Dream on a deadline
Feb 15, 2024
Season 9

Dream on a deadline

How do you keep your dream alive when it’s draining all your money?

Kashy Keegan dreamed of being a pop star, and he knew it would take hard work. He grew up in a working class family in Worthing, England. Throughout his teens and early twenties, he lived with his parents, worked multiple jobs, and spent everything he earned recording songs in a studio. Over the years, he spent tens of thousands of pounds without earning a single cent. It wasn’t a sustainable way to live, so Kashy set a deadline for himself: if he didn’t catch a break by 25, he’d quit music. 

At 24, Kashy was beginning to lose hope. He’d been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a disability that visibly changed the way he walked. When Kashy looked at the people who made it as pop artists, none of them had a disability that he could see. But the thought of quitting music was devastating. Music had always felt like his best friend. As he was nearing his deadline, he poured all his frustration into a song called, “This is My Dream.” The words just flowed: This is my life / this is my dream / this is the reason my heart beats. / I’d rather fight / each day of my life / than give up belief.

Kashy Keegan performing “This is my dream” in 2013.

As much as Kashy believed in those words, he stuck to his deadline. After he turned 25, Kashy  quit music and established a more stable career. And then, five years after he’d left songwriting behind, he got an email that a TV station in Hong Kong wanted to buy “This is My Dream.” Suddenly, he was back in the music game. But the deal would change his life in ways he couldn’t possibly have expected.

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This is Uncomfortable February 15, 2024 Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.


Reema Khrais: Ever since he was little, Kashy Keegan had just one dream. 


Kashy Keegan: So it, the dream was to be heard, you know, for, for someone to listen and, and, . And, and I wanted to do it as a, as a career, right? I wanted to be a recording artist.  And that is a big dream obviously


Reema: When he was in his early 20s, he put everything into music… all his money, his time. 


Kashy: I didn’t socialize at all. When I wasn’t working, I would be in my parents living room writing songs


Reema: He was living with his parents in England and working in a hospital. Some of that money went towards helping them with their bills and mortgage. And everything else went towards making songs. He’d rent out a recording studio that had discounted rates for a very specific reason.

Kashy: the studio, it was a converted toilet, actually, in um ya. It was called The Loop Hole. Uh, but initially, I thought he said the loo hole.


Reema: Kashy didn’t have a lot of knowledge of the music industry. His dad was a postman, and his mom worked in a factory. So his goal was just to get his music in front of as many people as possible. 


He’d rent the studio for about 50 dollars an hour and each song would take at least 12 hours to record.


Kashy: so you can see how quickly…


Reema: It’s a lot


Kashy: ..it adds up.


Reema: Yeah. So wait,12 hours, 50… That’s like, what, like 600 [a song]


Kashy: yeah, I would trust your maths, because mine is terrible.


Reema: He’d record demos and send out CDs, and he’d also upload all of them to a website called Reverb Nation, in hopes of a record company discovering him there. 


Over the years, he’d written hundreds of songs, but had never earned a single cent from any of them.


Kashy: with every song, you know, I was putting on more pressure, I guess, on myself, right? This has to be the one and, you know, please God, you know, uh, because how long can I sustain this? And it does come down to money, right?


Reema: By the time he was in his mid-twenties, Kashy had spent more than 60,000 pounds on his music with all the extra money he’d earned on odd jobs.    


Kashy: I was painfully aware that this couldn’t go on forever and so I did, you know, I set myself a deadline.


Reema: Oh, really? What was the deadline?


Kashy: Well, it’s if by the age of 25, if I hadn’t got a break, then I would give up.


Reema: As Kashy neared that deadline, he could feel himself resisting. He didn’t want to give up. In 2008, a year before his 25th birthday, he remembers being at home one night, feeling defeated. So he started channeling those emotions into a song…


 Kashy: I can still, to this day, I can picture it in my head, sitting at that key keyboard on the floor and I had just, I think it was the, the sort of anger and the frustration was just coursing through me. And it was just released. 

Yeah, it was just a, it was a release.


