Pop/R&B superstar-to-be Kima Otung is shaking up the music industry. The Welsh-Nigerian talent is multi-faceted, multi-talented, and effortlessly unique. Like many female artists, her musical themes lean towards self-empowerment. Records like ‘I’m Cute‘ and ‘I Call Me Honey‘ see Kima exert her dominance on the mic to a growing fanbase. Furthermore, her music has landed a spot on Love Island, she’s performed live for BBC Radio 1 and was the backdrop to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Wales.
When we think of ‘next up’ in British music, Kima Otung is undoubtedly in the conversation. After starting the year as one of Industry Me’s ones to watch, she is set to release her debut album ‘The Immigrant Kid‘. If you still need more convincing – watch as she shares her inspirational story with IndustryMe. Kima opened up on risking it all for her dream, her experiences as a Black woman in a white-majority Wales, and the shadiness of the music business. Almost as gifted in life wisdom as she is musically, here are 5 things we learned from speaking with her.
She left Corporate Law for the music industry
Kima studied law at University and undertook a training contract. She hated it! She quickly realised money without passion wouldn’t truly satisfy her soul. Despite being terrified of a life lacking in financial stability, she simply had to live her truth as a musician. This was no easy feat – no industry connections and a haunting fear of publicly failing almost stopped her. How did she get over it? ‘Brainwashing myself’ she told IndustryMe – manifesting and watching empowering entrepreneurs on YouTube really helped.
Being in the Opera changed her life
At fourteen, she joined the Welsh National Opera, giving Kima her first exposure to supreme musical talent. In addition, musical director Tim Rhys-Evans became an idol, teacher, and pivotal figure in her musical journey. Despite this, the singer recognised early on she didn’t want to teach music, she wanted to create music.
Her music is her truth
Kima wants to document the highs and lows of navigating this world as a strong woman. Self-love and feminism are the fabric of which her artistry is built upon. Moreover, she is aiming to empower and inspire her listeners to pursue their dreams.
Her inspirations vary from Beyoncé to JVKE
Growing up in a Nigerian household, her parents played Motown and Gospel around the house – heavily contributing to Kima’s early appreciation of soulful sounds. Beyoncé’s approach to music like ‘an athlete’ heavily inspires her to produce records and live performances of a consistent quality. JVKE also means a lot to Kima, who weaves orchestral, classical elements into his music that she appreciates.
She aims to change the music business for good
She wishes to leave the music business better than she found it. Tired of seeing an industry built on working in the labels’ favour rather than the artists’ favour, she created her own streaming service Insidr. A streaming service like Spotify, but monetised like Patreon, Insidr has seen almost 1,000 artists sign up already. With its official launch next year, Insidr aims to dramatically switch the power and financial dynamics that currently exist in a backwards industry.