Music Monday: Locke Kaushal
DMV native, Locke Kaushal, is extremely busy these days making moves for his music career. He has already released two mixtapes (currently working on his third), opened shows for numerous artists (Meek Mill, Wale and Black Cobain to name a few) and has chopped it up with Sway on MTV’s RapFix Live.
A very down-to-earth guy, Locke has remained a humble individual as he works to fulfill his passion. We caught up with him to discuss how he started his career, his greatest influences and venturing into industries outside of music.
GSM: Who is Locke Kaushal? How did you come up with this name?
Locke Kaushal: I’m an aspiring artist from the great commonwealth of VA. Kaushal (pronounced Kuh-shawl) is Hindi and it means skillful, just a name me and my team stumbled upon. I paired it with Locke, my surname. I’ve grown to interpret it as “Locke is Kaushal”… or “Locke is skillful.” I knew I wanted my alias to have a first and last name. Kanye West, John Legend, Dom Kennedy. It just has a nice ring to it.
GSM: Where are you originally from?
Locke: Born and raised in Dale City, Virginia.
GSM: How did you get started with your music career?
Locke: I started writing at an early age, maybe around 7. I started with raps, but then I thought being a rapper was a lame career choice and I fell back, [focusing] on sports growing up. When I got to high school I started writing again, but it was mostly spoken-word pieces. It wasn’t until I was about to graduate college that I rediscovered my passion for music. From there, my friends helped me put out my first mixtape entitled “The Prologue” and I was surprised at the response it received. Not that I doubted myself, but I hadn’t thought about pursuing music in so long that I didn’t know if I still had “the juice” or not. To be honest, if that tape would’ve flopped, I probably would’ve set the whole music dream down for good and became a lawyer or something.
GSM: Who do you credit as the greatest influences for your music? (Past or present, Dead or alive)
Locke: Most of my influences are outside of music: family, friends, personal trials and tribulations, life. I found myself starting to naturally mimic the rappers I would listen to, and I didn’t really like that, but I would listen to a lot of Jay-Z, The Roots, Nas…. Now when I listen to music, I try to step outside of my own genre. I have a lot of alternative music on my iPod.
GSM: Out of the artists you have had the opportunity to open shows for, who was your favorite and why?
Locke: Black Cobain showed the most love, and literally all I got was a dap-up and a “thanks for opening for me.” Opening up for other artists is cool, but it isn’t as beneficial as some may think. I met maybe half of the artists I’ve actually opened for. Half the time while I’m performing, they aren’t even at the venue yet. I say that to say I don’t think choosing to open or not open for artists will make or break your career, which is why I’ve gotten away from it lately. You just have to be strategic and ready to network your ass off. But I guess to actually answer the question, opening for Melanie Fiona was my favorite. She is bad!
GSM: You were featured on MTV’s RapFix Live hosted by Sway last year…that’s huge! What were your feelings about that?
Locke: That was a crazy blessing. One of my team members reached out to Rob Markman the day we dropped the video, and literally that same day Rob reached back out and told us he wanted to feature me on MTV… and we shot the show the next day! I took everything Sway and the artists told me and digested it. It was a cool experience, the first of many more TV appearances to come.
GSM: When can we expect your next project to drop? What do you want your listeners to feel or think after hearing your next tape?
Locke: My next project is slated to drop at the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second quarter of this year. It’s going to be crazy.
GSM: Fast forward five years from now. Where do you see yourself career-wise?
Locke: Five years from now, I see myself having already made a name within the music industry. I enjoy making music, but it’s definitely a platform. I want to use it to venture into other facets of entertainment: acting, writing, fashion, the list goes on.
Check out one of Gold Stripe’s favorite Locke Kaushal music videos, Blu Sky Part II.