Reema: The lyrics poured out of him. Forget about clever wordplay or poetic subtext, no these lyrics were as direct as they could be. He wrote about chasing your dreams no matter the cost. He called the song, “This is my dream.”


Kashy: so the chorus goes: This is my life, this is my dream, this is the reason my heart beats. I’d rather fight each day of my life than give up belief. This is my heart, this is my soul, this is the only love I’ve known. My will to try grows weaker with time, but I won’t give in, cause this is my dream.


Reema: The song feels like the poetic equivalent of sitting in your car and screaming at the top of your lungs. And in fact, when Kashy first started to practice it, he’d scream the lyrics into the void. He’d go to his favorite place, a pebbly beach by his house on the southern coast of England. 

Kashy: yeah, I would often go down there just sitting on the  pebbles, contemplating, um, staring at the sea.


Reema: It was usually empty, no around to hear him practicing


Reema: Do you have headphones in? And so you’re just belting as you’re listening to the music.


Kashy: yeah, with just free, free abandon.


Reema: Singing the song, he’d think of all the obstacles he’d faced, of all the people over the years who’d gently told him: maybe it’s time to try something else. 


Kashy:  my mom was a realist, a pragmatist, and she was quite adamant about me getting jobs and being in the real world.


Reema: Then there was his dad. The day after Kashy wrote the song…he’d gone to the LoopHole studio to record the demo, and his dad picked him up afterwards. 


Kashy: We played it in the car on the way back, and my dad, who… I mean, he was my rock, he was my true champion, the one who really supported me. He would drive me to and from the studio, on top of working his, uh, crazy shifts and things.


But I remember with that song, he said to me, this is the one. He said, this is the one. But yeah, I just, I came back from the studio and then I, I uploaded it and there it sat basically on that website.


Reema: Just like with every other song… radio silence. So months later, when Kashy turned 25, he made the pragmatic choice. He gave up. 


I’m Reema Khrais and welcome to This is Uncomfortable…a show from Marketplace about life and how money messes with it.  


Kashy’s decision to quit music was a practical one that a lot of people can relate to. The chances of making it, like really making it, in certain creative careers, it can feel like one in a million. A Pew survey found that only 8 percent of working musicians made all their income from music.


And when you’ve been trying for long enough, chasing those dreams can take a real toll on you. It can make a person bitter…burnt out… and broke. 


The thing about creative fields though is that …yeah, talent can get you far, but a lot of it also comes down to timing and luck. 


Kashy may have given up, but he couldn’t have known that years later, he’d finally get a big break… in the most unpredictable way. 


Kashy: Music was, uh, I just think it’s always been like a lifelong friend. I was quite a lonely child, to be honest.


Reema: Kashy grew up in a place called Worthing. It’s a retirement town in southern England nicknamed “God’s Waiting Room.” So as you can imagine there weren’t many kids, and the ones he did know didn’t always understand him. 


He was terribly quiet, you could barely get any words out of him. From a young age, he took that loneliness he felt and made it into poetry.


Kashy: I remember writing, probably my first poem was called “I am a raindrop trapped in the cloud.” 

Reema: aw 

Kashy: Yeah, uh, I found it a few years ago and, and read it again and my goodness, um, talk about cringe


Reema: He wanted to be the next George Michael or Elton John. The fact that Elton John grew up just down the road from him made the dream feel that much more possible.


Kashy begged his parents for piano lessons, so his mom found a friend of a friend who could teach him for an affordable price. 


He went on to attend a music college and began performing with friends at local talent nights. He loved being on stage, even though it was terrifying. He was a trained musician with a lot of heart and ambition, but what if all people could see was this guy on stage going red in the face because he was worried how he came across?  


And then when he was in his early 20s, he had a new reason to be self conscious. One day at work, his coworker noticed the way he walked was similar to her son’s who had cerebral Palsy. Kashy would lift up his knees when he’d walk, sort of like he was marching. 


Reema: Had you ever noticed that?

