Standing at 6 feet, 1 inch tall and topped with a head of bright blond hair and dirty sneakers to match, Keegan Konsor has a style that is all his own — and not just in clothing.
The twenty-year-old University of Iowa student began creating music when he was 11 years old.
“A family friend of ours had shown me how to make a couple songs in his living room when I was like ten years old," Konsor said. "And so my next birthday I saved up enough money to buy an eight-track recorder, and I made some really terrible, terrible songs, [...] fully a capella, just beat boxing and I’d sing over it.”
Konsor has come a long way from beatboxing in his childhood home to now writing, recording and producing songs that have earned him a following of nearly 10,000 monthly listeners from across the country — and all without stepping foot in a studio.
“I produce all of my own stuff, and I write all of it and record it all myself,” Konsor said. “Not that that’s like a crazy feat, but I feel like it’s pretty cool to be able to say that my music is 100 percent myself.”
Konsor will open for lo-fi hip-hop newcomer Deb Never at her Saturday performance in the Maintenance Shop. Some may recognize her from her appearance on the alternative hip-hop band BROCKHAMPTON's song “NO HALO," released earlier this year.
Aptly enough, Konsor himself cites BROCKHAMPTON as one of his biggest inspirations when it comes to creating music of his own.
“I hate to say it; it’s so basic, but I love BROCKHAMPTON so much,” Konsor said.
“Open[ing] for Deb Never, is the first time I’ve ever really been genred by somebody. The hip-hop or alt-pop genre is what I was put into, [but] I don’t really like to stick to a genre."
Konsor’s genre-fluid music typically features a collaboration of vocals and instrumentals, offering a complementary melange of airy guitar melodies, lively drum beats and a variety of vocals, not all his own.
“I like to stay on my toes when it comes to making music and writing something different everytime, something that surprises [people]," Konsor said. "I try to do something different every time, and I hope that that shows."
Many of his projects are the product of collaboration — with both friends and a number of other local musicians with complementary styles.
“I love working with other people because I like blending in with whatever style or method that they have when it comes to writing music, and I become a sort of chameleon that retains some of its own color,” Konsor said.
It wasn’t until this past summer, however, when music came to the forefront of Konsor’s vision.
In late June, he released the song “Crash” after it spent nearly four months in production.
“When I released ‘Crash,’ I was getting numbers that were surprising to me, and had pushed me to want to make music more,” Konsor said. “So this summer I kind of turned on the engines to make as much music as possible.”
Both social media and the streaming platform Spotify have been Konsor’s only true forms of promotion since he began producing and releasing music.
The initial spread and success of “Crash” was almost entirely the result of social media word of mouth and Spotify’s discovery algorithms, which helped Konsor’s music reach listeners from coast to coast.
As for the process of creating music, it’s never the same between projects, Konsor said. It takes a lot of tinkering and tampering to perfect a song, and for this reason, the music writing process can range from a few days to many months.
“I think a lot of the time I just try and push [a song] as far as it will go, until it tells me it needs a break, and then I’ll take a break for as long as my heart tells me until I go back and talk to that song again,” Konsor said.
Konsor, like many songwriters, gets much of his inspiration from his close relationships and the unique lens through which he views the world.
Much of the development of this creative lens can be attributed to the two years he spent at an international boarding school as a teenager.
“It turned out to be the most amazing experience of my life, and probably the best decision I ever made. It opened up my eyes in so many ways and pushed me to be someone with a bigger scope of vision,” Konsor said.
Although writing and producing is where his focus lies, Konsor looks forward to bringing his music to life onstage.
“Outside of music, even, [...] I’m such an open book; I love to talk to people,” Konsor said. “So if you ever want to say something, just say hey.”
Konsor will open for Deb Never in the M-Shop at 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 ($10 with a student ID) and are available for purchase at the M-Shop box office or at midwestix.com.