Written by Erica Larochelle
While working two jobs and graduating from high school last month wasn’t enough of a challenge, many people haven’t really heard of Charles City’s Keenan Stewart. But also releasing a 17-song album under his stage name â3KTraeâ, his album titled âPoint to Proveâ seeks to do just that.
Stewart’s July 2 release was just a sample of what the artist could offer through his vast musical talents. After winning 10,000 streams on all music platforms on the first day of its release, a message has clearly been sent by the artist.
Growing up in rural Charles City County, Stewart was not exposed to rap and hip hop until college. But after hearing the genre for the first time, he got hooked.
âOne of the first rappers who really caught my eye was Fetty Wap,â Stewart said in an interview on Sunday afternoon. “It was my brother who introduced me to the artist especially when we were playing basketball one day.”
Stewart went on to say that in seventh grade Daniel Harris was a local rapper from the area. After discovering that Harris loved music, Stewart sought the dream.
“He [Harris] is one of the main reasons I started making music, âhe said, attributing the foundation for his writing and his desire to perform.
Stewart’s musical training began in his church and as a member of the Chickahominy Indian tribe. From a young age he sang in his church choir while listening to and learning about his culture, where he continues to contribute today by singing and playing the drums at traditional powwows.
âWhen I hear music it’s a different point of view than others,â said the recent high school graduate. âWith my music, I decided to take inspiration from where I come from.
âBeing Native American and coming from Charles City, I talk about how much different music is to me and how I see life differently from any artist,â added Stewart, specifically pointing to artists Lil Skies, Juice WRLD , Post Malone and Caleb Gordon, a Christian rapper. “A lot of artists influence me, and there are a lot of them who are in various genres of rap.
âEven today you don’t hear from many traditional Native American artists, but I’m looking to be the one to break that trend,â he commented.
Stewart’s influence and motivation is evident in his music. The songs on her album are inspired by her happiness, her relationship with God, the passing of a family member and reflections on her life.
âI’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life and you better focus on the ups,â said Stewart. “When we were locked out due to COVID-19, that’s when I really got down to working on this album.”
This album was “Point to Prove”. Stewart then spoke about her work on her favorite song, “Never Changing”, and also reflected on “Alright (It Is Well)”, a celebration and dedication in memory of Granny Whitehead, a loved one who also drives his bus. in school for several years.
The artist also said he learned from his debut album “Primal Instincts” released a year ago.
âIt was a very difficult time in my life and emotions poured into it,â said Stewart. âPoint to Proveâ is about better times and my hope for a better future.
âI make music to change people as well as myself in a positive way,â he added.
This positive message is reflected in the songs on his album. Stewart prides himself on saying that none of his music contains unnecessary language.
âIf you can’t get your point across without using profanity, it just shows a lack of vocabulary you have,â he said emphatically. âA lot of people tend to think of this area as full of stupid, country people. I want to prove that just because we come from a rural area like Charles City or New Kent doesn’t mean we can’t all do something right with our lives.
And Stewart’s message is already gaining traction both locally and internationally. One of his first songs was played on local radio station 106.5 The Beat by DJ Skull, real name Matthew Robertson, another Charles City native. Stewart’s songs have reached fans all over the UK and various parts of the US.
âI worked with my audio producer Thomas Leck as he mixed all the instruments for this album,â said Stewart, praising the audience. “I plan to work with Daniel on his musical projects.”
Regarding the goals, Stewart has not backed down on an ambition he intends to achieve.
âI want a song or album from all musical genres to become number one on all charts in the future,â he said with pride. “No artist has done this before, so I want to be the first.”
Stewart’s life is not going to slow down for music. The recent Charles City graduate received a full scholarship to the College of William and Mary, where he plans to study anthropology.
âI want to learn more about my people and culture and spread these messages as well,â said Stewart. âI want people to see the good things that we have going on. “
And Stewart’s work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. His former coach saw the rapper’s musical prowess.
âI saw times when we were at a track and field competition and he would do his event and then go under the stands and take out his computer,â said Andre ‘Jones. âHe would put on his headphones and work on a song, saying the words before I had to involve him in another of his events. And once he’s done this activity, he comes back to the computer.
Stewart’s future definitely remains bright, with many of his songs appealing to a number of age groups and diversity.
âPoint to Proveâ is available on all media platforms. For more information on Stewart, visit www.3ktrae.com.