Kashy: Well, I hadn’t and I just thought that was the way I walked. The only thing when I was younger is that when I was walking to school, I would walk down a hill. But I would notice the sound of my feet on the pavement was quite loud, like, slapping, like slapping. And I used to joke to myself because it was quite early in the morning, that I was like a neighborhood alarm, waking people up, as I went along.

Reema: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. It’s me coming down the hill.

Kashy: yeah. 


Reema: Kashy looked into it. He was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth, a neurological condition that makes it progressively more difficult to walk as the brain loses its ability to communicate with the legs. 


Kashy began to notice people staring at him in the streets. He wondered if they were thinking about his walk. And then night one he had a performance with friends. 


Kashy: I do remember someone making some comments about the way I was walking, uh, and they said that I walked like an ostrich. Um I can picture them sort of mimicking it, acting it out.


Reema: Kashy tried to brush it off. But the image kept coming back to him. 


Kashy: certainly in the years since, um, it haunts me somewhat.


Reema: When Kashy looked at the people who’d made it, at the pop stars on MTV and on billboards… none of them had a disability, from what he could tell. 


By the time his 25th birthday rolled around, his self-imposed deadline, it became clear that it was time for him to quit.  He stopped making songs, stopped going to the LoopHole and he began pursuing journalism – a career he’d always been interested in and back in the early 2000s was relatively stable and lucrative.


Kashy: And for the first time in my life, music really wasn’t, you know, my own music career wasn’t really on my, on my mind or in my, my priorities.


Reema: He had a new life as a journalist, working at a radio station. It was a slog: he commuted four hours each day between the office in London and Worthing. He was tired all the time, but at least it was consistent work.  


Then one day, while he was at his desk, something unexpected happened. 


Kashy: So it was 2012, I was 29. 

Reema: So four years had passed? Ok. 

Kashy: Yeah. 


Reema: It was lunchtime. He was listening to music, scrolling on his computer…


Kashy: And then I was just checking my gmail account and then completely unexpected there was an email from Reverb Nation.

Reema: Oh And had you ever gotten an email from them?

Kashy: no, never.


Reema: You’ll remember Reverb Nation is the website where he used to upload his music with the hopes of being discovered. In that email, a manager from the website told Kashy that they’d been contacted by Universal Music Publishing in Hong Kong 


Kashy:and that they were interested in one of my songs, “This Is My Dream.”

Reema: The song?

Kashy: Yeah.


Reema: This publishing company wanted to use his song for HKTV, a Hong Kong TV network. They thought it’d make a great theme song for a reality game show that’s kind of like Survivor or Amazing Race


Reema: What are you thinking as you’re reading this email? What’s going through your head? 

Kashy: It was complete disbelief. It was like an “oh my god” moment. Is this really, you know, happening to me? It’s just weird how you know  the universe, the world works sometimes in that way. Cause, because when I wanted it, it was, it was nowhere to be found. 


Reema: Sitting there at his desk, he wondered what this might mean for him now that a door was finally cracking open…


Kashy: So, yeah, and I couldn’t wait to kind of… Wedge my foot in that door and force it open if need be! So yeah, I was excited, I was hugely excited.


Reema: After the break, “This is My Dream” takes on a whole new meaning…




Reema: The TV network in Hong Kong paid Kashy about $5000 for his song…not enough to change his life or quit his job, but it was $5000 more than he’d ever made from music. He’s pretty sure he spent most of it on new clothes.


The money was one thing. But what happened next did change his life. 


One day, after Kashy got home from work, he noticed that his phone kept buzzing, he was getting one notification after another


Kashy: So I thought something’s going on…


Reema: The alerts were coming from his Youtube account.


Kashy: Uh, so I clicked on them, and then it led me to these videos. It was more than one, and I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing.


Reema: The videos were all shot from people in Hong Kong who appeared to be at the same event, it kinda looked like a protest.


Kashy: And it was in the streets of Hong Kong, it looked like central Hong Kong, and there were large groups of people, I’m talking thousands, and they were… There was somebody on a loudspeaker, like, chanting and shouting things out.


