Los Angeles-based by way of Dorchester, Massachusetts, Khamari's 2023 debut album  A Brief Nirvana was a captivating glimpse into the anxiety, heartbreak and hope of young adulthood, magnified through the prism of isolation amidst a global pandemic. His selections for the Record & Tape Exchange speak to the importance of family, home and constant dedication to his craft.

What song reminds you most of your childhood?

I would say any instrumental jazz, because when I was growing up my grandfather always played this jazz radio station in the US called Watercolors. They just play jazz from morning to night, and I would always hear it in my grandfather's car. It's one of the reasons I'm very inspired by jazz music.

What was the first physical record you remember buying?

It was probably Confessions by Usher, but I don't know if it counts because I didn't really buy it - I actually stole it from my parents. I had a Walkman that my mom gave me and I used to listen to that on the bus. It was the one thing that was interesting to me on their shelf, and I took it and never gave it back. I just played it endlessly. It’s one of those albums that is so consistent and every song is so good, but if I had to pick one, I would either say “Confessions” or “Superstar.”

What song is the best representation of your hometown?

For song that sums up home, I think a lot about “Sweet Caroline,” just because I know Boston love the Red Sox and that's the song that they all share.

What songs remind you of traveling to a specific place?

Thinking about traveling recently, probably “Window Seat” by Erykah Badu. It's one of my favourite songs that is always popping into my head, but it also is something that I always think about when I think about traveling. 


What song do you wish you had written?

Probably any song that Stevie Wonder has written. But if I had to choose one, I would probably say “As.” The lyrics are so simple but poetic. The music is incredibly colorful and it takes you on a journey, but all while being very digestible in terms of popular music. That skillset was very particular to Stevie.

Cassette - Songs in the Key of Life

What’s the best song to play at a house party?

I don't know that I've been to very many house parties recently, but I feel like “Love” by Keisha Cole gets the people going anywhere you go.

What song would you want played at your wedding?

Dang. Hold on, I need to get this one right. If I had to choose one song, “Don't Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House. I mean, it's just such a huge song. Honestly, I couldn't even tell you when the first time I heard it was, but it's definitely a song in the last couple years that I've gone back to and developed an appreciation for. Such a good song with a dope concepts.

You’re abducted by aliens, and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song you’re playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?

Can I pick an album? If they're nice enough to let me play a whole album, I'll pick Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. I feel like whatever species you are, you're going to enjoy that album.