Current release: K*Ners new single, "Time Is Counting" Remix, is out as part of his new K*Star EP Vol 2. The remix features Grim Sickers, Tanya Lacey and Genesis Elijah among others.
Recommendations: K*ners - K In The Flesh [Music Video] | GRM Daily; K*Ners - Watch You / Ma Ma PT 2 [Music Video] | GRM Daily
If you enjoyed this interview with K*Ners, visit him on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and bandcamp.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started writing lyrics age 15/16 and was heavily into Dancehall Reggae music. I was a fan of Buju Banton, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer.
What drew me to the sound was my childhood, when my mum used to play reggae music on her record player back then.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
When I switched from Dancehall/ Reggae music to rapping, I found my own style voice naturally. I used my English accent with a little Jamaican Patios to fuse my rhyming schemes.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
My creativity and lyrics per say come from life experiences, So it has a direct influence on my music.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Just production really, Good production and beats were really hard to come by in the early days. It's much better now with the YouTube beat community and being able to lease or purchase good quality beats from all over the world.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
I always left the studio equipment and tools to whatever producer I was working with at the time. I feel that's their lane.
My lane is to make sure my writing and rhymes were always up to par and on point.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
No I would not say so. The only difference is you can send music, vocals over the Internet now. So you don't have to be in the same studio at the same time.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
My typical collaborations come about off the back of singles I release which create a buzz.
"Time is Counting" Feat Genesis Elijah is a great example. The radio airplay and response for it was nuts!! So off the back of that reaction Grim Sickers reached out to me to do another song and that birthed the "Time is Counting" Remix.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I used to work alongside the NHS doing a 9-5, but I have since left to concentrate on The K-Star Imprint and its artists so my daily routine has recently changed. A typical day goes as follows:
Gym/ Swim -AM
School Run -AM
Meetings/ Studio - PM
School Run - PM
Meetings/ Studio- PM
Gym/ Swim - PM
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
I was at work and I was contacted by my former music manager from the label Cristal City who asked me if I was available to go do a soundcheck for Damon Albarn (Gorillaz, Blur). I said yes. So I had been asked to perform two verses on the. Gorillaz's song "Clint Eastwood". I smashed the soundcheck and they asked me to perform later that night at Bristol Trinity Centre with them.
The reaction from the crowd of my performance caused Damon to ask me to come to Portsmouth the next day and perform again and the same reaction happend. He then said I was one of the best rappers he has heard and would be available for him again if he asked.
I said: yes, anytime.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Nah in order for me to write, I must of heard a beat what bangs or something is festering heavily on my mind. Music is therapy to me. I need to get my thoughts out on paper and make a song. That's why I think I will write forever even if I don't even release the music.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
Music is power. I wrote my best songs dealing with the death of my mother at an early age and my dad recently. I did not get any counselling, I wrote songs as my therapy.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
To be honest I don't let any of that affect my day to day. As long I'm and the artists on the K-Star label are doing the right thing, That's all I really pay attention to.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
For me reggae music and the vibe and inspiration can can change one's mood to a happy one. I like uplifting music, which brings happy vibes so I always try to implement that in my projects.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
My approach is: Whatever is on my mind which I want to get off my chest, I will voice it. I have done political social commentary raps before, And I'm sure somewhere along the line, I will do it again.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
It can express a feeling and a mood which touches your soul and vibrations instantly.