When sophomore Kelsang Shrestha arrived on campus this fall, he was added to the list of several DePauw students who have found musical success. Since his emergence, he has produced four official singles and two of them have over one million views on YouTube. He now has 40,000 subscribers on YouTube and 4,000 followers on Instagram, all while balancing the everyday stresses of academic life.
Shrestha grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal with two older siblings who were a part of his introduction into music. “My brothers played instruments, specifically the guitar and I would sing along with them,” Shrestha said.
With his brothers off to college when he was 15, he picked up the guitar his brothers left behind. A few months into teaching himself the instrument, he began songwriting. He was writing in English, starting with what he called “cheesy and cringey love songs.” He eventually shifted to writing in Nepali, his home language, and the topics and content of the songs were similar to his English songs.
Shrestha produced and released his first single at the age of 16. While pursuing his music career in Nepal, he received inspiration from local Nepali artists. “The music in Nepal is very traditional and it helped inspire me to continue my music career,” Shrestha said. Shrestha said one artist in Nepal that he looked up to is Sajjan Raj Vaidya. They make similar music and Shrestha has always looked up to him. Shrestha was recognized by the national papers and has opened for Nepali artists all across the continent.
Shrestha started his YouTube channel two years ago and has released four different videos. Each of his videos has a different main character other than himself, but he often makes small cameo appearances. The first video on the channel, Bujli Dai, received almost 500,000 views. A majority of the support came from other Nepali people, but that single started his consistent success. Since then, each of his videos have reached over one million views except his most recent single, Kuraharu, his favorite of his four singles.
Shrestha’s Instagram consists of a series of pictures and videos of him traveling and singing. He has pictures from performances, to videos of live acoustic performances in house.
One of Shrestha’s classmates, sophomore Eshaan Ansari, listens to his music. “I love his music! It’s very chill and relaxing,” Ansari said. Another classmate of Shrestha, sophomore Jack Rutstein is also a music artist and was excited when he met Shrestha. “It was cool to know there was another musical artist in my same class. He had a huge following and it inspired me,” Rutsein said.
Shrestha has six upcoming singles currently being mastered for release. He hopes to continue his work within the indie, pop and folk genres as he always has done. While making music is a passion he plans to continue, he emphasizes that his top commitment is furthering his academic studies of economics and environmental geoscience.