The London via Los Angeles artist that is Kiran Kai has usually focused on producing music for others. However, now that Kiran has turned his attention to himself, he has consequently finished off his debut EP, ‘XYZ’.
After ‘Passports’ was premiered by Crack, the Skepta-produced track received support from HYPEBEAST, Clash, and Complex. Now, Kiran has seen the whole project off, receiving praise on how he combined influences of jazz, neo-soul, hip-hop and other genres into one body of work.
We got a chance to send some questions Kiran's way, this is what he had to say...
When did you decide that music was your plan A, and what made you make the decision?
"When I realised words and conversations are not an effective enough medium to communicate feelings and ideas. Music seemed to be able to communicate what words could not. In my GCSEs I got all A*s and As apart from in music where I got a B so I wanted to challenge myself, because all other subjects were too easy for me. Music seemed the best way to combine all areas of intellect.
I was confident before anyone told me their opinion on me but I decided to do music full time as soon as I was taken on board officially at a publishing company so I had the where-with-all to support myself and take it seriously. I never made music my plan A - music made me its plan A."
What song are you most proud of when it comes to ‘XYZ’?
"It varies - at the moment I'd say it's 'Starting to Believe'. I don't remember writing the lyrics but I do remember Skepta programming the drums on my computer and I instantly fell into a self-induced musical coma.
But really, i'd say I love all the songs equally. They were created in person with the artists physically present so each reminds me of the sessions and environment where they were created. The co-writers and producers on the project are friends of mine and each song I'm equally proud of really."
What do you prefer, and not prefer, when it comes to life in London vs LA?
"I'd have to say the weather mainly. London and LA are surprisingly similar. London is a more pedestrian-friendly city but the weather sucks. If London had palm trees and sun it'd be perfect. I love both cities."
How do you go about fusing the influences you get from LA with those from London?
"I tend to not give it much thought, when I write music I'm always in the moment and not thinking twice about decisions, to be fully present. My music comes out as an honest culmination of all my influences and my identity that's been shaped by my environment. I'm both a UK and US citizen, so naturally have both places influencing my work."
Who would your dream collaboration be with and why?
"Probably John Martyn because his music is a great listen and can soothe people who are too hyper and keen. The Crazy Frog because he's so annoying as a ringtone, or The Beatles, just because they're the Beatles!
Some of my dream collaborations have already happened, the songs just aren't out just yet!"
In your opinion, what’s the most underrated album, and why?
"My album because it's not out yet. Or "Jesse From SE" because not enough people have heard it, ahaha, just kidding.
I'd say all albums by "Joe Zawinul", in particular the album called "Faces & Places" because the instrumentation is phenomenal and he was Miles Davis' pal, the two of them were besties."
When it comes to your music career, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
"Either doing arena world tours or just working with artists whom I love and respect. I think the greatest gift is the gift of giving. In 5 years I'd like to be giving my time and attention to people who need it most."
What’s your plan for the rest of 2020?
"Keep making art and being a good samaritan, contributing to artists' projects with a view to enrich their lives and bring them joy. I'm in San Francisco at the moment and would like to go back to LA and London soon to complete some work I've started."