Words and Photos by Ronnia Cherry
For Khxos, the journey has been one of hard work and dedication, finding his true sound, and constant evolution as an artist. Born Oshane Logan in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, and now residing in Florida, he has amassed hundreds of thousands of streams with tracks like “Dopamine” and his latest single “Tambrin” and collaborated with some of the hottest artists and producers in dancehall and reggae. Without need for gimmicks or excessive hype, he’s steadily made a name for himself over the past few years, blending dancehall with hip hop, R&B and pop.
Khxos is a student and fan of his chosen genres, evident in his choice to feature a distinct collaboration on every track of his Melanin EP, released earlier this year. He has a way of pushing artists beyond their comfort zones and creating new sounds with them, while giving them plenty of space to shine alongside him on tracks. This makes Melanin a very rich and textured soundscape, with different voices and perspectives on love, desire and the Black woman.
There is something spontaneous about his sound, yet you can sense the thoughtfulness and attention to detail he puts into the concepts, lyrics and melodies. Khxos has a playful, loving spirit, with a hint of seriousness that can be found in his personality and his approach to music. This also has helped him make a name for himself in dancehall, not just an artist, but as a person. Someone you’d want to par with or go link up at a dance.
We recently caught up with Khxos to discuss his musical journey, collaborations, balancing career and family, and his recent signing with the Delicious Vinyl Islandimprint. We also got into “Tambrin,” the sticky dancehall banger, for which he just released his latest music video.
LargeUp: You’ve been rising in the world of dancehall since the early days of “Dopamine.” How has your style evolved since then, and what do you feel remains consistent throughout?
Khxos: I try my best to learn something new about myself every day, whether it’s how to control my vocals or how to connect more with people, through music. One thing that remains consistent is the quality of my music. Even when trying something new, I don’t just throw something out there, hoping it will stick.
The Melanin EP was very well-received among men and women fans alike. What did it mean to you to put that project out and did it achieve what you set out to?
I personally think Melanin is my best work to date and it was very important for me to release this project like this, celebrating black women. I’ve heard a lot of stories, I’ve seen a lot of people having fun to the songs, being comfortable in their own skin and I’ve seen a lot of my male friends/fans showing love also.https://www.youtube.com/embed/AxDyh9_hfd8?iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&autohide=1&playsinline=1&autoplay=0https://www.youtube.com/embed/k9hjQpFXocI?iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&autohide=1&playsinline=1&autoplay=0
You are simultaneously raising a young son while juggling a growing music career. How do you balance the two and how does your son inspire and motivate your music?
It’s been difficult at times, but his mom is an amazing woman and she’s made this a lot easier for me, especially when I have to go on the road. So, I have her to thank for that and a lot more. Aden has been my main focus since the day he was born, even though the music has forced me to be away from him at times. I use him as a reminder as to why I can’t give up or even give my energy to anything that’s not beneficial to me or him.
That’s real. Congratulations for recently joining Delicious Vinyl Island. How did that come about and what can we expect from that partnership?
I’ve had a lot of good conversations with Leslie Cooney, one of the label owners, about music and progressing forward as an artist. The conversations were different from the usual and it didn’t seem forced either. It was a very easy decision for me. You can definitely expect a lot of good music and clean visuals… starting with “Tambrin.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/4rbNFpNWp1A?iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&autohide=1&playsinline=1&autoplay=0
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing now as a young artist in dancehall?
I’m not necessarily a new artist in dancehall. The music is just reaching more people now and that is why it might seem like I’m a freshman. I don’t like to focus on the challenges either. They are everywhere. I just have to find ways to go around them as they come, and push myself to be bigger and greater.
You are known for some of the tuffest collaborations, with Noah Powa, Konshens, Stalk Ashley, Royal Blu, Blvk H3ro, etc. And enthusiastically promoting your featured artists as much as yourself. Where does this collaborative spirit come from?
It’s really nice to collaborate with other artists and blend different sounds, styles and even force them out of their usual element. I also like sharing my energy with people, not just when doing music. You might see me pushing for more people to listen to artists like Royal Blu, Blvk H3ro, Kim Gebriel… Because they all have something fresh and unique about them, and our genre is desperately in need of something different.
What are some of the pros and cons of making dancehall music while being based in the States?
We live in a time where streaming is the new way of selling records and all the prominent streaming platforms — Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal — are located right here in the States and we get a better understanding of how it all works. However, our dialect is a bit different, so most people here don’t really understand what we’re saying. So, we’re still being forced to direct traffic through our own — Jamaicans and dancehall lovers.
What do you enjoy focusing on when you’re back home in Jamaica?
Connecting with fans and finding ways to get more people to discover my music. I also like to share my time with close friends and a few relatives.
You said on Twitter once that the songs you try to make perfect rarely become the songs people like. Do you have any ‘sleeper gems’ you feel were overlooked?
Answer: “Nah Lef Yuh,” “Sexy Secret,” “Been On My Mind,” “Foolish.” 70% of the catalog if we’re being honest. Time is the master of all things, though, and I still think any of these songs can blow up at any given time.
“Tambrin” has been making waves all summer and seems to be an instant fave. What was the process like making that song? Did you know it was a hit?
I’ve always wanted to work on a song with Track Starr and we’d always have conversations about making music. He was here for Memorial Weekend and we both thought it was long overdue. Our birthdays are a few days apart, we wanted to give the fans something to celebrate while we were celebrating and this is what we were lucky to come up with. Did we know it was going to be a hit? I mean, you never know what’s going to stick. Track Starr wanted to do something fun and full of energy. That’s what we did, and I think we did a really good job doing just that. I’m happy that everyone is loving the record though. Thanks to all the fans and DJs who continuously push it to be bigger.
Is there a next project in the works? What can we expect from Khxos in 2020?
Yes! Most definitely. I just can’t promise that it will be released in 2020. I’ve been talking with Leslie [from Delicious Vinyl Island] about creating something special… but we both still think there are songs that need a bit of highlighting first before we move on to a new chapter.
Read the original interview on LargeUp.