Keyana – yes, she goes by just one name – may be a relatively new face to Singapore’s music scene, but the 17-year-old already boasts a track record that most her age can only dream of. Having gotten her start as the second runner-up of The New Paper New Face modelling competition in 2017, the Singapore-born Ghanaian-Chinese multi-hyphenate has since gone on to explore her many other talents.

The dancer, choreographer and model can add singer-songwriter to her repertoire, with the release of her first single Save It which was produced by Flightsch, the music producer behind Yung Raja‘s Mustafa. Coupled with a music video directed by The Island Boys – a creative collective known for the production chops behind Singapore rapper Fariz Jabba‘s music video for his hit Ape Sia – and sparkling vocals that sound like a cross between R&B’s songstress SZA and Kehlani, Keyana is on the fast track to becoming one of the buzziest talents on our shores.

Here, she talks the inspiration behind Save It, the genres she’s looking to explore in the future and her ultimate dream collab. In the meantime, the song is available on all major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal. You can listen to it here.

A still from 17-year-old singer-songwriter Keyana’s debut music video, Save It.

Tell us about the inspiration behind Save It.

“The inspiration behind Save It stems from heartache. While I was writing it, however, I realised that it also touches on self-improvement. The lyrics are meant to encourage and assure anyone that things always get better after heartbreak.”

You also dropped a music video alongside the single. What was the story behind it?

“The story behind it is pretty simple – it revolves around the love story of a couple, how the relationship progresses as well as the eventual breakup.”

Tell us about some of the outfits you’re wearing in the MV.

“I worked with a good friend, (womenswear designer) Putri Adif, for the outfits. We used items from Surrender Store and piece from Malaysian labels Ghostboy.Club and Singapore streetwear brand Union Studios. My favourite outfit has to be the Charlotte Knowles Jacket from Surrender Store which was styled with a custom dress from Ghostboy.Club.”

Keyana in a Charlotte Knowles jacket and a custom Ghostboy.Club dress for her music video.

How did you first get into music?

“I have always loved singing but never had the courage to venture into it. My friends pushed me to give it a shot, and now I’ve fallen in love with everything about the process. I would say that dancing and choreography have definitely influenced my music too as I’m drawn to making songs that I can dance to.”

How would you describe your sound?

“It would be ‘pop with a little flavour’.”

What other genres are you hoping to explore?

“I definitely do write R&B and trapsoul records, which is what I will be releasing more of in the future. Other genres I would love to explore in the future would be dancehall, afro and hip hop.”

You’re also a big fan of K-pop. Any plans to go in that direction?

“I love K-Pop and K Hip Hop and I would love to explore it in the future if the opportunity ever arises. What’s good, Jay Park!”

The MV for Save It was directed by The Island Boys – a creative collective known for their work on Singapore rapper Fariz Jabba’s Ape Sia music video.

Who are your biggest music and dance influences?

“My biggest musical influences would have to be Kehlani, Sinead Harnett, Elaine and Ella Mai. As for dance, it would be Riehata, Ysabelle Capitule and Gina Michaels.”

Who are you listening to right now?

“I’m currently listening to Kehlani’s new album It Was Good Until It Wasn’t, Tank’s EP While You Wait as well as Chris Brown and Young Thug’s collaborative mixtape.”

If you could collab with any artist in the world, who would it be?

“Definitely J.Cole.”

What’s the next step for your music career after this single?

“I definitely want to take my time to sharpen my skills as an artist and my sound before putting out an album. However, I do have plans of putting out an EP after dropping a couple of singles. In the meantime, I hope to dabble in more music and visuals for people to get to know the real me a whole lot better.”