K’Saan Preston And Kailee Dishmon Perform At The First Student Concert Of The Semester

From soulful, evocative originals by freshman Kailee Dishmon to lively twists on fan favorites by junior K’Saan Preston, the LaHaye Event Space was ringing with a joyful noise on Feb. 9. 

The concert began with Dishmon’s acoustic set, featuring creative melodies and introspective lyrics.  

Dishmon is a freshman studying music education. She started making music in eighth grade, first on ukulele and then guitar.

Dishmon was introduced to performing through solo gigs and open mic opportunities. She’s always been accompanied by her brother Ryan, who plays guitar and helps her songs come to life. 

“I never wanted to be the center of attention,” Dishmon said. “It helped that my brother was with me.” 

She said that performances can be nerve-racking, but her gratitude for each opportunity overrides any anxieties.

Dishmon’s original inspirations were Grace Vanderwaal and Twenty One Pilots. Over time, however, her music tastes evolved, shifting to alternative and singer-songwriter artists. When it comes to lyrics and vocals, folk-pop writer Lizzy McAlpine is her role model. 

Unlike McAlpine, Dishmon does not tend to write song lyrics about her own life. Instead, she typically writes songs about hypothetical life experiences.

Her set at the Student Concert included five originals and one cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit single, “Driver’s License.”

Dishmon’s song, “Same Street,” talks about walking into a restaurant and seeing someone that you used to be with. Her other original, “Happy Again,” holds a special place in her heart as it speaks more personally to her experience with feelings of helplessness and anxiety.  

Although none of Dishmon’s music is streaming yet, she encourages listeners to stay tuned for new releases this summer. Her music will be available on all platforms under her full name, Kailee Dishmon. 

The main act of the night was LU junior K’Saan Preston, who burst onto the stage in a storm of red strobe lights, dynamic dance moves and high energy. 

His father’s pastoral role at the local church The Hope Company introduced Preston to choir and gospel at an early age.  

While worship music remains as a large part of his life due to his role on the Liberty Worship Collective, Preston is a fan of hip hop and R&B, with influences from Kirk Franklin, Maverick City Music, Stevie Wonder and perhaps his biggest inspiration, Chance the Rapper.

Preston said he tries to emulate Chance the Rapper’s energy whenever he is performing. When choosing his sets, he picks songs that will keep students focused on the stage.

Dishmon performed five original songs and one cover, all filled with soul.

“I’m not worried about how I sound. It’s not about me,” Preston said. “I just want [the crowd] to dance and have fun.”

Preston covered two of Chance the Rapper’s songs at the event, including “Sunday Candy” and “Same Drugs.” 

Preston also performed his first original song “Love M,” a groovy punk song written for his girlfriend. He debuted two originals: “Look at What You’ve Done,” an R&B song about a breakup, and “Halifax,” a country song named after his hometown. 

“There’s a rough side of town where people aren’t blessed enough to get out of the situation that they’re in,” Preston said. “And [the song] is about growing up and never forgetting where you’re from.” 

Preston explored this theme through a metaphor in the song’s lyrics: “Now I feel like the tallest tree / But I remember when I used to bend.”

Like many of his songs, these lyrics are inspired by life experiences.

“My great-uncle planted a tree for me right outside of our double-wide,” Preston said. “I used to watch it get tossed around by the storms. When I went back 10 years later, it was the tallest tree in the county.” 

Preston’s electrifying opening song, “2020 Freestyle,”was a nod to the difficulties of the past year with hope in the Lord for the upcoming one. 

“Everything can move people towards Christ,” Preston said. “(Ecclesiastes 9:10) says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ Just because it’s not a worship set doesn’t mean it’s not glorifying to God.” 

Although “Love M” is Preston only song released so far, he and producer T.J. Lawson are on track to release his latest original, “Look at What You’ve Done,” in the next few weeks. Preston’s songs will be available under the name K’Saan Preston on any musical platform.

The next Student Activities Concert will be on March 9 with Nolen Durham featuring KMO. 

Sonia Long is a Feature Reporter.

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