“Green Label Sound: Open Call” Winner Kelechi Drops a New Song

It takes a lot to become a champion. Athletes can have 20-year careers, win MVP awards and make all-star games, and never win a title. But at just 23 years old, Kelechi can call himself a champ—and to the victor go the spoils.

As the winner of Green Label Sound: Open Call, our national search for the next up-and-coming musical talent, Kelechi has received a $50,000 grant toward his upcoming album, a music video shot by Green Label, the ability to tap GLS alum RAC for career advice, and the opportunity to take the stage at Green Label Live during SXSW on a bill headlined by A-Trak and Joey Bada$$.

While Kelechi’s track “Want” (listen here) won Open Call, Green Label is proud to premiere the latest track, “3AM in Decatur,” from the Marietta, Georgia native. Take a listen, and get familiar with the latest member of the GLS family in our exclusive interview below.

First off, this track is awesome. How soon after winning did you write it?
I wrote it about a week and some change after we got the news that we had won Green Label Sound: Open Call. During the duration of the contest, there was so much anticipation that it was difficult to create. After all of the fanfare died down, I got the opportunity to sit and get some word vomit in.

For people unfamiliar with your lyrical style how would you describe it?
Lyrically, I think I’m all over the place. I like southern/northern hip-hop, and East Coast rap in general. I take a lot of cues from Wale, Kanye, and Drake, and mix it with my own to make my own style.

You’re a producer as well, so what made you reach out to Illa Jone$ for production on this track?
Honestly, the reason I hit up Illa Jone$ is because my laptop is broken and I can’t make beats right now. (laughs) I’ve been frustrated recently because I can’t sit down and crash stuff out. I’ve been hitting people up on Twitter and bothering people, like “Yo, send me beats!” He came through that night and I sent it back to him a couple hours later.

How much did “6PM in New York” inspire “3AM in Decatur,” if at all?
Drake does these types of tracks to mark a landmark in his career as to where he is at that point. I felt like it was important for me to do the same because this is a really important time in my career as well. And that’s just what time it was in Decatur.

What actually goes down in Decatur at 3 a.m.?
Flames. Heat. Bars.

Where do you fit into the Atlanta scene right now?
Right now, I wouldn’t say that I do. Not in a bad way but I feel like I’m either unmentioned or an underdog in the scene.

Will this track make its way on to Quarter Life Crisis? What else is slated for the album?
Probably not, it was pretty much done on a whim. I have other joints that I’ve been working on for a while now. I think joining up with Green Label, things are going to change directions. My ceiling is much higher than it was before. Not only monetarily, but also creatively. I can’t exactly say where things will go but up.

What can we expect from your performance at SXSW?
Flames. Heat. It’s going to dope. I really enjoy performing. I’ve done so many open mics and showcases that I’ve become accustomed to coming into situations as an underdog—even when we do our own shows. It’s our instinct to perform like we’re trying to get fans. Of course there’s going to be a lot of people there that haven’t heard of me, but I look forward to getting new support for STNDRD and what we have going on.

What inspires you to make music, and what inspired you to enter Green Label Sound: Open Call?
In general, a lot of things inspire me to make music. Conversations that I have with people are what inspire me the most because they’re what give me a lot of different perspectives. For this contest, my manger (Ukandu Emeonye) inspired me. He told me specifically what song I should enter and really encouraged me to go through with it.

Last question: Do you think Mr. $50k is a nickname that’s going to stick?
I halfway do because it’s dope. I halfway don’t because I’m trying to be worth more than $50k… “I have six-figure goals for 2015 and I’m halfway there.”

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