Florida-native and producer Jahaan Sweet heard a distinct voice coming from a NY studio booth a couple years ago. At the time he was finishing up his Jazz studies at the prestigious music school, Juilliard. It was the voice of Oakland’s Kehlani and in a matter of time the two began working together on her 2014 mixtape “Cloud 19″, which eventually became her 2015 breakthrough mixtape, “You Should Be Here”.
“I walked in and heard this voice. I thought ‘Man, who is that person singing? She’s really, really good’. I just went in and played this beat I was working on at the time. It’s for the song we did called “Get Away” and from there we just started working.“
At 22-years old, Sweet has worked with artists such as Tiara Thomas and K. Michelle. He produced 6 out of the 15 tracks on YSBH. It has been nominated for a Grammy under Best Urban Contemporary Album, along with The Internet’s “Ego Death”, Lianne La Havas’ “Blood“, Miguel’s “Wildheart” and The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind The Madness“.
Would you say “You Should Be Here” is your biggest project to date?
I feel “You Should Be Here” was my first time really being able to just do me, to just exercise my creativity and have a good say on it. Plus we both like the same kind of music and she’s a really good songwriter so it’s a good marriage of musical ideas.
The project is now Grammy nominated. Congrats. How’s that feel?
We found out on the European tour. We were in London. Someone called and told her and we freaked out. It was amazing and now just the idea of being nominated, we really wanna win.
Was a Grammy nomination ever in mind?
Nah. Not even. I was just happy we finished it and we got it out. To have all this great success off of it, it’s a blessing. For me, just being on stage and playing piano live…I’m just grateful and looking forward to what’s next.
What’s your favorite song on the mixtape?
The Way. I played the beat for her when she came to NY to do one more week of recording and she said “I’m not really feeling it”. On the final day of her trip, I played the beat for her again and she said “You never played this for me,” (laughs) and she wrote the song in like 20 minutes and we sent it off Chance.
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Will you be involved with Keh’s upcoming projects?
Right now I’m dealing with her actual debut album and we’re coming close to finishing it. I’ve been putting a lot of focus into that.
What else is next for you?
I just want to keep working and become better at what I do.
Check out clips of Sweet on the piano and Kehlani on the mic while on her 2015 European tour.
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