Reema: They weren’t speaking English so he didn’t understand. But he did pick up on one thing: in the background of all this, he could hear a song playing… It was his song, “This is My Dream.” 


Kashy: The people were waving their phones in the air with the lights on, and I saw a few of these videos and I was like, wait what is going on? So at that point, I literally run downstairs to my parents, and I think I was a little bit sort of squealing with excitement. I was like, you know: “Come on, come and take a look at this. You’ll never believe it!”


Reema: So it’s just crowds of people and they’re chanting your song, “This is My Dream”?


Kashy: Yeah, well they were playing the song on a loudspeaker, and I didn’t know quite what was going on, so I typed in “protest Hong Kong,” and then it led me to an article on BBC, the news website. And it had said that, um, the TV network, HKTV, had not been granted their broadcast license.

Reema: Oh.


Reema: So you’ll remember HKTV is the network that bought Kashy’s song to be the theme music for a reality game show. Well, the government had apparently rejected HKTV’s application for a broadcast license, even though they had promised to grant it. And now protesters in Hong Kong were angry. 


And just to give this a little more historical context, of why this was a big deal… it’s because for decades, the British Empire ruled Hong Kong, but in 1997 it handed over this area to China and made Hong Kong a special administrative region. And part of the deal of this handover was that Hong Kong would have some political autonomy. It’d be able to keep the freedoms that those in mainland China don’t have, basically operating as “one country, two systems.” 


And so the government not granting HKTV its broadcast license, to protesters that seemed like an obviously political decision. 


Kashy: I think they were fearful that Beijing was clamping down on those freedoms, those civil liberties that they’d been promised. And I think by not allowing the TV network, to have the broadcast license, it was seen as a sign of that: that this was a threat to their cultural expression.


Reema: At the time – this was in 2013 – Hong Kong’s TV offerings were pretty slim. There were only four channels to choose from, and people complained the shows were basic and boring. HKTV was supposed to be an answer to that, this new home for creative freedom in Hong Kong. And now that dream was on hold. 


And so Kashy’s song “This Is My Dream”’ had become a rallying anthem for protesters. The lyrics were a perfect fit. 


Kashy: This is my life, this is my dream, this is the reason my heart beats. I’d rather fight each day of my life than give up belief. 


Reema: Protesters in Hong Kong dreamed of a life where Beijing didn’t encroach on their freedoms, and it was something they were going to keep fighting for. 


In Hong Kong, it’s not unusual for songs to become protest anthems, but for Kashy seeing so many people take up his song was confusing and thrilling. 


Kashy: but little did I know that that was gonna be the actual beginning of it, really. Uh, because the song was taking on a whole new life, right?


Reema: When you create something, you imagine – or at least hope – it’ll resonate with people. But you don’t expect it’ll become the unofficial soundtrack inspiring thousands of free speech protesters.


Kashy: So each time they would, uh, hold a rally, they would play that song. Yeah.

Reema: Wow.


Reema: And then, hours after watching the videos, Kashy got another surprise. He got a message on Facebook from the workers union at HKTV. They asked him…


Kashy: why not come and perform the song? Right? And, uh…


Reema: what, what was your response? What went through your head?


Kashy: I just, a million things were racing through my head at that point


Reema: Kashy was out of practice as a musician. Plus, he had a job and a life…how would his bosses react if he told them he had to take an unplanned trip to Hong Kong??


Kashy: And then I went to work the next day and I, I did tell my colleagues about the situation. 


Reema: His coworkers didn’t even know he ever made music… 


Kashy: I said look I showed them the videos.

Reema: hmm. They’re probably so confused.

Kashy: Yeah, cuz I’m I’m I’m an introvert and I’m very quiet. 


Reema: Kashy was 30. It seemed unlikely he’d get a chance like this again. It was a Tuesday when the organizers asked that he come perform. By Thursday night, he was on a plane to Hong Kong, feeling the most excited he’d ever been, and the most terrified  

Kashy: The biggest show I’d done prior to that point was, um, A Battle of the Bands in my local theater.

