Following the release of her brilliant new single Man Enough, we caught up with independent songwriter and artist Kazhi, to find out more about the inspiration for the music, her creative process, her journey so far, and what the future may hold. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hi Kazhi – thanks so much for the interview. To introduce things, where are you based, and how would you describe the music you make?
Hey! And, thank you – I really appreciate you making the time.
I’m currently based in Oslo, Norway. When it comes to my music I think I would describe it as pop-infused R&B. I’m inspired by so many different genres though, that I find it a bit difficult to put everything into one box.
It’s a mashup of a lot of things really, but the common denominator is for sure that it all comes from my heart. All my songs are raw, honest and inspired by specific happenings or situations.
Huge congrats for the release of Man Enough – beautifully performed, catchy and a smooth vibe all at once. What was the creative process for this one?
Thank you!! I really loved writing and creating this song. This is the third single from my on-going project, where all the songs are stories from my life over the past couple years, or, more so parts of my healing process over these couple years, all told in chronological order.
“When I got to this particular stage of the journey, things were starting to feel easier, I was happy, and I was slowly figuring out what it is that is important to me when it comes to a romantic partner. And that’s exactly what this song is about.”
I wanted to capture the happy feelings among the seriousness of this song, so after writing it to simple guitar chords I told my producer that I wanted to bring in some fun Afrobeat vibes, then we sped it up a little and made the serious feel happy!!
Some of the lyrics get quite deep and provocative, particularly during the second verse – what do you hope listeners take away from the song, and which lyric means the most to you personally?
Yeah I mean, it comes from a deep place. I’ve had really bad luck, or bad taste, whatever you wanna call it, with my previous relationships. A couple years back I had my son, and all of a sudden I was left raising him alone.
That was the breaking point for me, I knew I would never wanna end up in a relationship like any of my previous ones ever again, cause that would mean bringing that into my son’s life. So that’s when I started to look at my patterns, to figure out how to break them. I tried to figure out what exactly it is that I want in a man, what they should want from me. Learn how to stop for a moment and think about how our lives would mend realistically for instance, me being a single mom and also working around the clock.
Not a very romantic approach, I know, haha. And that’s what I mean when I say that «I am my own mistakes» in the second verse. I don’t blame anybody but myself. I saw the red flags, I knew what I was getting myself into on a subconscious level, but I always got caught up in the moment, so it was because of my own issues that I got into these relationships. At least that’s how I choose to look at it now.
What I hope listeners take away from this song is to remember to think about your own wants and needs in a relationship, don’t settle for anything or anybody where you would have to stop being who you are, loving what you love, living how you live, and vice versa.
“My favorite part of the song, the most personal one, is not actually a lyric. It is my son giggling in the background to the end of the second verse. That makes my heart melt every time.”
Are you vocally trained, and do you also produce your own tracks – if so, what’s your go-to software or favourite plugin?
I took singing lessons for a couple years when I was pretty young. Singing was my thing, it’s where I found my confidence. I was pretty insecure on many levels as a kid, so music really gave me the strength I needed to thrive and grow without trying to change myself.
I do vocal production on my own stuff, my preferred software is Logic, and currently I’m really into the CLA vocals plugin from waves.
The main production and the finishing work I leave to my talented guitarist/producer Joakim Arnt Holmen. We’ve worked together for years, so he really understands me and my music so I fully trust him, and I absolutely love creating with him.
Is there a longer project on the way, or any exclusives you can give on what’s to follow?
Yes! This is just the beginning! I’ve released 3 songs from my debut album so far, every song is being released as a single throughout the year, so there’s lots to come, and soon too!
Now that I’m getting these songs out of my system one by one I’m moving on to the next phase in my life, so next year you can expect both another album and very exciting live announcements.
How important is live performance for you, and how does the stage experience compare to writing and studio time?
Super. Important. I always said that I wanna be the type of artist that people prefer hearing live, not on record.
“The writing process is of course emotional, the recording and the process of making the beat etc. is fun, but it can’t be compared to singing the songs on stage, being able to transfer my own feelings in the moment onto other people – make people get in touch with their own shit, that’s special.”
What has been your main plan of action in terms of building a presence on social media and streaming?
Oh my. If I’m being completely transparent, I wish I didn’t have to be on social media at all, but that’s just not how it works. I am pretty active on Instagram thought, and that’s the exception really, I like posting bits and pieces from my life, that’s where I’m trying to build my community.
I’d rather have a small community of true fans than lots of streams from people who don’t really care, if that makes sense. I want my fans to be like friends. I’m also on Tiktok now, but I gotta admit it took me years to my manager’s frustration to actually get an account. Now I’m starting to enjoy the rawness of that platform too, so you know, we’re getting there.
But there’s no plan really, I can’t force myself to do anything in life, it needs to feel natural, so that’s my approach.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
The list is long. But if I’m to pick one.. I think I’d have to pick three! Haha. Anderson Paak, Chance the rapper and Ed Sheeran would all be very interesting.
Is there anything else we should know?
I hope that these answers may have been an introduction to some new people that wants to be a part of this journey with me, and they can all find me @kazhikazz on all social platforms.
I always appreciate people reaching out and sharing their stories with me, the one thing we all have in common across the world is our emotions, and music.
Even though this song just got released, there’s more right around the corner, so stay tuned!! Love, Kazhi
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