Dear Txkeout (Themi),

There are significant moments in life that are so special, that you can vividly recall exactly where you were when they occurred. One of mine is the first time we spoke. It changed the course of my life forever.

It was the lockdown period of 2020, one of the early ones where we were allowed out of the house to go to the gym. There I was – in between sets, socially distancing – when I checked my phone and saw a new DM from an account named B.R.B.

I get a lot of DMs from upcoming artists, but for some reason, this one stood out. Probably because of your approach, no different online from what I would soon experience in person. Polite yet direct. Calm yet charismatic. You showed love for AUD’$ and our work, explained a bit about yourself and the crew, and sent over some snippets for me to check out.

The name Brown Rich Boys instantly grabbed my attention. My excitement began to bubble realising other young Sri Lankan creatives were getting active in Melbourne and more specifically, that they were looking to connect with me.

I clicked on the snippets with optimism but without expectations. Little did I know my ears were about to be blessed with an ageless talent. The snippets were polished. Clean autotuned melodies. Vigorous flows. But more than that. There was soul in the sound. I remember doing a double-take. Grinning from ear to ear. My heart race increased. I got butterflies in my stomach. This is the feeling every A&R or manager hunts for. This was different. There was something unique. Bigger than just music, like a timeline had shifted.

I’d only had this specific feeling on one other occasion in my life. When I heard a kid named Laroi for the first time. He turned out okay. But the truth is, at such an early stage of your career, this was even better.

I hit replay. Then I hit reply. More than just a professional network. More than a friendship. A brotherhood I will value for eternity.

Txkeout at home in his bedroom studio in Melbourne’s South-East where he would spend most of his time.

You packed a lifetime into your short years, and I was blessed to be along for some of the ride. Perhaps that’s why your energy was so one-of-a-kind. Most humans have around 80 years to share their story; you only had 20, and so your aura was destined to glow brighter than others.

From our first meeting planning out the B.R.B debut EP Wake Up! I was stunned by your assuredness. You carried yourself with a stoic calm and certainty, coupled with a desire for knowledge and growth. While you made it clear that you were a team player, and B.R.B was a family effort – Gmolf, Rayzor, and Damage made it even clearer – you were the star player, and they would fill whatever roles required to ensure you shined.

The industry support you accrued off the back of just one release was remarkable. From national radio play, to press coverage and editorial playlisting support. All of it due to your undeniable talent. When you’ve got pure gold in your hands, it doesn’t take too much work as a publicist to prove the point – quality sells itself.

We set some goals and surpassed them all, many times over. However, while you appreciated and remained proud of each of them, not once did anything even slightly contribute to a sense of ego. The opposite. Your joy lay in seeing how your art made others around you feel. Showing your parents that Gomi and you had made it on MTV was less about you, and more about showing gratitude to what they had enabled. As talent oozed from you, so did humility.

Though your maturity was evident, your playful side was unavoidable. Happy to be the class clown and crack jokes on every occasion, you just wanted to make others feel good – and more specifically, to witness it. Most artists will send a demo and wait for a reply. You could never. You had to call on Facetime, every time, so you could watch my reaction live. I miss those calls bro.

Anyone in music who came into contact with you remarked on your brilliance. A poignant songwriter. Polished producer. And an angelic vocal capability. The thought of an Aussie teenager signing an international label deal off the back of 11 minutes of released music is practically unheard of. Let alone a brown kid from the South-East of Melbourne. The belief RMR had in signing you, was again only partly about your talent. Your nature is what got everyone on board. And while the music will be with us forever to listen to, reflect on, and proclaim your legacy far and wide, it is your humanity that will stick in our hearts.

It is this humanity that I’ve been blessed to learn more of since your passing. Spending time with your family and friends, I feel you closer than ever before. While we only knew each other for some three years, our souls instantly recognised each other. And amongst the warm embrace of your mum, the constant messaging with your bros, and enjoying the incredible spreads prepared by your wider circle – I’ve felt more like your family than ever.

The love your community has for you is unlike anything I’ve witnessed. And every morsel of it is warranted. You left this world a hero, sacrificing without hesitation to help your Dad. And that sums you up perfectly. No matter the accolades you accumulated, they were insignificant in comparison to the people around you.

And that’s how I choose to remember and honour you. Today and every day. Not just as Txkeout, the generational talent I was privileged to work with. But as Themi, the humble, kind-hearted, fun-loving friend who I get to call my little brother.

Wherever you are bro, I’m sure there’s endless KFC and replays of Collingwood’s Grand Final win – because I see your constant beaming smile, illuminating everywhere I go.

Thank you for being you.

I love you.

For now until forever.

Long Live Txkeout.


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