“City Lights” is the perfect track for a coming of age summer rom-com.
Blending the fun of electronic pop with that of a more lo-fi vocal, Kennen creates this retro pop atmosphere for his music. “City Lights” is what I consider a simple pop track done amazingly. The hook is catchy and makes you want to dance around your room and the verse keeps the energy going. The chilled pop track makes listeners yearn for the days they could meet up with their friends for some late night fun; a 12AM burger run, or a trip to the beach to stare at the waves or go to the mountains and look at the silhouette of the skyline.
I could totally imagine a music video montage of my friends and I running around our little college campus gardens late at night taking photos and laughing on the way to some late-night pizza and a movie night. I suggest scrolling through the photos and videos you have with your friends and remember that fun while listening.
If an indie coming-of-age film met a blockbuster from ’80s Tokyo, that would be the movie that sets the stage for Kennen’s music. Born in ’99, the young Toronto-based producer, songwriter and singer draws from a wide range of inspirations, from Conan Gray to Daft Punk, creating a unique pop sound—all from the laptop and mic in his bedroom.
Growing up online, he picked up music production from YouTube tutorials at the age of 12. He began uploading originals and remixes as an electronic music producer, going by different names over time as his sound developed (Ken Gao was his artist name around his high school years).
In 2020, his 1st single as Kennen, “Where This Is Going,” marked his singing debut. Later in March, his song “Timothée Chalamet” caught the ears of many around the world, who related to the lyrics about falling for a lookalike of the charming actor.
Kennen continues to share music with messages about his life, influenced by his identity as a queer Asian artist. His upcoming debut EP can be expected to embrace themes that many in the new generation can relate to.
Review by Hannah Schneider