Reema: okay,

Kashy: And that was not many people, to be honest, around 30? So there was panic. Because, um, I was thinking, can I still actually sing this song? Because it was written quite high, in a high key, because I was reaching for it to give it that sort of, you know, fighting for it, sort of that sort of sound.


Reema: Plus he wasn’t sure how much the trip would pay off. The protest group had agreed to pay for his lodging but not for his flight. Even so, he had his fingers crossed that the trip might open doors and end up paying for itself, 


Because as the song was gaining political meaning in Hong Kong, it was gaining commercial success as well. It was number 13 on Hong Kong’s iTunes singles chart.


Kashy: I was just like, wow! Because there was some other big artists on there like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and that. And there was Justin Bieber on there and

Reema: So you’re just like your name is like sandwiched between like Lady Gaga…

Kashy: Yeah.

Reema: and Katy Perry.

Kashy: So that was just funny to me. It was just like, you know, little old me come from nowhere, from obscurity, and all of a sudden, um, yeah, it was…

Reema: That is so bizarre. That’s amazing.


Reema: After the 13 hour long plane ride, Kashy landed. The organizers greeted him at the airport with flowers and a limo. He looked out the window on the way to the hotel.


Kashy: All these super, super tall buildings, gleaming skyscrapers. And I came from flat Worthing retirement town, right? And this is the furthest I traveled in my life at this point.


Rema: So then you get to the hotel, you sleep, um, do you perform the next day?


Kashy: Um, well no, I performed that very night.


Reema: Wait, what? Wait, wait. You get off the plane and…


Kashy: Yeah, yeah, because I, I’d left on the Thursday. By the time I got off the flight it was already Friday afternoon in Hong Kong. 


Reema: Oh wow. 


Reema: He was being shepherded from place to place, meeting people, shaking hands, – getting his pictures taken. It all felt like a blur. And then, before he knew it, they were taking him to the venue to perform. He kept thinking, will I even be able to sing this song well? Are people going to make fun of the way I walk? 


Kashy: my walking gate, whether people would pick up on that, whether it would become a distraction, because I didn’t want people to focus on that.


Reema: The stage is set up outside of Hong Kong’s government headquarters in an area known as their Civic Square. I’ve watched videos from this night. The place, which is as big as a concert venue, is packed. Kashy would later find out that there were 30-thousand people waiting for him to sing.  There’s a big media pit by the front of the stage, just dozens of people with nonstop flashing cameras. Meanwhile, Kashy is waiting in the wings. He looks poised in his navy cardigan. But his heart is pounding. He takes deep breaths and then he walks out as he hears his introduction: “He’s flown all the way from the U.K. to support us tonight.” 


Kashy: I can see some of the crowd. Um, not all of it.

Reema: how big is it?

Kashy: Uh, as far back as my eyes could, could possibly see and then some.

Reema: woaah


Reema: There are big TV screens that blow up his face, so everyone can see him clearly. It’s a far cry from the small pubs where he’d performed in England. Before he sings, Kashy is standing in the middle of the stage with the presenter. 


Kashy: I just stood there, I guess perhaps a bit like a deer in the headlights, to be honest

Reema: yeah like what do I do? Do I smile? 

Kashy: Yeah what am i doing…


Reema: The presenter on stage starts asking him some questions


Kashy: The thing the only thing I can remember from that interview is we had rehearsed this one phrase in Cantonese that I was gonna say. It translates as I support you, and it was something like “teng le” or something like that, right?But when, when it came down to it, when it, I, I got it completely wrong. So the whole crowd erupted in laughter. But it, it broke, it broke the ice a little bit. Um, yeah.


Reema: And then it was time to sing. The backing tracks came on but Kashy didn’t actually hear it. 


