Kesha Lee is a name everyone will know soon enough.
Based in Atlanta, the audio engineer has worked with Migos, Pharrell Williams, Young Thug, Future and various big names in hip hop.
Lee recently spoke to The Fader about working behind-the-scenes, creating and mixing hits for some of music’s hottest rappers, and her memorable encounter with Williams.
Recalling a trip to Los Angeles, Lee told the publication, “I heard he was going. Sometimes these trips are kind of quick so I don’t go, but this time they ended up taking me.”
“I had already met him, but I never had worked with him or recorded him, I was just sitting in under his engineer Mikey… When we were there, when I heard Pharrell say he was going in the booth, I got up [for Mikey to sit down], but he was like, “No, you can record me.” So I sat back down. I thought that was so dope. It was cool to be able to actually record him.”
Lee has worked on recent hits like Lil Uzi Vert’s debut album Luv Is Rage 2 and Young Thg’s Easy Breezy Beautiful Thugger Girls and dropped nuggets for other women hoping to get into audio engineering.
“I definitely would tell them don’t turn down any session,” she said. “I don’t care how you feel about the location — I know I’ve recorded off a laptop before. I’ve recorded and not gotten paid. Don’t worry about money at first. I think a lot of people try to jump into something and worry about money and that hurts them in the beginning. Because even if it’s free, the payoff is later.”
“I think it’s important to understand what the artist wants. Just because you don’t understand it and it might not be art to you, it’s art period. If you can really understand what it is the artist is trying to do with their music, your job as an engineer is to take it to the places they’re trying to take it to. It can turn out to be amazing if you stay open minded.”