“the track is an introspection into self love, self respect and self worth”
Kasai blends the ethereal and delicate vocals reminiscent of 90s/00s R&B with snappy sister solidarity on her summer single “Pretty Boys” featuring close friend and collaborator Joey Bada$. The track is a battlecry and an instruction, telling all ‘pretty boys..stop playing my girl’ – she backs her friends when the cute looking guys come with not so cute intentions.
However, new single ‘Habits’ takes a seasonal shift and looks inward. Released at the beginning of this month and prompted by a breakup, the track is an introspection into self love, self respect and self worth – written and produced in the cosy confines of her bedroom, with vocals recorded in her wardrobe ‘soundproofed’ by coats and jackets.
We caught up with the singer-songwriter at Basement HQ to talk about her new single, personal style, streetwear culture and why she reps so hard for West London.
What were your earliest musical influences and how old were you when you first experimented with music?My Family – my mum used to play guitar and sing for us. My brother used to play instruments, we’d do little sessions at home together. My mum would sing, my brother played guitar and my other brother played piano. My dad also used to play music really loud every Friday night with a drink by himself
What influence did growing up in West London have for you? Being completely honest I don’t think the area had an influence on me as an artist,I don’t think creativity was pushed in West London. Coming up I always saw artists coming out of South London,North London. So it definitely encouraged me to be the one flying the flag for my side of the city. How do you feel your cultural heritage ties into your musical influences? Do you feel it shaped your musical tone? My parents are anglo-indian, most people from that culture listen to loads of western music.So the music I was growing up to was subconsciously making me more versatile and open-minded. What music are you listening to at the moment? To be honest, I listen to a lot of different music but sometimes it can distract what you’re creating yourself. I still go back and listen to Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation album. Frank Ocean, I’ve still got Channel Orange on repeat. I’ve been listening to a lot of new stuff too, Kasien’s new track, Ghetts’ Black Rose. Daniel Caesar, Octavian, Slowthai – you know. What or who are your style inspirations? To be honest, I’m still growing and I’m still to find out what my own true style is. I’m very inspired by the way men dress. Growing up with three brothers,I’d always steal their clothes and see what they’re wearing, that kinda had an influence on me. What’s your opinion on London streetwear culture at the moment? It’s hard to have an opinion, because its not just about London, I think a lot of countries are dressing quite the same. I think its more about the city,we can share the same culture as someone in New York, LA or Toronto. We can definitely push London streetwear culture more. What was the process behind the creation of Habit?Me and my friend were in my bedroom making this beat and I realised that this was the one that I talk about how to “love me love me love me” on. I basically wrote the whole story on what happened with my ex-boyfriend. Put the microphone in the wardrobe and “sound-proofed” it with a load of jackets. It’s crazy actually, I sang the vocals in there. What was it that made you write Habits, your new single? It happened really naturally, it was actually a breakup. As you do I spent a lot of time reflecting on the behaviours from both of us during the relationship. After I’d gotten over everything I realised I was never sad because of him,even though he didn’t treat me right. It was because I didn’t respect myself. It started to make sense that this was actually about self love, and not even so much in relationships, in every situation in life. What was the idea behind the artwork for the single? Polaroids are some of the most natural photo’s you can take, there’s no burst like an iPhone. It’s taken and it prints and thats it. My friend took two pictures of me. The artwork has two images.This is to represent my ex not being in the picture anymore. Following on from the DIY feel I want to get across, I wrote the text with my finger on my iPhone notes then get my friend who’s can use photoshop to scan it in and finish it off. But yeah, mainly to symbolise that he’s not in the picture with me anymore. What are you working on going forward?I’m working on music, more singles – the EP is coming out soon so I’m getting ready for that.I’ve been working more on my production though, now Habit’s,which I co-produced out I can focus more on finding my signature sound. I just spent a week in Scotland,working on different sounds, different programmes.mI use Logic a lot so I’ve been working on FL Studio more.
Photos and Questions: Liv Jank
Video Shot By: Dani Monteiro