Following the release of his new single Sonshine, we caught an interview with artist and songwriter Kokou Kah, to find out more about the intentions of the song, his journey as a musician, and his hopes for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hey – thanks for the interview. For those who don’t know – where are you from, and how long have you been making music?
Liberian, Born in Guinea – raised in Minnesota.
Congrats on the release of Sonshine. You have a brilliantly unique, immersive and genuine style. How did this particular track come to be – lyrics first, hook, concept, beat?
I found the beat first because I was feeling blue when I recorded it in February. I had spoken to my birth dad and learned truths about my life/mother that put my already sad life story into a broader more understanding perspective. I freestyle all of my music so I figure out the structure as I go. I just sang and rapped Sonshine from heart.
What does the title and hook lyric mean or represent for you?
It means that I ( son) will always shine no matter the obstacles people put in my way. I can’t be manipulated into dimming my light anymore.
You tell a lot of your personal story in the verses – some of the subject matter is heavy, but the music remains light. What do you hope people take away from the song, and is this your typical style or a step in a new direction?
I hope it feels like their issues are sitting in a sauna and sweating out all the self denial when they listen to this. I kept the beat light to give room for the deep lyrics to be heard in this song.
This is definitely an experimental track that came out exactly how I wanted it. I typically bottle my deep worries but this song served as the last journal entry to an old life of pain I held on to.
Do you produce your own music, or play any instruments?
I sing/rap and collaborate with producers.
Which is your personal favourite lyric from the song, and why?
“Ain’t no spray tan to cover my pain” as a black man I can’t hide the pains of race because I’ll always be black. I can’t change my skin which comes with trauma from a racialized society.
What are the main values you want to bring to the music world?
Seeing and celebrating the energy light in everyone that makes them the wonderful potential that they are.
You quote Luke 11:33 in the release details – “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a hiding place or under a basket, but on a lamp stand, so that those who enter may see its light.” What is it about this quote that connects with you so intensely?
It relates to the song so much. I can’t hide my light at all or it doesn’t serve the world. Nothing is enlightened about shrinking so that other people don’t feel insecure. I want to be that light that is never hidden.
Do you have a plan creatively for the coming months and years, or do you just go with the flow as an artist?
I’m going to be dropping a new song every month starting November and continuing that for a year. With few mixtape releases along the way for my loyal fans.
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given in life?
Don’t try, just be.
Is there anything else we should know?
I’m currently working on a single with Lazerbeak in the studio and recording records with Stophouse records this fall/winter.
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