If Keaton Henson and SoKo were a little more famous, this year would have been all about their doomed relationship and crippling breakup in the tabloids everywhere. Being relatively little-known, their very public dialog went mostly unnoticed.
Initially, I thought it was some kind of weird indie publicity stunt. The whole story seemed too emotionally charged to be true. People don’t discuss their innermost feelings for each other in front of an audience. Or at least not so openly. But it looks like Keaton Henson and SoKo are doing it for real.
The messages had started two weeks before he published his debut LP titled ‘Dear…’ on April 4th. SoKo, young French singer-songwriter and actress, was asked to compile a mixtape for a music blog called Yours Truly. At the end of the tracklist she put the song ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ by Keaton Henson.
After the last chord SoKo added a short recording of her talking in a chipmunked voice: “I knew how lucky I was. Good bye now.” If that hadn’t been obvious enough, she also hand-wrote a letter to accompany the mixtape, addressed to a certain Kitten Handsome and signed as Yoko. It’s a long farewell to the lover who left her, full of bitter sadness and thinly-veiled reproach.
Seeing this letter, published for anyone to read, must have been quite a blow to Keaton. But he should have known better, after having released many deeply personal songs about his troubled relationship with SoKo. As a commenter wrote about ‘You Don’t Know…’: “imagine being the girl that hurt keaton henson enough for him to write this brilliant album for her, in dedication to his love for her.” Yes, that’s a burden for sure. Plus, comments like that aren’t the lightest reading for the girl mentioned.
So, when Henson’s debut got featured on Drowned In Sound, he felt the need to add a note: “sweetheart, i am so sorry that they can hear these songs. ever yours, Keaton”.
Since then, SoKo has been posting almost every video of Keaton on her public Facebook page, which has around 175k likes. So, it’s safe to say that she had a role in his success, and not only as his muse. In fact, many fans claim in blog posts and comments all over the web, that they discovered Henson via a link by SoKo. And along with those links, she never fails to share how she feels about him.
He, on the other hand, hasn’t yet confirmed the story directly, but did give a few subtle clues here and there. In May he, too, created a mixtape which featured ‘How Are You’ by SoKo as the last track. Unlike with the rest of the songs, he didn’t give a reason other than an enigmatic “Beacuse…”
Recently, he published a video for the song ‘Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us’. Actually, I knew nothing about him before, this was the point when I decided to research his backstory a little bit.
The video is but a huge cliche conceptually, still, it’s extremely effective because of the raw emotions that Keaton displays while attempting to lip-sync and failing miserably. This is either the finest acting ever in a music video, or the filmmakers unintentionally captured a perfectly sincere moment. My heart voted for the latter.
Perplexed, I started reading the comments, hoping they would help me decide if what I just saw was genuine. A few people suggested that it’s about SoKo. Someone pointed out that the line “You were the one who told me not to be so English” implied it’s about a foreign girl. It’s a vague hint, but a hint at least. Reading through his lyrics, I convinced myself that there were more hints like that, and together they added up to a description of someone very much like SoKo.
Finally, here’s what I believe to be a direct answer to ‘Sweetheart…’ The title is ‘Keaton’s Song’. I think she looks just as devastated.
Now, I may be wrong about many details, and my chronology is probably a mess. To be honest, I’m not even sure if this isn’t all just SoKo being a creative fan of Keaton, playing a clever game to make him more interesting. But I’d really like it to be for real.
I didn’t mean to gossip. I don’t think I did that. I just tried to collect what they shared about their private history, and it’s a lot. And I think it tells a lot. It tells a great story about a chronic introvert who baffles everybody by stepping into the limelight in his darkest moment, and his estranged lover who firmly keeps that light on him.
What kills me is the feeling of helplessness. Two sad kids, Keaton Henson and SoKo, writing and singing songs about how much they miss the other, both begging for forgiveness and a second chance, yet for some reason they can’t do anything about it. No matter how talented they are, I don’t really care about their music anymore, I just want them to be together and happy again. (If they ever were…)