Chances are you’ve seen lip-synching phenom Keenan Cahill on YouTube. And you wouldn’t be alone – his videos have racked up an astonishing 409 million views so far. And now you’ll get a chance to hear the 17-year-old – Keenan just released his first ever single, ‘Hands Up’, featuring British pop duo Electrovamp.
Keenan has overcome incredible adversity – he has suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Mucopolysaccaridosis (MPS-6) since birth. But he hasn’t let that stop him from becoming an international celeb, and superstars like 50 Cent, LMFAO, and Big Time Rush have all done cameos with the energetic YouTube star. In an exclusive interview Celebrity Teen Scoop talked with Keenan about how he got his start, where he’s going next and why being different could be the answer to your dreams.
Celebrity Teen Scoop: You got your start lip-synching songs on YouTube. What made you decide to do this, and what was the first song you performed?
Keenan: I had attended 3 years of acting classes at a school in Chicago. It got me nowhere. I was frustrated. I got a new iMac for my birthday and decided to start making commercials and singing songs. I then tried lip-syncing and those videos started to get a lot of views, so I kept doing it.
CTS: Are your YouTube performances spontaneous or do you rehearse them beforehand?
Keenan: I don’t rehearse beforehand. I just go for it. I will sometimes watch the music video, but 99% of the time it’s just me having fun being goofy.
CTS: Your single ‘Hands Up’ looks like it’s already a hit. What is the song about?
Keenan: First, thank you. Second, Hands Up is about having fun. I imagine it being about going out the night before and having school the next day. It’s a great summer party song and a fun dance anthem. I hope everyone that hears it likes it.
CTS: Do you write and arrange your own music? Compose your own lyrics?
Keenan: Not yet. I have amazing songwriters who submit material to my manager. ‘Hands Up’ was written by Stefan Almqvist in Sweden and Charlie Masson in New York. The way the song got to us is an amazing story. It was already recorded by Electrovamp and after an incident my manager David Graham worked it out with their manager to add me to the song for the final mix. My second single will come out in October with Mayra Veronica. The writer and producer Eddie Galan is amazing as well.
CTS: Can you tell us more about the “incident” that brought you and Electrovamp together?
Keenan: My manager David gets a lot of emails every day. The last 3-months we have been getting a lot of song submissions. A guy in Ireland emailed my manager to hire me to do a viral video to ‘Hands Up’ and to book me to open for Electrovamp in Chicago. The guy ended up being a bad guy. He had Electrovamp fly to Chicago to shoot the video with me, told them to buy their airline tickets, he would pay them back and pick them up from the airport and drive them around for 2-days. The guy never showed up in Chicago, they arrived with nowhere to stay and luckily my manager found them at the train station in my town.
We shot the viral videos, but afterwards their manager felt so bad about the situation he asked what they could do to make it up. My manager said he liked the song so much, was there any way they could add me to the song before its release. He also stated to do it because they wanted to do it, not because of the situation. They decided to add me and now we have a great song on iTunes.
CTS: You’ve already performed with 50 Cent, LMFAO, and Big Time Rush – who else would you like to collaborate with?
Keenan: I have been singing with artists now versus lip-syncing. I got to do ‘Fighter’ with Gym Class Heroes in Chicago. I also shot a video with Gavin DeGraw for his next single ‘Solider.’ My dream would be to sing with Chris Brown. I almost got to meet him last summer in Chicago. His people asked me to come to his dressing room at the B96 Summer Bash, but he was showering and we ended up missing each other.
CTS: Who inspires you musically?
Keenan: My inspiration is everyone out there following their dream. I’m friends with Arianna Grande, who is working on her album. I got to visit her in the studio and listen to her new stuff. I also love all of Chris Brown’s stuff. I get a lot of European artists who ask me to feature. So, I’m inspired by a lot of people.
CTS: You’ve overcome some physical disabilities to achieve your dreams. Any advice for others out there who may be trying to overcome adversity?
Keenan: My advice is this. Just go for it. Don’t worry about what others are going to say, don’t worry if you look different, talk different or if you’re taller or shorter than everyone. The world is filled with unique people and you just have to do what’s in your heart and don’t worry about what the others will say. Life is too short.
CTS: What’s next for Keenan Cahill?
Keenan: I am heading to France today. I am performing in Argeles del Mur for the 10th Anniversary of the AXE Boat concert with a lot of amazing artists. I’ve got a one-hour documentary that is airing across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It will hopefully air soon in the US. My second single ‘Back To Us’ with Mayra Veronica will be coming out in September or October. I am going back to School in 3-weeks for my Junior Year of High School. And, I’m still promoting ‘Hands Up’ and we’ll hopefully be shooting the music video very soon.
Check out Keenan‘s website: KeenansRoom.com