The venue was kept top secret. All that members of the media were told was that we would be transported to a venue where Ambitiouz Entertainment’s singer-songwriter, KLY, would be holding a special listening session for his debut album, Keep Love Young.
Two hours after the agreed-upon meeting time, we finally left Jozi and, after what felt like an eternity of driving, we found ourselves in Hartbeespoort.
“Hey, I hear there’s a fake Paris around here,” someone in the bus shouted.
A few moments later, we were turning into French Toast Koffee Kafee - a small kitsch venue that aims to recreate Paris. It has its own mini Eiffel Tower and there’s an opportunity to engrave a lock and leave it on the fence, just like the popular activity in Paris, France.
New music demands attention. It has to be heard. And the reason I detest listening sessions is that it forces people who don’t all share the common goal of hearing the new music to be in one room.
Most people are there to network and chat, which often means those who are there for the music don’t end up hearing it as it was intended to be heard.
I was pleasantly surprised when KLY performed some of the songs. He even attempted to serenade a girl who seemed sad to be drawn away from her plate of French toast.
Beyond that, I have to tip my hat off to KLY and his team at Ambitiouz for the conceptual relevance exhibited by tying the album to a venue. It’s cheesy to take us to a fake “city of love” but it’s also incredibly cute because none of us saw it coming.
Keep Love Young is a solid 16-track offering that sees KLY flex a bit more of the muscle that has made his collaborations with the likes of Wizkid instant hits. He sings about women a lot - it's a trap-R&B album after all - and features the likes of Locnville, Ycee, Zingah and labelmate Emtee.
The album also sees KLY attempt to bring the listener into his well-being since entering the fame game with songs like Suppose.
“I wrote this song at the end of 2016 when a lot of changes were happening in my life,” KLY shared. “People started recognising my music and seeing me on TV. I started getting different co-signs from people like Riky Rick, Wizkid, Patoranking, DJ Maphorisa - the list goes on.
“A lot of things were happening and people were asking me: ‘Are you going to start doing this? Are you going to start doing that?’ For me, it was like, er, I suppose. Like, I guess I’ll do that, go there. Suppose was about my transformation into the music industry.”