If you’ve taken a bus in Gainesville in the last few weeks, you’ve likely seen a yellow flyer taped to the bus stops with the words “Kahnmanmusic” printed on them. Those flyers belong to Kevin Callahan, a 46-year-old salesman who decided to shift his focus and pursue a career in creating music.
About 14 years ago, before the birth of his eldest daughter, Callahan used to DJ throughout the Gainesville community. Then, he shifted to what became a decade-long career in business and sales.
“I used to DJ years ago, but my daughter’s mother — she was pregnant — so I quit drinking, quit DJing, and started selling and becoming a manager with a company,” he said.
While his career was stable, Callahan found himself falling into a routine. Frequently, after tucking his kids into bed, he would play “Call of Duty” at night to relax after a stressful day’s work. Three years ago, Callahan decided on a whim to download a PlayStation program for building and constructing music.
Although he can’t recall the name of the program, it taught him the basics of music structure at a childlike level, Callahan said. It was then that he developed a new hobby and began producing his own music.
Once Callahan learned to use programs and maneuver his way through making his first songs, he challenged himself by covering multiple genres and a buddy of his even challenged him to make a hick-hop track, which is a combination of country and rap.
“You know, I never even knew that I had any talent whatsoever other than spinning records and dance. I never thought to make music. I used to buy records instead of making my own songs,” he said.
At the end of last year, Callahan produced and released an electronic dance music album and two singles on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud and other streaming services. His entire production process took two months to complete as he wrote, recorded and edited the pieces in his home.
So, where do the yellow flyers come into play?
The Gainesville native said that he tapped into the old-school advertising technique he used to use as a DJ for the idea. He saw there was revenue being generated from the music he released online through iTunes, even without much advertising, Callahan said.
“I have a big crowd on SoundCloud. There’s no money on SoundCloud whatsoever, so I started advertising here in town,” he said. “You know Marshmallow succeeded because he had a fan base from Las Vegas where he used to be a club DJ. So, I was like ‘Okay, let me see if I can target this fan base here.’”
Callahan’s plan was to release an original track once a month, but once his advertising started to attract more people to his music, he promised his listeners a new song every week this year.
The flyers did their job, and for the past two months he has released a new single every Friday.
Now that he has started to a accumulate a listening base for his music, Callahan hopes to continue his growth in the music industry.
“I guess I’m after being a legend,” Callahan said.
He added that his goal is to make money to support his family and if he acquires more, to put it back into the community by teaching kids music.
Those looking to experience Callahan’s music can find it online at kahnmanmusic.com.
He said he is very excited to continue making music and said that he will continue covering every genre.
“It seems like it’s second nature. Like I was supposed to be doing it, it don’t matter what type of music,” he said.