2018-01-14T05:47:37+00:00 2018-01-22T12:52:07+00:00

Nigerian singer Kah-Lo opens up about growing up in Lagos, her Grammy Nomination and more [Interview]

Kah-Lo ended 2017 on a high note with a Grammy nomination from her break out single "Rinse & Repeat" with British DJ/Producer Riton. She has also been putting in work on her unique blend of dance, house music mixed with afrocentric elements. Not to be labeled as a one-hit wonder, she has shown the world her true talents by  releasing four more joints, the Riton helmed collaborative banger title "Money" which features Nigerian heavy hitters Davido and Mr Eazi, " Fake ID", "Betta Riddim" and her debut solo effort "Fasta". 

An alumnus of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for girls and Hofstra Journalism in the United States of America, Kah-Lo's monotone style has gained mass appeal with numerous dance floor fillers. Her latest tune was even picked by  BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac as the hottest record in the world on August 22nd, 2017. We need to say, she is definitely someone to keep an eye out for in 2018 and being the benevolent soul that she is, she gave us some of her precious time for a little unfiltered, rapid-fire Q & A. 

EARMILK: So let's start with your background. Did you grow up in a musically inclined home? what type of music were you exposed to?
Kah-Lo: My dad always had music playing, so I guess you could say that. He played records from Michael Jackson to Frank Sinatra, and any music that was popular at the time. He's a pretty cool cat
EARMILK: Oh nice. Frank Sinatra…that is sick!! Would you say that influenced your musical style even a little bit?
Kah-Lo: I have a big family, so combined I'd say I was pretty much exposed to all kinds of music because their tastes vary. My style comes from a mix of all sorts of styles. What's out now doesn't even cover half of it
EARMILK:  So what we hear now is pretty much a tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Kah-Lo: Haha! I guess so
EARMILK:  so moving on, lets talk a bit about growing up in Lagos. Where exactly did you grow up in- The mainland or island
Kah-Lo: Island gyall
EARMILK:  And you attended an all-girls school (Vivian Fowler)? how was that like?   Didn't they have like a campus on the mainland? My memory is a bit jaded.
Kah-Lo: It was actually pretty fun! It was like having a sleepover with good friends every day. Besides getting punished, it was good fun. And it helped hone my music skills too. It's in Ikeja, yes
EARMILK:  Interesting. So did you make music in school then?
Kah-Lo: Yeah, we all didn't have laptops to rehearse dance routines, so I'd drum on tables and perform the songs to help my mates. I also performed to get out of trouble with seniors. In senior school, I was Assembly Prefect so I led lots of the assemblies and devotions with praise and worship songs
EARMILK:  Nice, you pretty much had a lot of "practice" then. Interesting.
Kah-Lo: Yeah, in a way
EARMILK: Ok back to the music: A huge chunk of your work is with producer Riton. How did you two link and forge your unique sound? How different was your sound pre-Riton?
Kah-Lo: We somehow found each other on Twitter and eventually linked in NY where I was living at the time. The first thing we recorded was 'Rinse and Repeat', so it just sort of happened because he has really deep dance roots. Before that, I was making alternative R&B with electronic influences
EARMILK:  Got it. Your current sound has a more stripped down but dance concentrated vibe. Was it a case of you switching it depending on what Riton crafted so is there a back and forth during the music making process. How does it come about?
Kah-Lo: A bit, yeah. Because he understands that sound way more than I do, but I've been able to learn so much from him and I'm more comfortable within it. I was doing monotone rap I put together by listening to Slick Rick, PM Dawn and MIA over my own tracks, and I just sort of put my flavour over whatever I got from him 
EARMILK: Solid. Yeah I noticed the style as well-reminiscent of the 90s. Simple, straightforward and unfiltered. You do always add that "naija" flavor into it. The slangs and terms. That is to give it a more African feel I reckon?

Kah-Lo: Thanks! Not necessarily, that's just me really. I grew up here, and it's just part of my everyday lingo. I didn't think the international audience would understand it before, but I'm all for it because I'm more comfortable that way anyway
EARMILK:  Well said. I guess being true to self really paid off with that Grammy Nomination 😉 . How did you feel when you heard the news?
Kah-Lo: It felt unreal! Still does!
EARMILK:  I can only imagine. Ecstatic I guess. And your parents? Did they fully support you from the jump or they slowly got used to it?
Kah-Lo: As most African parents, it took them A LOT of getting used to, but now they fully support me. It's great!
EARMILK: That's great. And the rave reviews you have been receiving definitely made that easier for them. From your own viewpoint, how would you view your progress thus far?
Kah-Lo: I mean, there was once a time barely a few years ago where I had no idea how I'd enter the industry officially and my only in was coffee shops and bars around NYC, so I'd say I'm doing pretty good. Godspeed
EARMILK:  Word. we say its part of the growth. You have released "Rinse and repeat", "Money", " Fake ID", "Betta Riddim" and "Fasta" (which is your official single I think, do correct me if I'm wrong). Are you working towards a full project soon? 
Kah-Lo: Yup! Yes, we are releasing a full-length project before the summer! Super hype for it!

EARMILK: Solid. We are definitely stoked to hear that!! So you are back in Lagos for a visit/ work or both?
Kah-Lo: Not sure if I can say why specifically, but it's for both
EARMILK:  Great. So should we expect some surprised collabs? Wizkid? Tekno? hehe
Kah-Lo: We have Eazi, but that's about it
EARMILK:  Keeping it low-key cool. So lets quickly jump into the quickfire random section.
– What food, drink, song inspires you?
– What’s your most embarrassing moment?
– What superpower would you have and why?
Kah-Lo: food: suya; drink: water or henny ; song: anything by Kanye West. most embarrassing moment: my jeans ripped mid-twerk once, and I don't even have a big butt! It was awks af. Superpower: I wish I could teleport because I really hate flying.
EARMILK:  Nice choice. Bypasses all the visa/jetlag thingy 
Kah-Lo: that too lool

EARMILK:  Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Kah-Lo: Inspiring situation: Listening to a Kanye rant at his Yeezus tour stop at MSG was a massive inspiration to me.That motivated me to take my career more seriously and fuelled my drive
EARMILK: What’s your scariest experience?
Kah-Lo: Scariest experience: every single flight I've taken with United airlines from Lagos. Near death experience each time
EARMILK:  Are there any questions that your were expecting that I didn’t ask and want to answer? 
Kah-Lo: I think we covered it all!
EARMILK: So I guess that's it. thanks for the chat 
Kah-Lo: Nice! Super talking to you!

Connect with  Kah-Lo : Website | Facebook | Soundcloud |  Twitter | Instagram

 

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Main Stage · Q&A

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