Dance giant Shift K3Y shares his musical firsts, from performing at house parties with his bestie to meeting Stevie Wonder.

From his very first steps in the industry, Shift K3Y has been held up as one of dance music’s forerunners. Interchanging the genre with garage, pop, and R&B, his buoyant tracks have been always been instant winners.


Otherwise known as Lewis Shay Jankel, Shift K3y’s dropped his single “Touch” in 2014, which would go on to become platinum-selling and land him third place in the UK singles chart.


The producer, DJ, and singer-songwriter has since collaborated with Craig David and Stormzy, produced number 1 singles for Zara Larsson, Tinie Tempah, and Jess Glynne, and ramped up the volume with fresh singles with Tinashe – “Love Line” – and Becky Hill – “Better Off Without You”.


With a helping hand from Dillon Francis and Marc E. Bassy, Shift K3Y is back with “Love Me Better”, a track that has us restless for clubs to reopen. Now, Shift K3Y shares his musical firsts with Notion, from his first Usher CD to bouncing back from a career hit in full force.

First song you ever made?

The first actual song I ever made would be when I was 14. It was a rap song called “Solo”. It featured my best mate at the time and we performed it at house parties. It actually wasn’t bad, people used to enjoy hearing it.

First song you released officially?

The first song I released as Shift K3Y was a song called “Manage Ya” in 2011. It was my first Radio 1 play so I was pretty gassed about it.

First CD you owned?

First CD I owned would have been the “U remind me” single by Usher. It had the music video on there as well. This was closely followed by original garage anthems.

First time you realised you wanted to be an artist?

I wanted to be an artist fairly early on, maybe around 13.

First gig and first festival you went you? And the first one you performed at?

Like many people, my first festival was Reading and Leeds, in 2009. I think the first festival I performed at was Boardmasters in front of over 10,000 people.

First time you realised you were famous?

I only get recognised at gigs so not sure if that counts.

First instrument you owned?

The first instrument I owned was a Squire P Bass at about 12. It was a birthday present.

First time you felt like giving up?

In 2018 I got dropped from my label at the time and thought it was the end of the world. Two years later I signed to Virgin/Positiva and have been really happy with them since.

First time you felt starstruck?

When I met Stevie Wonder. He walked into my old studio at Sarm Studios. I still relive the moment regularly.

First time you heard your song playing somewhere?

My song “Touch” was absolutely everywhere on the radio and TV. That was the first song of mine to get proper air play.

Listen to "Love Me Better" below: