Tastemakers in the creative industries: the world of Nuance Mag
Nuance's physical copy. Photo provided by Edwin Keeble
Edwin Keeble, a Sewanee native and multi-faceted creative, has jumped into the world of art curating many diverse projects throughout his life. His early music endeavors transformed into something much bigger when he created Nuance Magazine in 2018, an eye-catching and visually focused magazine that features musicians, artists, and industry creatives with an emphasis on being 'ahead of the curve.'

Edwin described his experience growing up in Sewanee, a rural town in Tennessee, as part of his original artistic influence. "I kind of lived in the middle of the woods. Like, you can't see a house from my driveway. I was in the sticks, you know what I mean?" Edwin joked in his interview with Composium. This small and secluded liberal arts community, along with his family background, allow him to blossom into the creative he is today.

With his dad being a music producer and professional drummer, and his mom a painter, it was inevitable that Edwin would have an artistic flair to him. He also points to influence from his grandfather, who was a prominent architect in Nashville. His artistic and design-focused family background was clear to him from a young age, and these influences were what inevitably led him to a future combining music, art, and design.

Music wasn't just everywhere Keeble looked — it was inside him from a young age as well. "I've played drums since I was in a diaper. And I taught myself how to play. You would think that as a professional drummer, my dad would teach me — but I taught myself," he noted. While completely self-taught in terms of instruments, his family no doubt influenced his music taste. Some of Keeble's first influences were hearing classic albums like "Supernatural" by Santana and eventually The Beatles.
"I didn't even know what rap was — I had an idea of what it was, but I was so sheltered because I grew up without cable. So just the records that my dad had were really my only knowledge of music."
While Edwin dabbled in making music himself, playing with friends in his dad's studio, and learning Logic X Pro skills, he never got fully into producing music. Instead, he more saw it as a way to experiment in the music world and foster a creative outlet for himself in his younger college years. As he put it, "By making music you're still involved in the artistic process independently. Because you're in the mind of a musician, even though you're not publishing at the scale of some artists."

While his current main focus is the magazine, Edwin still finds himself writing music. This passion was the very foundation of the magazine itself — and by continuing this, he is able to gain insight into the artistic experience while remaining passionate about the core of the platform.

I was curious about the transition of his passion for music from production to magazine creation, and Keeble explained to me that this was linked back to his experience in college. He initially went to college to study architecture at the University of Tennessee. While he continued down that path for around a year, he wasn't finding the same passion in architecture and design that he was in music. "I was struggling, but not because I wasn't good at it — I just wasn't passionate about it. I was still spending hours and hours making music in my room or doing studio time on campus. And I realized, well, obviously this is what drives me crazy," Keeble explained.

Straying from the fine arts degree that both of Keeble's parents suggested, he decided to pursue a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media Communications degree, with a focus on visual communication. This path allowed him to combine his graphic design skills with his passion for music, and soon Edwin started creating album covers for artists.

One day, YGTUT, a Chattanooga native, and well-known R&B/rap artist was asking for cover art submissions on Instagram. Keeble decided to send him a message, and the artist looked over his profile and liked what he saw. From there, Keeble sent over a submission for his album "Sleazy Money," and the artist made it the cover. Isaiah Rashad, (YGTUT's best friend) even ended up posting this submission on Instagram, and Edwin began to realize his passions for music, art, and design were not going unnoticed.
Photo of Edwin Keeble by Slater Goodson
Soon enough, Edwin realized he could channel his passion for graphic design, music, and discovering artists with his network to create Nuance.

Keeble teamed up with his friend Brendan Hayes, and the pair laid the groundwork for the site. While the magazine might have some influence from a traditional paper, its stylistic influence strays far from the norm. In the beginning, the magazine relied on Instagram to create a visual aesthetic. Edwin shared with me that the team attempted to create a 'grid' featuring tiles of a magazine cover to evoke a cohesive visual style within the feed. Each 'tile' makes up a section of a magazine cover, and each post features several photos — of more up-and-coming artists, or top picks from Nuance in music, art, and style for that week.

When Nuance was focused on digital copies, Keeble explained they would feature artists on the cover, and they would always ask if Nuance had hard copies — "Because, you can say, "I'm on the cover of a magazine," but until you're on the cover of a magazine, it's not the same," he explains.

Hence, Nuance made the shift from being available online only to making both physical and digital copies as of August 2020.
Nuance has featured over 100+ artists, from independent musicians, rappers, jewelry creators, contemporary artists, directors, and many more. Some of their features include artists such as Soccer Mommy, Blxst, and Briston Maroney. Not only does Nuance value the contributions these artists have in the creative industries they represent, but it allows its writers to channel their own artistic passions through many different outlets.

The platform features diverse work everywhere from interviews, opinion pieces, video and music reviews, to fashion pieces, and original video content. Nuance even offers its own YouTube channel including its cooking series, along with live music performances and video interviews. Straying from the norm of traditional music coverage, Nuance attempts to give its audience a behind-the-scenes look at artists that are on the 'backburner' within the industry, so to speak.

In this way, Edwin quickly realized the responsibility he had in creating Nuance. The platform was started for underrated artists who are not in the mainstream, in hopes to recognize them and give them the proper attention they deserve. And as the platform continues to grow, he keeps this notion at the forefront of the business.

My last question for Edwin was about the future of Nuance. While they currently represent many facets of the art world, Keeble sees Nuance transcending far beyond just these realms.
"There's a reason why Nuance is our title — because we want to find what's different."
One thing he emphasized was how the company is transitioning from being Nuance Magazine to just being 'Nuance.' In other words, Keeble sees Nuance as more of a cultural vehicle for insight on what's next — from fashion, film, music, technology, and more. He wants its writers to stay on top of the latest trends and spot trends to come.

Keeble also hinted at expanding the brand by including more facets such as a bigger line of merch and even elements of VR. Nuance is interested in utilizing new technology down the line, and including innovative ways to experience music, such as artist's panels and other interactive music spheres.

Another element that Nuance is interested in starting is a creative label. Keeble wants to sign all artists to his label rather than just musicians — utilizing Nuance for all of its creative assets. This would include visual artists, photographers, and videographers. He sees a future where creatives are outsourced through Nuance as they expand their brand throughout the next few years. "We're focused on supporting a creative community for people — because that's what's going to change the world," Edwin says.

Nuance already has the framework to make all of these ideas possible. With passionate writers, a team of producers and executives — including Keeble's creative direction, and a network of artists in music, film, and technology, the possibilities for this company are truly endless.
Anna Kuelling is a Composium Ambassador who is currently expanding her knowledge of film music by studying Music Supervision at UCLA.
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