Kashy:  because it was so loud, noisy with the crowd and everything, so I think I missed the first line of the song and then quickly sort of, you know, rushed into it from, from stumbling into it. And, um, and then after that it was just, you know, I was in the song, I was performing it


[concert footage]


Reema: The energy he’d felt by that pebbly seaside back at home, when he’d just written the song, that feeling of total release, it overtakes him as he sings onstage. Thousands of people are swaying back and forth, waving their phones’ flashlights against the dark sky.


Kashy: I just felt the adrenaline, and my heart was going. It was pumping, I felt alive.

Reema:  And are people singing along with you?

Kashy: Yea, because the lyrics were coming up on the big TV screens that they

Reema: Oh, wow.

Kashy: There was something about this song, maybe the passion in it, the kind of fighting spirit that resonated with them. When I finished the song, I couldn’t wait to do it again.

Reema: Oh,

Kashy: Yeah, I just wanted to do it again. Um, it was um…

Reema: Wow. That’s,

Kashy: …instant high.


Reema: As soon as he got off stage, the team from the TV network took him to the press pit


[archival video] Reporter: Do you, are you afraid of the repercussions that the Chinese government give you because now you supporting Hong Kong television, and they might not like you? 


Reema: Ut felt like he was on the red carpet with the media peppering him with questions (FC) and snapping even more pictures. He was in a daze as he got back to the hotel, his phone was flooded with thousands of Facebook requests and messages. 


Kashy: someone sent me a screenshot and it was the iTunes chart, and there it was at number one. So it was above, you know, those artists that I mentioned earlier.

Reema: that’s wild! 

Kashy: So that was a pinch yourself moment for sure. Yeah, um, and then I definitely wasn’t getting any sleep that night.

Reema: You’re number one on the charts. That’s unbelievable.


Reema: Even after talking with Kashy about all of this, it still does feel pretty unbelievable. 


But at the same time, there is something about the song that just drills into your subconscious. Like when I first heard it, I thought it was ok. But then after hearing it multiple times, I’d randomly find myself humming the melody while doing the dishes or just full on singing it around the house. It is catchy. The way it builds, the way it invites you to belt along. I don’t know much about what makes a song infectious, but Kashy seems to have cracked the code. 




Reema: A few days after the concert, Kashy traveled home to Worthing and returned to normal life. It didn’t feel the same. 


Kashy: I went to work, but, uh, and initially they celebrated it and everything, and they were really pleased for me, and I think in disbelief. I showed them the, obviously, the footage, which was on YouTube by that point. They could not believe it, uh, such a contrast to who I was in the office


Reema: His coworkers were supportive, but Kashy could tell that his employer wasn’t. 


Kashy: Well, who do you want to be? Are you a journalist, or are you this singer songwriter on the other side of the world, you know?


Reema: Kashy’s employer ended up not renewing his contract. 


Reema: And so when you lost the job, did it, did you feel like it still was worth it to have that moment in Hong Kong?


Kashy: Um, yeah. Well, yeah, I mean, because it was priceless. It was, it was still priceless to me and you know, real sort of once in a lifetime opportunity… that money couldn’t buy.


Reema: Kashy thought about it. Music was all he’d wanted to do in life. England had never really given him a chance. And now, he’d even lost his back up career. 


Kashy: All signs were pointing towards going back to Hong Kong.

Reema: Oh interesting.

Kashy: and that I would give myself a deadline: I would go back for three months, try and leverage what had happened with the song to try and get a record deal.

Reema: You love deadlines.

Kashy: yeah.


Weeks after the performance, in the winter of 2013, Kashy returned to Hong Kong hoping to get a record deal. It was daunting. But he’d made a friend. Eva. She’d seen his picture when he’d first appeared on local news in Hong Kong. 


Kashy: And then that led her to my Facebook page where she heard one of my songs called “Believe in You.” So she didn’t actually know “This Is My Dream.”


Reema: Kashy was amused that she gravitated towards one of his lesser known songs 


Kashy: And she was going through a rough time at work, um, and was close to giving up. And she heard the song, and in that instant, it actually, she told me it made her cry. Um, so she sent me a message. And it stood out to me because it was different, there was real heart behind it.


