First on SoundCloud

Na-Kel Smith

Fall 2019

SoundCloud is a platform that allows artists to own their careers, and First on SoundCloud is a campaign that celebrates the DIY ethos of the brand’s creator community.

From first comment, to first collab, Na-Kel Smith is redefining the side hustle.

Every artist’s journey begins somewhere, and this Fall SoundCloud will celebrate these artist stories through First on SoundCloud, a brand campaign that captures authentic moments of creation, collaboration, and community of creators who got their start on SoundCloud.

Los Angeles native, Na-Kel Smith has been in the public eye since he was a teenager, gaining notoriety as a professional skateboard for Supreme and member of Odd Future. He has since collaborated with Adidas and starred in films like Mid-90s.

Na-Kel Smith got his start in music when his childhood friend, Tyler the Creator pushed him to cut a verse on his track Trashwang. From there he started regularly collaborating and touring with other members of Odd Future. Bringing a frenetic and chaotic style to his music is Na-Kel’s calling card.

“I am a skateboarder. I make my music in a way that skateboarders would. I know what gets me fired up”

While Na-Kel didn’t officially start making music until he was almost 20, music was deeply ingrained in his upbringing. He cites his parents, specifically his mother, as major musical influences. She was the “first person that put me on to Slayer, first person that put me on to any type of metal, or punk, or soul, or hip-hop”

“My dad put me onto some good songs, but my mom put me onto full genres”.

The style and pulse of Na-Kel’s skateboarding is clear by his musical output. The speed and accessibility and creativity are also clear.

“Sometimes you gotta drop that song in that moment. That’s my favorite thing about SoundCloud”.

The energy and excitement Na-Kel brings to everything he does is contagious and there’s no wonder he continues to be someone to watch as we look to 2020.

Listen to Na-Kel Smith

Creative Director: Reed Van Nort
Design: Reed Van Nort, Devin, Hobdy, Andrew Joseph
Photo: Jimmy Fontaine
Video: Razor Soft
Production: French Productions

At its core, First on SoundCloud is a campaign centered around discovery, elevation, and celebration of creativity and artistic expression.

In order to capture the truest representation of an artist's creative process and journey, we took a verité approach, embedding a skeleton production crew in the inner circle of the featured creators for a day.

Capturing the authentic moments of collaboration and community of creators and their crews is critical in positioning SoundCloud as the premier destination of artists to connect, create, and grow their careers.

Visually, the creative is raw and intimate. SoundCloud celebrates imperfection in an artist's creative journey, therefore the visual identity of this campaign is not clean, static, or sterile.

Ensuring the creative is accessible and flexible is central to the overall look and feel. SoundCloud users are always in motion and the imagery is a reflection of the bold and energetic spirit of the brand’s diverse community.

All these elements come together as a collage of video, photo, text, and handwriting, mixing the digital and physical to create something that is meant to feel grounded and authentic.