Name: Kabeaushé
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, producer, performer
Nationality: Kenyan
Recent event: Kabeaushé is one of the artists performing at the Nyege Nyege festival, Africa’s most adventurous festival which takes place at the shores of the Nile in Uganda, on a new site at the majestic Itanda Falls debut. More than 300 performers will be spread across 7 stages, with a special focus towards new hybrid sounds from the Diaspora, music from the Caribbean and the most exciting acts in Africa. Click here for tickets. Kabeaushé's full-length album is coming soon on Nyege Nyege.
Recommendations: There’s a women’s choir group from Bulgaria called Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares and they did a rendition of an old Bulgarian folk song called "Dilmano Dilbero" on KEXP, this was shared by a friend called Dena. It blew my mind. Find it when you have a second and listen to it because it’s beautiful.

If you enjoyed this interview with Kabeaushé and would like to find out more about his work or check out more music, visit him on Instagram, and twitter.


When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

Just like any other child I was influenced a lot by the music that was played around the house growing up, either by me, my siblings or parents – and also what my friends were listening to.

So it’s a bit like an amalgamation of all that, because it ranges from Gospel / country music that my mom enjoyed so much to my dad’s love for 70/80s sundowner music that would play at the house on Sundays, to the first time my best friend played me “Power” by Kanye West on his bootleg Ipod, while going on this camping trip and me freaking out because it felt so beautiful.

I vividly remember having a strong desire in that moment to want to create something just as beautiful one day.

When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?

I listen to music to serve different purposes – sometimes it’s just wanting to relax and cool off, and that’ll lead me, to say an 80s Italian playlist that has Stelvio Cipriani and all these geniuses that mad all these beautiful and Oh God so soothing soundtracks.

And sometimes it's wanting to know what’s making the kids jump at the shows – and that’ll lead me to listen to say Baby Keem or Playboy Carti or Sheck Wes – or sometimes it wanting to study bodies of works that are aesthetic masterpieces and for that there’s Kanye, Tyler, Pharell, Kendrick, Childish Gambino, M.I.A and myriad of other cool people even from the 80s like Prince, MJ or Grace Jones e.t.c.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

I think it’s an everyday thing, and the more and more you chip away at it, the more you discover. And that happens by creating as much as you can and studying and absorbing as much information as you can.

I’m on a label, for example, that’s primarily known for leftfield underground electronic music from the continent and whatever I make is the complete opposite of that, I would argue. But that doesn’t stop / alienate me because there’s a lot of elements that I pick up from watching a lot of the other artists on the label and how they create.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

I absorb as much as I can as a listener and try reach as far as I can when creating without being too alienating.

It's constant experimentation and sometimes it connects and sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s the beauty of it.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

Just wanting to make dope shit!

Period. It sounds arrogant, but it’s the truth – I care about music, I care about every single element that goes into creating the way I do, which is not singular / more special than anyone else‘s. But I’m chasing that feeling that I first got when I listened to “Power” and how it made me feel.

But not just that. It‘s all the people that I look up to, that’s whom I pit myself against. I want to make shit that’s just as good.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

Music is constantly changing and progressing, whether we like it or not – and either you’re a student of it, or you go against it and I strongly advise against the latter.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

My DAW which is what I use to make the music with and social media – which is a great and effective promotional tool if used wisely.

I’m still trying to figure it out, but I think I’m getting better.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

It changes constantly depending on the season, and where I am, if there are show dates for example e.t.c.

But pretty much it’s usually, wake up at around 8-9am, get a good shower and breakfast in – get to the studio around 11am – and then crank away til maybe 4/5pm.

In the studio I’m usually by myself, either refining ideas and sketches that I made the day before or making new ones - then back home by say 6pm and then maybe go out grab some dinner and then shut eyes by midnight.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

Uuuuu, that’s a tough one. I’m going to say M.I.A’s Arular, mixed with Kanye’s Graduation and then and Tyler’s Cherry Bomb and then add any of your fav 80s pop band like Bananarama.

Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?

It just happened naturally that I produce for myself. A lot of the times in the studio it’s just me – this usually changes, though, when it’s time to rehearse / translate the music for live performance.

Then I have Victor, whom I play the show with, come in and we create the show together because he adds live synths and extra elements to the live show which is really cool. He’s like my Mike Dean.

How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

I just create from personal experiences. A lot of the music is about self esteem and being comfortable and embracing all the weird things that you do that are only unique to you – and so in that way I affirm myself of my dopeness and my genius – and hopefully that reflects into the world.

My intention is not to be a niche artist, No. I intend to reach as many people as I possibly can, be global – and because my experience is not a singular one but touches almost everyone, that’s bound to happen.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

I document every day, and whether some of them see the light of day or end up in a stash – it’s a constant, I’m always sharing exactly what I feel.

How I choose to communicate the information though is where the difference lies.

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?  

I flunked horribly at sciences in school so you’re asking the wrong guy.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

Yes, of course it is – these are two very different actions and fields and a strange comparison: How do you express anger or frustration in a coffee? By over saturating it?

And also that’s very relative because there are people who enjoy their coffee strong, so it brings them joy. Music just allows you to verbalise your emotions which is universal.

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

No. but I will share a really cool quote from Pharell that might or might not be related to this. He said

“Creativity is not coming out of you. It’s the work of the universe, and the universe is a library, and all we do is check out ideas. What you might check out on one day, might not be what you check out on the next. So don’t not make the music - When you got a library card that works, make sure you use that card every day.”