Music Q&A:

Connecting the dots between ragga and hip-hop, Bristol native K*Ners – with roots in the city’s fine sound system tradition – has just released the music video for his single Celebrate

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How would you describe your sound?
I started off as a ragga/dancehall MC. My first producer was a drummer in a rock band. I made a five track EP with him, and my first album K in da Flesh . The fusion between our two sounds created a unique moment in hip-hop for Bristol. It was a sound which was fresh and we had Massive Attack fully behind us as fans of our sound. My second album, Voice of the City, saw me using producers as far and wide as Australia so the sound became more hip-hop, New York-ish. The accent in the music remained English to the core. That was very important to me – to make sure the English accent was delivered at all times in the music. My parents were both born in Jamaica so you will hear the reggae influences in both my lyrics and production at times. An example of this is my song Lions Den, Feat Roots Manuva and Deadly Hunta.

What informs your music and songwriting?
Life experiences are what lead me to write music. I was a very angry youth growing up and I always said if I didn’t have the skill of putting pen to paper and turning that negative energy into positive energy, I wouldn’t know where I would be today. I’m not scared to tell my story in a song and I’m quite an honest person, so music is definitely my therapy. I lost my mum at an early age and I use music to help me with that also. When you get messages from people who have had similar losses or situations in life that they hear in one of my songs and say it’s helped them and resonated with them – that makes this music art worthwhile.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I think I have evolved as an artist for sure. I have put out 10 projects and two official albums during my career. You learn from every release – well, I know I do because I’m my biggest critic. I’m always thinking of ways to make my music better – how can I improve my song writing, for instance? How do I keep motivated when there are no shows or when you get knockbacks. You have to find the answer to these questions and ask yourself what you are in music for? Because the reality is if you are in this for the money you will not last. You need to do it for the love and work hard. As long as you maintain that plan I feel over time you will reach your goal. I’m also in the process of getting a band together in order to give a better live performance experience to the fans.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
At the moment I have just released a new mixtape called The Playlist Mixtape, which is available via my Bandcamp. I also have just launched my K-Star label, which has two artists signed to it, Elliot Jr and Vcd MC. There will be releases coming soon from them two via the new K-Star EP on the way. I have just released a song and video off the mixtape called Celebrate, Feat Incredubwoy, produced by Self Taught Beats. The song has been greatly received and I’m in the process of dropping a remix for the song.

What’s on your rider?
A bottle of Hennessy and some Pepsi and a bottle of rose wine.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
My most embarrassing experience is when I was best man at my uncle’s wedding. The priest told me in the rehearsals not to move until I gave over the ring. During the actual wedding I was up there when they were reading the vows thinking why hasn’t he told me to sit down? I then took it on myself to sit down and he called me straight back up there. It was embarrassing and I felt like a numpty! But you live and you learn, eh?

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