni doing my Philosophy degree. Off the top of my head? Killing or violating someone I know or hold dear. It would just be so difficult for me to let that go, you know? Especially when it'll have a bunch of visible and arguably non-visible knock-on effects to the victim, their families, friends, and everyone around them for a long time after.

ColorBloc Magazine: Congratulations on your latest single "Forgive Me". The day you get booked at Madison Square Garden for a Superbowl Half-Time Show, would "Forgive Me" make it to the setlist or not? How come?

KaeDee: Hmm, by then I'd like to think I have more "stadium-friendly" songs. This one could work, maybe to slow down the energy a little bit, but I'd revamp it with a big band or live production behind me, to give it a "bigger" feeling. I'd like it to be on the setlist, since it's important to me, lyric-wise.

ColorBloc Magazine: A scene that stands out to me in the visuals for your latest single is the MF DOOM Rest in Peace graffiti scene. How has DOOM's legacy influenced your appreciation for producers like AMoZ?

KaeDee: I specifically got Rhys, the director, to get a shot of that. I'm a huge fan of DOOM. AMoZ should be gassed to be in the same sentence as DOOM haha. AMoZ is one of my close friends growing up and has produced for me since early. He has weird, quirky nuances in his production, even when it's something accessible to everyone, but the production value itself is just next level. He also has other stuff in the tank that's just, outer space-type shit. You just wonder what's going through his head when he makes it. DOOM embodied that special, one-of-a-kind personality type, as both a producer and a rapper. RIP DOOM.

ColorBloc Magazine: DOOM also comes from the class of creatives who coined the phrase carry on tradition which in contrast with your closing couplet in the first verse positions you as one who wants to rewrite tradition. Why is it important for you to rewrite culture? What does a rebirth in culture over sustaining a legacy represent?

KaeDee: I believe in both simultaneously. Rewriting tradition doesn’t mean rewriting everything. Speaking from a Hip Hop perspective, I fall into both camps. I like things to change and evolve and be fresh, that’s how it’s survived so long. When something doesn’t, it tends to stagnate and die out, or at least in this case become less relevant. But then with other things I think to myself, I wanna embody the feeling or the goal of what used to be, so whether that's focusing on lyrics, or making good quality albums from beginning to end, not just as a random assortment of songs. In that sense, I'd be carrying on tradition. I think you can do both.

In the case of “Forgive Me”, the full lyric is "They told me life would be this way but rewriting tradition's always been part of my mission, so". So in that particular moment, I’m saying I’ll rewrite that part, about the elders or whoever saying “life would be this way” based on their own experiences. Maybe it doesn’t have to be? Maybe I don’t have to have the best years of my life during a certain time like they did, or only make friends for life when I’m younger and so on. Growing up in the UK in a big South Asian family, a lot of people like me are used to simultaneously holding onto tradition while also actively rewriting it. You can keep the legacy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve what it is moving forward. For a lot of us, especially South Asian women, it can be a necessity to rewrite tradition.

ColorBloc Magazine Why is it important for us to hear "forgive me" when the sun's out? I'd imagine a different impact if the visuals started on a rainy day with a rainbow at the end of the first verse transitioning into a spring day on the second, what made the theme for a sunny day imperative?

KaeDee: The music provided that colour palette in my head when I first heard it and wrote the song, so I wanted a one-to-one representation of that feeling in the video. I wrote it on a sunny day because that combination (the music and the weather) can get me in a certain mood, and so I wanted the listener or whoever feels like they can relate (or feel as if I'm talking to them directly) to really feel that vibe too. So hopefully they heard it when the sun was out. The rainy day idea would be cool, but it wouldn't match the vibe I had in my head for the song. I've had this debate with people before about songs being for a sunny, rainy, winter vibe, etc. and sometimes we all come out with different answers based on when and where we heard the song. Had I heard and written to the beat in a different time and place, then maybe the visual idea I presented to Rhys might've been a little different too. Or the song just wouldn't have been made.

KaeDee. Image: Supplied

ColorBloc Magazine: Talk to me about the brotherhood between you and Verbz. His verse is the perfect compliment to what "Forgive Me" needed and in many ways Verbz embodied a swaggy nuance of your otherwise cool calm and collected persona. How did the journey of you and him as kindred spirits come about?

KaeDee: Verbz has a song called “For My Peeps” which I heard during the pandemic and it's sick. So when it came to this song, we were looking for a feature to diversify the sound and perspective of the song and we had a couple names in mind. When I thought of Verbz it clicked for me, so we reached out and he was more than happy to be on it. He liked the song so much that he said it was easy to just come up with something so quickly for it, and it came out sounding so good. We've kept a good back and forth on Instagram and support each other's stuff, he has an EP he dropped last year with Mr Slipz called “Where It Started” which is just 5 solid Hip Hop joints. Listening to that, his album “Radio Waves” (also with Mr Slipz) and his verse on Forgive Me had an impact on how I wrote moving forward, especially over this type of production.

ColorBloc Magazine: With complimentary singles such as "Affirmation Song" I am of the belief in you being a visualisation advocate. Write a letter to KaeDee 10 years from now. In it celebrate the achievements you are aligning for the next decade?

KaeDee: think I’d agree. This feels similar to the "So what's your five-year plan" question at a job interview haha. I prefer this one though.

To KaeDee (10 years from now), well done on building a solid fanbase of people who hear your message and respond to it in numerous ways, connecting you to the rest of the world in a way you’ve always wanted to. Well done on the respect you get from your peers as well as the ones you’ve looked up to from day dot. Well done on having your friends backstage at your festival dates exactly as you all joked about and envisioned. Oh, and well done on that time you got a picture with Munya after he parodied your biggest tune.

Stream “Forgive Me Here:

Stay connected with KaeDee:

Facebook: @kaedee1994


Twitter: @kaedee94


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