Keyboard Dog’s song “Amsterdam” received 160,000 streams on Tuesday. How does this emerging artist work on his music while still a student?
The folk-indie artist, also known as Steve Kurz, is set to graduate with a music industry degree from Northeastern University next spring. But he doesn’t just use his time to study. He is pursuing a career in music.
When asked how he balances music and student life, Kurz replied that he doesn’t.
“I’m not good at managing my schedule. … As far as making music, I had to be forced into it,” he said.
Most of the writing for his next EP took place in two months last summer when he had nothing to do and nowhere to go. He would find himself passing the time working on the recording.
“My parents stuck me and my siblings in piano lessons when I was 5. … I was the only one sticking to it. I was happy to be good at it and become better than them, you know, the leverage of the younger siblings,” he said of his music debut.
Growing up, he joined his high school jazz group, then an independent group, and finally started playing the piano just for him. The more he played what felt right to him, the more he invested in writing, instrumental and otherwise.
“When I started I was bad,” he said. “It’s the natural thing. You start somewhere. … A few years into writing music, I think I reached a point where I was like, OK, this is something I would listen to.
With his hit song “Amsterdam,” Kurz promoted it himself, with partial guesswork, by submitting his song to distribution services and pitching it to playlists. “Amsterdam” currently resides on Spotify Ultimate Indie playlist.
Kurz said his experience in his major’s classes as well as his work in the music industry also greatly influenced how he promoted and marketed himself. But above all, he said he used a sense of humor.
“I try to put as much (of) the personality of the (promotional) music into it as possible. I try to be as kind and approachable as possible. … I want people to listen to it and if they love him, so much the better,” he said.
Keyboard Dog’s EP will be released in June. “Amsterdam” can be heard here:
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