The beautiful and talented Kemi Ade is creating music on her own terms. Having made it onto our radar a couple months ago, her music evokes feeling. Ade’s first single off her EP O.W.Nesty, “Third,” offers soulful vibes as she delivers an effortless entree of jazz, folk and hip-hop. HYPEFRESH was able to speak with the emerging artist about her inception, inspirations, how her love for music blossomed and everything under the sun.
Q: Listening to your music, you sound like a modern day Jill Scott mixed with a little bit of Erykah Badu. Did these musicians always have an influence on your?
A: Kind of… when I was in college, well my last two years of High School. Where you guys are from it’s considered High School, Lol. I was about 17 or 18, I didn’t know what my sound was vocally and my choir teacher gave me some Jill Scott song to sing and I found that’s when I sounded best. But when it comes to my actual sound and making music I draw influences from everywhere more or less from Jill Scott and Erykah now. But I get that comparison a lot.
Q: I guess that put you in the mindset of where to seat and take you music?
A: Yes, Exactly!
Q: In your song “Third”, do you have a personal connection with the lyrics?
A: I wrote it last year, around this time actually. Yeah, I was talking to my friend about the fact, like, love is so hard and wouldn’t it be nice just to have a relationship with someone you just naturally connected with them and relate to spiritually and stuff. But really its just me trying to find that right guy. I tried though but I still didn’t find him yet lol.
Q: Looking at your art work from your single “Third” and your EP, I get a meditation vibe. Was that your intention ?
A:Yes, I wanted it to be pure, and whats more pure than meditating?It was like a reflection on the name of the whole project. The whole project is a play on the word ‘Honesty’ and I just wanted it to be that. So the art work of the single’s artwork is like you looking dead in my eyes. Because they always say that you can see a person’s true soul through their eyes. And then me meditating on the cover of the EP, is me trying to gather all my senses before I hit you with some real truth.
Q: “Third” is such an easy going song, I feel like you can listen to it while your taking a walk through the park or doing daily chores around the house. What was it like working with Nosaapppollo on this song? Have you ever worked with him before?
A: It was the first song that me and him ever made together. So it was amazing. Me and my guitarist. She had the chorus already and I already had the verse but it was a slower tempo. And I kept saying to her “I can’t finish the song and I don’t know why.” So, when I had the session with Nasaappollo I said “We have a song, we want you to what you can do with it.” He got back to us and said how bout we speed it up. And it turned in just turned into this completely different world. It was hands down one of the most purest moments with music that I have ever had. It came so naturally, I turned into a totally completely different vibe. I don’t even remember what it sounded like before. It was for sure a happy accident.
Q: Hailing from Croydon, South London, your music delivers such an infusion of soul. Where do you think this comes from?
A: My mom was in choir, I was also in choir. My aunt used to live in Brooklyn. So I went there for a bit and she used to sing in choir there and I used to go over there and sing with her. She used to always be like “Make sure you always speaking the truth.” She was Nigerian so she drove that home when I used to sing in choir. So, it’s more like just being soulful is just being honest and true to how you feel. That’s where my soul came from. People from London are really pure and Afrocentric with how we are as people, especially with the Black British crowd, or any ethnic crowd really. We push our ethnicity to the tenth degree.
Q: What do you want people to take away from your music?
A: I always say that there is a song for every moment. I just want everyone to have a moment when they listen to my music. I want them to be like, “Oh, I remember where I was when I first heard this song or when I first connected with this song.” Nowadays all people hear first is the production, then you listen to it again and actually pay attention to the words. I want people to say this is where I first fell in love with this song, and also remember when they first felt it. I just want people to feel what I’m writing.
Q: How did you come up with your EP name “O.W. Nesty”?
A: O.W. Nesty… I was talking to my friend and she was telling me how I’m so honest and how I’m the only honest person that she knows. While she was talking I said that I should name my EP or album “Honesty.” She said that I could just name it that. So I sat down for ages thinking how I could change it. I came up with nobody owns their own truth. So, I played with the “Own” part. I came up with “Only When Needed” And the website “Etsy” I changed it around for my own purposes! So its like peer-to-peer exchange that happens only when needed.
Q: If you could pick any artist to collaborate with or have produce a song for you, who would it be and why?
A: Producer it would have to be Kaytranada, I bump too many of his songs like the Azealia Banks remix with Pharrell called ATM Jam. And his other song called ‘Girl’ by the Internet. He has the perfect fusion between soul and electronic and that what I love about music, where you can fuse two things together and make it one and doesn’t sound crazy. I love it. One artist I would like to work with, it changes all the time. Kendrick. Especially since he just released an album. It would be cool because both of our names start with “K”. That would be a powerhouse theme.
Q: When can we expect a video? And what’s next from Kemi Ade, the artist?!
A: I think I will be dropping a video in the summer, so you can feel that summer vibe the song gives off. Whats next is more music through out this year. I have loads of songs that I just was to drop out! And shows performing and performing!
To get more information about Kemi Ade follow her on Twitter.