Okabe, the creation of Canadian multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, Kevin Okabe has traveled the world discovering his own unique sound. What he found was a sound that blends elements of blues, rock, jazz, and alternative pop.
Okabe’s new single, “Blue Was The Feeling,” is a crunchy rock and hip-hop-influenced track that deals with feelings of being lost in life and confused about where your place in the world is.
The main riff of the song was something that Okabe always had in his back pocket as something that he envisioned as a hip-hop beat for someone else. Eventually, the melody fell into place as he kept toying with the main riff.
“I think that everyone feels some degree of doubting their place in the world or where they are at in their lives at some point, but I wanted to write about that in a way that didn’t seem so depressing,” said Okabe. “You know that ‘stank face’ you make when you hear a really crunchy groove? That’s the feeling I’m trying to elicit in listeners.”
I’m Okabe, an independent artist from Vancouver. Before I started this project, I used to play guitar in a band called Pigeon Park, we released a few albums and toured extensively for close to a decade. When the band ended, I was pretty lost and unsure where my life would go from there so I spent some time traveling trying to figure out my place in the world and what music meant to me.
I eventually decided that I wanted to start my own project, so I learned how to sing and moved to Melbourne, Australia. I started writing, busking, and playing the odd show here and there honing in on my sound. After my visa ended, I moved to Montreal, then found my way over to Toronto. Since I moved, I’ve released a handful of singles and an EP as well, “Blue Was The Feeling” is the first single off my second EP that I’ll be releasing this summer!
“Blue Was The Feeling” is all about feeling lost and doubting your place in the world, it’s about my inner battle with my own anxiety and depression that I sometimes feel in the sway of life. I always felt that the main riff sounded like a hip hop beat so I never wrote any vocal melody over it but one day it kind of all just fell into place pretty naturally, I actually “cherry-picked” the chorus from an old idea I had and it turned out they worked really well together. I like to try and do that sometimes, to pull ideas out of the “black hole” of my voice recording app and pair them with something new I’m working on. Most of the time it doesn’t work out all that well but sometimes you find two ideas that complement each other and that was the case with this song!
I feel like things have started returning to normal so I’ve been trying to get out there more and play in front of people again. It’s funny how you can play hundreds and hundreds of shows, and busk in busy streets and metro stations, and then you take two years off, and all of a sudden you’re nervous playing in front of people. At least that’s the way it was for me. So I’ve been shaking off the cobwebs and getting back to performing live more these days.
When the pandemic started I learned how to be more economical in my music career and learned how to produce my own music (which I record in my bedroom) and that’s allowed me to consistently release music for the last two years which has been a game changer. Learning to be self-sufficient has definitely changed the way I’m able to look at my music career.
There are so many to choose from but I’d have to go with Mac DeMarco I think. “This Old Dog” was the soundtrack to my time in Australia and provided me with endless inspiration. Of course, I love his music but I also love his sort of “throwaway” style, it doesn’t seem like he overthinks things in the studio and just plays and sings from the heart which is why I think so many people gravitate to his music because there’s real honesty and vulnerability to it which I find really inspiring. He also just seems like a cool dude to hang out with.
It would be cool to put together a tour and get back to doing what I love most in the world, which is performing on stage. I’ll be releasing my second EP “A Sunday State Of Mind” this summer and I’ve been hard at work lining everything up for that release. The second single off the EP is coming out June 21st so overall I hope to reach new people with these releases and continue connecting with people through my music!
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.