It seems like it’d be impossible, but sometimes it really does happen. When the skills are clear enough — and the sound is loud enough — young musicians can attract the attention and support of legends. Keyawna Nikole is a new face, but once seen, she’s hard to forget. She’s got the voice, the energy, and the attitude of a rock star; she’s had millions of streams and views of her independently released songs and videos; and now, she’s got a heavy hitter in her corner. Through a combination of willpower and sheer talent, she’s drawn Kellin Quinn, the celebrated frontman of the chart-topping rock band Sleeping With Sirens, into her orbit.
This unlikely (but highly logical) pairing is dramatized in the explosive video for “Secrets,” Keyawna’s fiery collaboration with Quinn, and the latest in a series of propulsive singles from the California artist. In the clip, Quinn is pulled through a television screen into a glade where Keyawna and her ferocious band are performing, and before long, they’re joining voices. His anguished delivery is a perfect match for her soaring vocals — and both of these outstanding rock singers sound perfectly within their element as soon as the drums begin to pound.
For Quinn, a collaboration like this is nothing novel. He’s built a reputation for picking emerging artists to work with, irrespective of genre: he’s had hits with rappers-turned-rockers like Machine Gun Kelly, K-pop iconoclasts like Amber Liu, bands on the progressive fringe of pop-punk like Pierce The Veil, and many others. Keyawna Nikole, whose music pairs the intensity of post-hardcore with the expressive immediacy of emo — and whose background in hip-hop is palpable through her expert sense of rhythm — is exactly the sort of young artist he can’t resist.
But what are the consequences of his curiosity? Is it dangerous to play around with supernatural forces? @IAMPARKE’s darkly funny clip for “Secrets” suggests that Keyawna Nikole’s music is, quite literally, face-melting. The artist doesn’t seem dangerous at first: she approaches Kellin Quinn shyly, addressing him as a superfan might, from behind the counter of a convenience store where he’s stopped to buy Pringles. But the videocassette she’s slipped in his bag is more explosive and magnetic than he expects it to be. Hey, when you’re looking to connect with a star, you’ve got to use all the magic you’ve got at your disposal.