Fresh off his performance at the 2017 A3C Festival & Conference, where he was featured in the This Is My Year Showcase, and the release of the EP Zombie, trap-influenced Kamau Kenyatte is one of the hottest up-and-coming names in the hip-hop world. Here are 15 questions with Kenyatte about his music, style, and the importance of building a personal brand as a musician. Essential to the growth of an emerging artist, Squarespace has boosted his web presence and allowed him to express his individualism.
What inspired you to get into hip-hop and start your career?
The fact that I want to live my life with no regrets.
What is your favorite part of making music?
My favorite part of performing live is that I do what you need to ”turn up” with the people who love my music and get to share new stuff with an audience and get instant feedback.
What did it mean to you to be a part of A3C’s ”This Is My Year” showcase?
It means a lot to me, actually. It means recognition for my hard work and artistry. One of my favorite music festivals actually deemed me worthy enough to be in one of the biggest festivals in America. I’m highly honored!
What has been the biggest milestone/success for you in your career so far?
To get recognition from AfroPunk.com and have them premiere my EP meant a lot to me.
How would you describe your personal style? Do you have any signature pieces you always wear? Are there fashion designers or icons that you look up to?
I’m always wearing scarves and headbands—goth stuff you can only find on St. Marks mixed with hype beast brands like Off-White and Ksubi jeans. Right now fashion is in a state of being expressive and just doing what you feel at the moment; not being confined to rules, margins, or guidelines. It’s about just loving what you have on, being comfortable in it. I’m actually looking to launch my own merch/clothing line in January. Look out for that. It’s going to be dope!
How does the design of your website capture your personal style?
It really highlights some of the darkness of my style. Of course, the theme of Zombie was the color orange. I wanted to express myself through a color in this EP, so orange is the basic backdrop of my site—it’s calm, yet vibrant. We also mixed in some dark things that fit those spooky zombie vibes while still being stylized current and cool.
What impression did you aim to make on your fans with your website?
That this is a cool motherfucker, and we want to get into his world!
Why did you choose Squarespace over other platforms?
Squarespace gave me the cleanest and most professional-looking templates for websites that I’ve seen. It seems to cover all the bases as well as giving me the freedom to express myself the way I needed to.
Did you create your site yourself or did you have help? How long did it take to create your site?
I had a little help. Most of the concept ideas were mine. It took us a couple days to build it.
Has having a website made a positive impact on your career as a musician? If so, how?
Yes! It gives fans and people I may be going into business with a true feel of what it’s like to experience my world and my music. It lets me express myself to the fullest. It also gives me the opportunity to display everything you need to know about me and my artistry in one place.
Why is it important to have a digital presence as a hip-hop artist in 2017?
Because it’s the new wave. It’s just the way things are done nowadays, and you have to get with it or be left behind.
What advice would you give to young artists like yourself who want to make their start and build their personal brand and online community?
Know who it is that you want to reach, understand and know how to speak to them, and stick with one thing, and people will love you for it. Also, don’t be afraid to make changes if need be.
What’s to come in the year ahead for you and your music?
So many big things. I’ve been getting such a positive response. I can only see Kamau Kenyatte being everywhere in 2018!
What do you want your fans to take away from listening to your music?
The authenticity—that this is my real life, this is the pain, the rage, and the victories that I go through. This is how it felt and this is what it sounds like.
Anything else you’d like to share (e.g. fun facts, interesting anecdote) about yourself and your music?
I was very depressed when I made this project, and I use this art to help unload my stress. I recorded my EP in the same studio where Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” was recorded.
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