GABRIEL by Keshi Review; An Angelic Debut Album

GABRIEL, Keshi’s latest debut album, was released over a year ago, in late March 2022, yet continues to gain new success with fans.

On my first listen, GABRIEL was slightly disappointing; maybe it was Keshi’s use of various styles or how some songs strayed from the melancholy sound I was so used to. After skipping over half the songs, I gave up on the album, but not before taking away individual songs I thought were highlights of the album: “LIMBO” and “UNDERSTAND.”

It wasn’t until I revisited the album earlier this year in preparation for Keshi’s concert in Toronto that I had a newfound appreciation for it.

Keshi brings his authentic self to this album for an emotional and genre-bending rollercoaster that expertly captures Keshi’s artistic development, from an oncology nurse living for his time off spent making lo-fi hits to creating hopeless romantic anthems for millions of fans.

Keshi Celebrates His Genre-Fluidity and Newfound Confidence in GABRIEL

keshi GABRIEL by Keshi Review; An Angelic Debut Album

Of the album, Keshi says: “It ended up being a means for me to process the experience of having transitioned from a much less public life to another I’m having a little more trouble navigating recently. I thought about success, purpose, family, pressure, and failure; how time is my only commodity and how sex is just skin; how little I care for what people have to say and how important it is at the same time. I was reminded how fun making music is supposed to feel, and that it’s just as much listened to as its lyrics are heard. It’s an album that I hope is candid, varied, and one you can come back to again and again.”

In this album, Keshi boasts a new sense of confidence, allowing him to embrace his genre fluidity and love for different styles he previously felt he couldn’t do. The Texas-born singer is on his way to establishing himself as more than one genre or mood artist, expanding beyond the borders his uncertainty had created for him.

Behind GABRIEL, Keshi takes influence from the lyrical artist’s like Joji, Frank Ocean and John Mayer (who he cites as his hero).

GABRIEL, the Angelic Debut Album:

Until recently, Keshi was a single-run act where he wrote, produced, engineered and did all the instrumentation for his songs. In GABRIEL, Baltimore producer and songwriter Elie Rizk joins him as a co-producer.

  • GET IT
  • PÈRE

Album Review:


The tracklist begins with “Get It,” the perfect introduction to the genre fluidity of the album and a showcase of Keshi’s newfound boldness. The song is a fun singalong song, and unlike the typical lover-boy tune, you find Keshi flexing his success in a lively hip-hop song. Hidden behind the high-energy chorus is a more mellow R&B piano back-track.

However, In true Keshi fashion, he throws in a softer acoustic outro to get deep and personal with listeners as he sings about his recent struggle with identity.

“‘GET IT’ is a song that showcases a new sort of bravado and confidence that I’ve been feeling the past couple of years that I wanted to put on display. But it is two-sided in the sense that it does deal with this braggadocious kind of feeling, but also talks about how I deal with drowning in it almost. At the very end of the song, there’s an acoustic part where I talk about [how] I’m not quite sure who I am anymore. I’m getting confused between myself and my artist persona a little bit, and just wanting to stay centered.” Keshi says about “GET IT” in an interview with NPR.


In the second track, “SOMEBODY,” GABRIEL changes direction towards a lo-fi sound with hints of R&B that he is much more familiar with. The track is reminiscent of his similar lo-fi pop hits like “Beside You,” hitting that right spot of love and passion that fans love. Keshi sings about yearning for someone physically and emotionally, ultimately suggesting a more physical intimacy that Keshi had previously said he thought about when creating the album.


WESTSIDE expertly shows off Keshi’s famous falsetto vocals with a well-put-together track featuring Keshi’s usual soft guitar instrumental.

The song speaks about his family and a feeling of homesickness that comes with being a travelling artist, recording between Texas and LA and performing worldwide. For Keshi, chasing his dreams meant being away from loved ones, away from his home in Texas: “as long as I was surrounded by my loved ones and I could make music at the end of the day, that’s all I really wanted.”


“TOUCH” is likely the album’s most passionate and sentimental track. A wistful piano track and thundering electronic drums accompany Keshi’s delicate voice as he sings about lust felt by two people that feels “Wrong, but it feels so right.” The song carries a consistent theme of bittersweet love and longing to the album: “When I wake, you’re always missing in the morning.”


The sixth track, “PÈRE,” clarifies the importance of family in Keshi’s life. The song title translating to “Father” is a 48-second long monologue by his Father that answers the question, what would you tell your 18-year-old self? 

“I would like to tell myself to not worry, I had just left my country. I had just left my home and all my friends arrived in this foreign land. I was put to school and I didn’t even know the language. I would like to reassure myself that all will be well.”


The ninth track of the album, “UNDERSTAND,” is my favourite of the album, a delicate love letter to his fiance, Mai. Throughout the album, “UNDERSTAND” best shows Keshi’s vocal ability. The song features high-pitched vocals over a sonic string arrangement and a classical guitar solo that give the song an angelic edge. 

Overflowing with a warm feeling of love, “UNDERSTAND” is a song that returns to his core as a hopeless romantic, but this time he has found the one. 


“LIMBO” is the tenth album track and the most popular one, totalling over 125 million streams on Spotify alone. The song begins with a dreamy guitar solo before an equally dreamy piano track emerges. Keshi introduces himself with a vocable before entering a hip-hop-esque intro with lo-fi drums. “Feel more like limbo, hands out my window / Chasin’ that sunset, that’s more my tempo,” Keshi sings as he enters a catchy chorus that, by now, all fans are more familiar with than they care to admit.


The title track to the album and the conclusion to the 32 minutes long angel tune GABRIEL ties the album off by reminding you what is most important, family. With strong piano chords and an angelic voice, the song sings to the name GABRIEL, a child-like figure in the song and a name Keshi has always adored. 

But why name the album GABRIEL? Because “Why is naming an album any different from naming your child, you know?” the project is evidently like a child to Keshi, having received the love and care of family.

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