Today we’d like to introduce you to Keili Fernando.
Keili, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Sure thing! So, my creative passions are in three areas—music, photography, and film—but my foundation has been key throughout my whole story.
My family instilled in me at a pretty young age that it’s okay to share what I’m experiencing and feeling through a creative outlet. I’m half Filipino and half Chinese, so being exposed to two cultures growing up made family gatherings pretty memorable. We had the karaoke machine out regularly, and no family gathering was complete without a group photo. I started writing songs shortly after my aunt taught me how to play her acoustic nylon string guitar, and I followed my mom’s footsteps in writing poetry. As for camera work, my parents gave me my first camera when I was in kindergarten. They were the family historians, so I was exposed to storytelling through photos and videos most of my life.
In 2018, I established KLiF Productions and released my debut EP ‘411’. It was a milestone year for me. With the help of my good friends and family, I was able to go on tour and produce music videos for most of the songs on my record, the latest being “Before I Reminisce.” I love the collaboration process of creative works. You can see that in the behind-the-scenes videos that my team and I put together. Here’s the one for the latest music video, which was a collaboration project with Spirinity Productions: https://youtu.be/LxmwSguokqQ.
Has it been a smooth road?
With establishing and running a company, it’s like anything new. There’s a learning curve—there’s discovery, then it’s awkward, then it becomes normal, and then it stabilizes. I’ve had to learn quickly and on-the-job. I’ve had to develop a really thick skin, since I’ve been put down and turned down due to of various reasons over the years. Unfortunately, this has included how I look and sound, but I do my best to not let it get the best of me. I’m a firm believer of “when one door closes, another one opens” and “everything happens for a reason.” Overall, I think my journey has been as smooth as it can be, and I’m just grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. I’m generally a very positive person, and I focus most of my energy on the things that are important to me and making sure that I do my part in my community.
Recently, one challenge that I’ve faced is shedding more light on a non-profit that I’m involved in, called GROW Thailand (www.growthai.org). It’s a child sponsorship program for kids who live in an orphanage in Kae Noi, Thailand. With the program just launching, it takes some time to spread the word for this amazing cause led by an amazing couple, Justin and Kelli Neumann. This past summer, I led the photography and video efforts for creating the profiles of the kids. Hearing each of the kids’ stories was so heartbreaking, but they taught me a lot about what’s truly important in life. The joy and love that they shared with me are some things that I’ll never forget. Because of my team’s efforts, almost all of the children have been sponsored in just a matter of months! It’s projects and results like these that really affirms to me that I’m meant to do what I do.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
KLiF Productions is a production company based in Orange County and serves clients throughout the Southern California region. I always feel so honored to get the opportunity to help people capture special life chapters, whether that’s live concerts, engagements, welcoming a baby into the world, or producing a narrative video. I’ve done a wide variety of photo and video work over the past decade now. But what gets me up in the morning is being able to connect with others during the big and small life moments.
As a musician myself, I’ve naturally worked with a number of music artists. I’ve produced music videos, promotional content, and conducted countless photo shoots. My clients have shared with me that they appreciate how I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera and doing the whole music thing. I also have a marketing background, so I can give them strategy tips while building out their campaigns with them. I like to provide versatile photo and video options, so that my clients can use the assets across digital and print channels.
Aside from my music videos, I also do quite a bit of my own promotional photography for my music.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think we’re fortunate to be in Southern California. There is a lot of talent and opportunity here. A lot of people focus on how competitive the LA scene is, but I’m a firm believer that if you’re passionate about something and you believe you’ve found your calling, go for it. Just keep a good mindset and realistic outlook.
If someone is just starting out, I think it’s very important for them to do their research first and really figure out if they are in it for the long haul. There’s a certain level of resiliency that a person needs. I think they need to understand that it will take a lot of hard work and patience. It is really important to find a strong community of people to grow with too. The LA and OC regions have a lot of talented people who actually do want to support one another. I’ve found really great collaborators across various disciplines, and I’m constantly in awe of people’s innate talents.
I also would mention that the internet is a great place to start showcasing your talents and passions. There are so many social platforms and technological advancements now that one’s location doesn’t matter as much as it used to. It’s more about putting yourself out there. A lot of online personalities and social media celebrities have proven that the internet can really open doors. Most importantly, stay true to your genuine self.
- Website: www.keilifernando.com / www.klifproductions.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/keilifernando & www.instagram.com/klifproductions
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/keili.fernando & www.facebook.com/klifproductions
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/keilifernando
- Other: www.youtube.com/c/keilifernando
Ethan Talby, Lucas D. Miller, Nolan Valerio, Megan Ewbank, Shirley Fernando, KLiF Productions