Recent Dirty Hit signee, Kasai, releases her debut EP ‘Not That Normal Pt 1’ and takes us into her moody black and white world filled with woozy R&B sounds. We had a chat with the artist about the making of the EP, her influences, her friends, and how her father’s eclectic music taste shaped her as an artist.
Hi Kasai! We have been loving your debut EP ‘Not That Normal Pt 1’. Can you tell us a little bit of a backstory to the EP and what it means to you?
Hey! Thank you so much, I’m glad you like it. This EP is about the complications of love, or what we think our idea of that is. I was sad, frustrated, and confused at the time of writing. It became my safe place for expression. Self-therapy, like somewhere to vent. This EP is the beginning but also represents an end to a chapter.
I noticed that all of your music videos and artwork are in black and white, is there a reason behind that?
I thought it would be cool to create a visual world for the EP, the ‘Not That Normal’ world. Something that felt classic but still modern. The music in Not That Normal Part 1 is sad and moody. It really felt like the black and white would represent that emotion tonally and visually. I love visuals in black and white. Like D’angelo’s Black Messiah or Alecia Keys and several of her old music videos! It feels timeless.
When watching your music videos and listening to your music, it feels as though we get a small glimpse into your life and your friendships, particularly in ‘Drunk Diary, Weed and Liquor’. How important do you think the people you surround yourself with are to the music/art you make?
I think the people I surround myself with in general are so important. It’s probably the biggest lesson I learned in 2019/2020. With that being said I am blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people who come from all different walks of life and backgrounds but the one thing they all have in common is a good heart and mind. I think that really reflects and keeps me grounded in the music/art I make. I’m a big believer in you are the company you keep. Thankfully everyone around me are go-getters!
You were recently signed to the record label, Dirty Hit- huge congratulations! How was that experience?
Thank you so much! Yeah, it was nice. Jamie and I went to Dean Street and signed it. I’m very excited about all of the music and art that’s to come!
I can hear a lot of different influences when listening to your music. What artists do you think have most influenced you and your work?
I grew up listening to so much music, my ears could have latched onto so much without me knowing that influences me. My upbringing in church definitely inspired a lot of four-part harmonies, dynamic vocals. Even the way you sing when “your worshipping” is a certain type of energy, really emotive. My Dad started showing me people like Sade and Jamiroquai. His taste in music is so far and wide, when I overhear him playing music it can go from artists like Björk to Sting then the Eagles to Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane. I blame my dad for my taste in music being so versatile; in a good way. My friends and I would listen to J Dilla, Brandy, and Erykah Badu, etc anything RNB/hip-hop basically. Even just deep diving on Soundcloud after school finding music that no one had heard yet. I was really excited when I first found Toro Y Moi when I was younger as not many people were listening to him.
You have collaborated with amazing artists such as IzyBeats and Vegyn. When working on music, do you prefer the energy of collaboration or writing alone?
I definitely prefer the energy of writing alone and doing it at my home or in my bedroom. But that is a comfort zone I try not to trap myself in anymore as that’s how I first started making music. I love it for many reasons though – being comfortable, I can pace myself in my own time to work on an idea. When my vision is really clear it can be hard to let other voices in. I used to want to be the only one writing my songs at all times but I think part of that could have been pride and ego. My publisher at Roc Nation was the person who really got me into collaborating with others and showed me the positives of it – now I love it! You bounce ideas with one another and push each other. Memories get made and it makes making music a lot more fun.
Have you had a chance to play the songs from your EP live? If so, how did it feel?
I’ve played it live for a few of my friends at my home in South London. A few of them came round on the release night of Drunk Diary and watched whilst Julien and I did our thing. It was very cute. Apart from that, I will be playing the EP live at my debut headline show in September!
What can we expect from you next?
More music, live shows, collaborations, and lots of exciting opportunities I hope!
Thank you for talking to us!
(Kasai’s September show tickets here)
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