Reema: Before Kashy arrived back in Hong Kong, Eva had organized a crowd funded concert for him. Things between them got very intimate very quickly. Eva gave Kashy a Chinese name. 


Reema: What is it?

Kashy: uh, um, KEI GA HANG.

Reema: Hmm.

Kashy: it means “pray permanent home.” Pray permanent home. And she was basically she was hoping that that Hong Kong would become a place where my music would be taken into people’s homes and that it would become more of like a permanent base for me. 


Reema: With Eva’s help, Kashy did get a record deal. But it wasn’t enough for a lasting career in music. These days, he’s working as a journalist again. 


He tried everything he could think of to really make it in Hong Kong: recording a song in Cantonese, paying to make his own music video, he’s even done some infomercials. But the thing that launched his musical career ended up being a kind of kryptonite. Because his song was the anthem of an anti-government protest, he lost some opportunities. Like, he says some radio stations refused to play his music. 


But the one record deal he did get, combined with the money from iTunes, it was enough to break even with everything he’d spent over the years making music. 


And the name that Eva had given to Kashy would become true in a way. Because Hong Kong would become his home. And Eva would become his wife. 


Reema: Reflecting back on everything, do you feel like you’ve had a successful music career?


Kashy: Yes and no. Yes in the sense that it was, you know, the song, at least I had  one song that did something and was part of something much bigger than just me and my dreams um so I take that to heart. I’m very proud of that song. It’s a beast of a song, and it was honest. I lived it. Even famous artists, they tend to have like a signature song, or a song that they’re most remembered for, or known for. And people talk about one hit wonders in a very derogatory way, but I think it’s better to have one than none.

Reema: Of course, Kashy wishes he could make a living off his music. There’s still a way that his dream is escaping him.


HKTV’s dream would also never be complete. It gave up the fight for a broadcast license in 2018 and became an e-commerce platform instead. And the protests in 2013, they paved the way for bigger political demonstrations in Hong Kong. 


But the way Kashy’s song changed his life, the way it became so meaningful for so many people, he can still appreciate the poetry of that. Kashy remembers practicing “This Is My Dream” on that pebbly beach back home. 


Kashy: I could see the horizon. I used to think, you know, what’s beyond that horizon and will I ever get there? You know, what’s, and, and… I did. In that moment, you know, I was on the other side of the world. I was, yeah, that was the dream, and it was real, at least for that moment in time.


Reema: Alright that’s all for our show this week.

As always, if you want to reach out, you can shoot me and the team a note at uncomfortable@marketplace.org, we love hearing from you all. 

Also don’t forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter if you haven’t already. There’s always great recommendations in there for things to cook or listen to or watch. You can sign up for that at marketplace.org slash comfort. 

And one more thing before we go…we would love to hear from you all for an upcoming episode we’re working on about financial confessions! Do you have a confession that’s too juicy not to share? Like, maybe you pretended to be in love with something when really you were just in love with their money. Or maybe you lied about your financial status to fit in. Or I don’t know, maybe you have a sneaky trick to avoid getting stuck with the bill. Whatever your confession it is, no matter how small, share it with us and we might include you on the show. You can email us at uncomfortable@marketplace.org, or you can call and leave a message at 347-RING-TIU. That’s 347-746-4848.


Hannah Harris Green: This episode was lead-produced by me, Hannah Harris Green and hosted by Reema Khrais. We wrote the script together. 

The episode got additional support from Alice Wilder and H Conley. 

Zoë Saunders is our senior producer.

Our editor is Jasmine Romero

Our intern is Marika Proctor. 

Sound design and audio engineering by Drew Jostad.

Bridget Bodnar is the Marketplace’s Director of Podcasts

Francesca Levy is the Executive Director of Digital.

Neal Scarborough is Vice President and general manager of Marketplace.

Special thanks to Professor Tommy Tse from the University of Amsterdam… and Marketplace’s Jennifer Pak.

And our theme music is by Wonderly.


Reema: Alright we’ll catch y’all next week. 

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The team

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