Under the pseudonym kxvg, senior marketing major Kalonni Hurrel recently released his first full album titled "Going Nowhere Fast." Pronounced "king,” Hurrel's artist name takes inspiration from activist Martin Luther King Jr.
“My birthday is January 15, which is the same birthday as Martin Luther King’s birthday, so I just took XV which is the roman numeral 15 and put it in the middle of king,” said Hurrel.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s work toward racial equality inspired not only Hurrel’s alias, but also his outlook, especially as the Black Lives Matter movement expands. As a young African-American man, Hurrel has passionately supported the equal rights movement through social media and his music.
“I shouldn’t have to fight to vote or worry about my life being taken by an officer of the law when I’m outside,” said Hurrel. “I think the movement itself is beautiful and I hope to see the movement be more consistent as well its participants in the coming years. Don’t let the end of the elections steer us away from the community and/or the momentum we’ve already built.”
At the height of the pandemic and riots, Hurrel released “The River,” a song based on his current global outlook. To support the movement, he donated the song’s proceeds to a local Black organization.
“I wouldn’t say [the BLM movement] necessarily drove me to create or make any music in a different fashion. I did, however, make one song, “The River,” that sort of gave my perspective of the world during the time,” said Hurrel. “It was a song where I just give an outlook on things, not really politically driven toward a thing to be honest."
Aside from "The River," Hurrel has released 15 songs to major streaming platforms, most falling in to the Alternative/R&B genre. Recording original music is relatively new to Hurrel, who has been producing music for friends since high school.
“At first, I was just producing for other people, mostly local artists from L.A. I saw myself as a producer, but when I came to LMU I decided to branch out a little bit more and create my own stuff because I have more freedom to do so,” said Hurrel.
Music is not his only form of artistic expression, as he created all of his social media graphics and animations on his own with no prior graphic design experience.
“I just sat down, taught myself how to use Photoshop and figured out how to make cover art. I always like to make short teasers and cool graphics instead of just a simple photo saying ‘Hey, I’m dropping a song.’ I try to get people engaged,” said Hurrel.
As he entered his freshman year of college, Hurrel went through a tough breakup that ended up inspiring his first EP, "Gemini Spirit." His most recent album, "Going Nowhere Fast," holds the same messaging, acting as a continuation of his previous work.
“I worked on ["Going Nowhere Fast"] every single day of lockdown. I spent five, six, seven hours a day working on it,” said Hurrel. “I wanted to experiment a lot more. I want to branch out of my own comfort zone with the music because a lot of my favorite artists are relatively experimental.”
During the album’s creation, Hurrel explored his artistic style while also hoping to connect with listeners.
“One of my favorite artists is Choker, and I was reading an interview with him where he said what he wants people to take out of his music is whatever they need. That really pushed me to do the same,” said Hurrel. “Before I dropped this project, I went on Instagram and was like, "Hey, ask me any questions" and this one guy was like, ‘Who is the target audience?’ and I was like this is not my marketing class bro, relax [laughs].”
Although Hurrel does not have a dedicated target audience in mind, he believes "Going Nowhere Fast" is an album for all.
“This is for everybody, like I don’t care, whatever you want to take from it, however you want to take it — take it."