While a quick Google search may not pull up much info about 19 year old musician Khai Dreams, whimsical singles such as “Ultimately” and “Lost in You” have garnered the half- Vietnamese artist an impressive following on popular music platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud. Khai’s mellow vocals blend seamlessly with lo-fi beats and melodic instrumental progressions (the ukulele being a reoccurring favorite) to create tranquil soundscapes that soothe the soul. His knack for crafting poetic verses to accompany tracks ranging from dreamy indie pop to chillwave R&B exemplify his talent as a lyricist and story teller. Topics such as love, loss, and navigating the complexities of life resonate soundly with his audience in the best possible way: transporting us to a world free from the stress of the daily grind. Imagine being whisked away to a plush meadow or bubbling brook with swaying willows–that’s one dream that we’re not quite ready to wake up from!
We reached out to Khai and had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his music, inspiration, and advice for those trying to break into the music scene. Here’s what he had to say.
How would you describe your aesthetic as an artist? How would you define your music/sound?
I think my music describes itself better than anything I could say. I feel like I would lead people astray if I tried to describe it. Not to say it isn’t definable- It’s just hard for me to do that as the person who made it, I guess.
What motivated you to enter the music scene and where do you pull the inspiration for your songs from?
Lots of moments and people and phrases that run tangent to each other will come together to inspire a song. It’s rarely ever just one thing.
If your music was a painting, what would be displayed?
Something scenic. Some portrayal of the seasons. It would either be very washed out and melancholic or very energetic and vibrant. Lots of pastels.
You sampled “Spirited Away” in your song “Fantasy”. Are you a Studio Ghibli fan, and if so, what is your favorite film? Do you plan on sampling any other anime-inspired tracks in the future?
I grew up watching Studio Ghibli so they mean a lot to me. I love “Whisper of the Heart” the most. I’ve mostly moved away from sampling because it can complicate things, but I’ll always be inspired by anime.
I’ve noticed you’ve done a few collaborations. What is your favorite part about working with other artists?
Working with other artists is great because they push me to do better. It also takes a load off having to fill a whole song.
What kind of music do you typically listen to? Who are some of your favorite artists at the moment?
Right now I’m listening exclusively to Frank Ocean and this band called Tahiti 80.
How does it feel to be an up-and-coming artist? What advice would you give to other aspiring musicians?
It feels good. I feel lucky. At the same time, it’s all very volatile so it’s pretty stressful. I am just working to get to the point where I can go ghost for however long I need to without losing my entire following. As far as advice–put yourself before your music. It is very easy to create a bad relationship with your music when you overwork yourself.
What is your spirit animal?
I am my own spirit animal these days.
What are your go-to snacks when producing music? Drinks?
Might sound weird but eating and being creative don’t mix for me. There’s a certain amount of clarity I need when I’m in the creative zone and food gets in the way. I always have some black coffee by me when I’m writing though.
What do you like doing when you’re not making music?
Watching anime, playing video games, working out, seeing my family or friends. I also like to write but these days it pretty much tied to songwriting.
Are there any future projects in the works?
There is some stuff I’ve been working on right now but that’s all I can say!
Special thanks to Khai Dreams for taking the time to answer our questions! Also, be sure to check out his latest single “Come True” with Forrest, Biskwiq, and Wizard Island.