We first heard from Keili Fernando way back in 2020, upon the release of her pre-COVID tour documentary and single “My Esprit“. It has been a productive three-years since, for the multi talented SoCal creator. In that time the singer-songwriter, agriculture manager, and independent filmmaker has produced an award-winning body of work.
Over the last decade, Keili Fernando has produced a series of her own music videos, as well as original independent films covering topics from unwanted city graffiti to the immigrant experience. Her 2021 film “What’s Next For Me?” looked at how millennials are redefining success, and won numerous awards in the process. On her latest project, Keili is working both sides of the camera and microphone.
“The Seedling Song ” is the brand new single and video from Keili Fernando, released worldwide via all major streaming services on June 30, 2023. A mellow finger-picked acoustic guitar opens the track as the singer steps to the mic. The band joins in as the beat drops on a breezy indie-folk country waltz. Keili delivers a poetic sing-along ode to nature, using the lifecycle of plants as metaphor for personal growth and mindfulness.
Watch the beautifully shot scenes of idyllic Southern California in Keili Fernando’s “The Seedling Song” video below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Dive : Pop & Rock playlist, or listen on your favorite streaming service. We had the chance to chat with Keili Fernando. Read her answers to our 8 questions below. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.
Keili Fernando: The Seedling Song
8 Questions with Keili Fernando
Where are you from?
Keili Fernando: I’m based out of Orange County, California. I’m a SoCal native. I feel lucky to have grown up with a variety of different landscapes – beaches, mountains, deserts, and cities. Oh, and there’s a wide variety of foods too!
How long have you been making music?
I wrote my first song 16 years ago.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
First, there’s my brother, Tree Fernando. He and I grew up doing music together, and to this day, he’s always one of the first people to listen to my new songs. On The Seedling Song recording, he played the bass and piano. I’m also really fortunate to have some long-term friends whom I’ve grown up with – Alex Sanhueza and Emily McCandliss. Alex and I met in high school and stayed good friends over the years. He’s one of the most talented guitarists I know, and it’s always a fun time getting to collaborate with him. Emily and I met in church when I was about 13. She’s always cheered me on, and it was special to have her sing the harmonies. The guys at MAPS helped bring this song to life too; Mike Willson was the producer, and Shane Thompson was in the pre-production room lending a helping hand. I previously worked with MAPS for my 411 EP, and it was great to work with them again. Lastly, Dan Coutant from Sun Room Audio did the mastering. He’s wonderful and has worked with other indie artists whom I admire.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Looking at my Spotify right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of singer-songwriters and folk artists – Elina, Aly & AJ, Maggie Rogers, James Taylor, and Peter, Paul & Mary.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
I have a lot of “non-musical” influences in my life. Aside from photos, film, TV, nature, and fashion… hmm… probably mindfulness. I had the opportunity to speak with a brilliant and inquisitive professor named Jeremy Hunter a couple years ago. He introduced me to the wonderful and radiant Marcela Widrig, who has an amazing practice called Fierce Embodiment. Both of them challenged me to slow down, take stock of my mind, body, and soul, and ultimately, they helped me feel rooted again after a turbulent life chapter. I now approach my projects differently than I used to. If you have an hour to spare and are in an open headspace, I recommend checking out Jeremy’s podcast Untaught Essentials and listen to his episode with Marcela.
What inspired you to create this project?
I wrote this song while in my garden. My cousin’s toddler (my niece) came over to harvest carrots and pick berries with me. Watching her little face light up with so much delight and wonder made me remember how it was once so easy to live without a care in the world. As we all know though, we get older and that innocence dissolves into wisdom, and that wisdom is often passed down from generation to generation. To me, this song is a love letter to my niece, future generations, and even to my younger self. It’s about slowing down and recognizing all that we have to be thankful for in the present moment. It’s about empowerment, perseverance, and not forgetting about what we’ve learned from those who’ve come before us.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
Songwriting is an outlet for me, and if my songs can continue to impact others positively, I’ll certainly keep doing it. I have a couple other projects in the works that I’m excited about.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
My hope for this song is that listeners feel some sort of ease, comfort, and warmth while listening. I also hope they step outside to experience simple joys – feel the sunshine, dance in the rain, look up at the blue sky. Be curious about the world around you, and be kind to those who cross paths with you.