By now you’ve probably heard the rich soulful vocals of North London’s very own, Kwaku Asante.
The singer’s ability to effortlessly combine R&B, hip-hop and his crown jewel neo-soul has many asking who he is, with Complex going as far as saying “it‘s only a matter of time until Kwaku Asante becomes a household name” .
First arriving on the music scene back in 2018, with his debut single ‘The Way That You Move’ co-produced by Tom Misch and Jan, Kwaku has continued to dazzle audiences across the country going on to open for Jay Prince and Lola Kirke on their London headline shows before being invited to support US singer and producer Amber Mark on her recent European tour.
Kwaku stopped by to discuss his latest offering ‘honeycomb’, a smooth six-track project driven by warm vocal melodies and beautiful storytelling, for our first music Monday feature of the month.
You released your first single in 2018 but prior to that, you spent a lot of time in choirs. What gave you the push you needed to share your sound with the world?
Friends and other people around me doing music mainly, them saying that I was talented and that I had something different which could contribute to the music out there in one way or another.
Having been a supporting/opening act for a number of artists what was your key takeaway from those experiences?
Mainly it was building my confidence on the stage and getting used to being on there, and also the preparations that go into having a headline show. Picking the artists I’m supporting’s brain as well for advice about the industry.
How did it feel to finally be able to do your own headline show?
It felt great as people had left their house to come and see me sing the songs that I wrote. It was great to see the small things you do and the hours you put it all lead up to these moments.
Which song did you enjoy performing the most and why?
Molasses. People kept asking us to replay it and we have a new section which me and my amazing band only play at live shows that isn’t released which is fun to do.
As a Neo-soul artist, who would you say you are most inspired by?
When most people think of the genre neo-soul their minds go straight to the US, do you think there’s a place for the genre in the UK?
I think there is a place for this genre in the UK, it’s a type of R&B that can succeed much like other types of the genre.
How would you describe that sound?
I’d describe it as heavily instrumental, soulful with solid grooves. Has the ability to ensure you feel emotion whether it be Happy, Sad, Joy or Passion.
Walk me through your typical songwriting process
I’ll literally recall a story in my life and tell it, a few lyrics are written. But I tell the producer how I feel and we try and capture the feel. Sing some melodies and build a structure from there.
Your latest project incorporates quite a few pop-centric rhythms where does this influence come from?
I’m a big Frank Ocean fan and the way he is able to incorporate catchy hooks, lyrics and still maintain the sincerity of the song is something I may subconsciously emulate, Miguel also does this ridiculously well.
What was the story you were trying to communicate with this project?
The title of the project being ‘honeycomb’ the story was centred was around the composition of honey.
There are thousands of bees that have to do their job in order to make the product. Each job is small but contributes to the final picture.
In honeycomb, each song is a story in its own right but has contributed to the way I project my love onto others, whether I’ve been treated good or badly, or there’s been a miscommunication.
It’s just that no matter how insignificant you think run-ins with people are they mould how you’ll care about people and want to be cared for. It moulds your love language basically.
Songs like ‘honeycomb’ emphasise the idea of life being a journey and things always being able to change. How do moments like this coincide with your development as an artist?
Things can change on the flip of a coin, and you can have amazing experiences such as me finding out I was going on tour with Amber Mark. A week before doing so I met some amazing people and learned some vital things that helped me develop into a better artist.
Finally, what does 2020 hold for your fans?
More shows! More music! More videos!