In this day and age it’s very hard to stand out in the music industry, let alone EDM, but Shift K3Y just has that ‘it factor.’ Born Lewis Jankel, the 21-year old producer, who comes from London, seems to have already scored some influential names for his little black book, from English chart-toppers Rudimental to Borgore, the latter of whom had a hand in launching Jankel’s career.
“I sent some music to an independent label called Bullet Train Records, which was owned by my manager... he was also managing Borgore,” explains Jankel. “There was this EP I made which was a bit tougher, more dubstep.” When his manager played it to Borgore, the Israeli booty-lover snapped it up for his own label, Buygore, giving the young UK artist an immediate shift into top gear.
The triple threat singer, DJ and producer makes it clear that he lives and breathes music. Jankel knows almost every song that's played through the loudspeakers of NYC’s La Esquina during our lunch with him. While he cites some current favorites as Kaytranada, Mr. Carmack, Lido and Cashmere Cat, his influences range far beyond “dance music that’s not dance music,” as he describes these acts. In fact, he tells us, he inspired by everything from “jazz to fusion to ‘70s and ‘80s pop to classical music to bubblegum Swedish pop to hard rap to EDM. Absolutely everything.”
When writing, Jankel tends to vary his process. “A lot of the time I’ll have four tunes,” he says of his method. “There might be something I like from each one of those tunes. I might like the chorus from one of them and the verse from the other. Rather than splitting them and putting them into one song, I usually try and write something that does things that all those do in one.” This process worked for his breakout single, “Touch,” with Shift K3Y's R&B-influenced vocal and modern garage keys taking it to no.3 on the UK Singles Chart. While that was a major feat, there is now pressure for a follow up. “I just hope [the new single] does well,” he says a little nervously.
At the same time, Shift K3Y has his sights on breaking America with “Touch.” After making a splash in the UK in April, there's a lot of gas left in the song, with Jankel gearing up to release an album in the middle of next year too. “Hopefully, there’s a lot of potential for avenues to be filled,” he concludes, looking every bit like he's holding the key to success.
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