With 2010 upon us we will start to read articles on artists that are tipped for the top in the New Year and Kasha is one of them. His raw, emotional and poetic style that accompanies an electric mix of street vibes, subtle punk tones is guaranteed to make people stand up and take notice. Having being labelled as one of the strongest lyricists in the UK and compared to the legendary rapper 2pac we’re expecting big things. Here he talks exclusively to Flavour.
Who is Kasha? What does he represent?
Kasha is a young man that has always had a lot of ambition, that was always a council to my pears, with a wise head on my shoulders, always trying to reach for high achievement and in doing so found his path in which was music, a role that I take very seriously. Once Tyrone Roach found his place in the world as Kasha he sees no limits to what he can do. Ever loving, aspiring to be better to be good.
I represent that anything is possible, the magic of wonder, the power of you, all the good the great in life, the beauty, us the people, that is what I represent.
Where in London did you grow up?
I’ve always grown up around Charlton, Greenwich, Blackheath. Those areas have always held the beginning of my life source, that’s where I grew up.
How do you think that has influenced your music?
Life isn’t about growing up in dangerous areas and those particular areas aren’t on the map for being terribly dangerous, the surrounding areas had some serious things going on. As a child I remember seeing people that would come in from other areas and cause trouble. I’ve seen some people get really hurt. We on the other hand were always about having fun, for the first period of my street life we were just playing football. We were all just all about the spirit of the young , you know, being away from home, we did cause some trouble, I’m not going to lie, we weren’t saints, but we weren’t that gang hungry out there to cause harm, that’s the main word, they cause harm, we didn’t carry ourselves in that manner. Those particular areas inspired me to be ever aware of the communities around. I’ve always had a broad view of the world; I looked beyond the area around me. I really look at the people around me, which are evident in my rhymes. Your environment is everything to how you grow, it developed my mind in a certain way and I know certain thing and I react to certain things in a certain away because of the groups around me. So it strongly influenced me but I’ve never been one to say that you are just your surroundings, they influenced but you as a person can control how you act and behave.
What type of music do you listen too?
I’ve always been very open when it comes to music, I find inspiration in song writing and well thought out songs, whatever genre they may come from I hold no boundaries. I’ve always been very broad-minded from a very early age. The only influences as a child was the music that my elders listened too, because as I child you don’t get to pick, there was a lot of rnb, soul hip hop and my uncle used to play a lot of jungle. When I started to be able to pick and choose my own CDs my first choices were rnb, hiphop, jungle and drum and bass up until this day has a great place in my heart. Also a lot of roots and culture, I love indie and rock and pop but my main choice has always been hip hop I can never deny that. I just love a good song that can make you feel, take over your emotions, I embrace that, I don’t shy away from anything.
Who would you say you were mainly influenced by?
My own life journey, because where I grew up was only part of my life journey as is the music I listen to. Life in general, working 9 to 5, the environment I have found myself in, the friends around me, family, the clubs your go to, the pubs, the shops, they all influence me. Life in general.
What else do you think you would be doing if you were not making music?
To have your eyes open to something you clearly love that I a huge part of life, being so involved in music, it’s hard to imagine oneself being without that love. I think me as a person has always been highly ambitious, there were other dreams before I was a musician and I took them very seriously at the time. It’s not in my nature to do nothing, just to lay down and die. Whatever I do I will always take it very seriously, I would always make sure I was happy with what I do, that I have done it to my best, that it meant something to me.
How would you describe your music?
Its my soul words, I find a place when I am writing, a place where I go it’s my centre it’s where I need to be at that time in order to express. I never force it upon my self. Some of the things I say and some of the philosophies that I come out with amaze me, it amazes that my brain can reach that level. I teach myself so many things when I write, I confirm so many things. It’s something I can’t help, it’s a form of expression that is part for myself but then also very aware of others and very giving to others. I try to express meaning but at the same time make enjoyable music, I’m always asking the opinion of the listener. I would describe it as someone who is truly trying to make a difference in my own existence as that of others. I’m really just trying to give a bit of hope and sunshine to others and at the same time guiding my self to the right path. You are hearing someone who is wrestling with the choices that have to be made in life. Music is such a powerful tool and I am trying to use that tool in its best possible way.
What made you decide to do more conscious music, instead of the typical HipHop or R&B route [pop culture lyrics]?
I do experiment; I love music in all forms. You will have tracks from me that have a rnb influences and pop influences, I don’t believe that one can be put in a box, if its’ enjoyable, as I have said, you end up giving a good feeling to people. There’s nothing wrong with music about love like rnb nothing wrong with pop, it’s all feel good music. I make conscious music because I have a lot to say, I understand what hip hop is, and if I’m going to do it then I’m going to do it properly to its specification. I’ve chosen to be a conscious MC in the hip hop form therefore I express and love it to the core. But don’t just expect one feel from me, there are many sides to Kasha and in the future those will be revealed.
Your music tells extraordinary stories of your surroundings and the problems in the world. In a similar way 2Pac did. How does it make you feel when people compare you, as 2Pac is one of many music artists idol and inspiration.
Being compared to 2pac would make anyone of my generation feel honoured and that I do feel highly honoured. To say that 2pac was a great artist would a complete understatement. I just feel privileged to be put in the same sentence or thought of in the same breath as 2pac. It makes me feel like anything is achievable and I don’t want let anyone down.
What’s your involvement in Vivid Imagery? What does Vivid Imagery do?
Heckles “we plot to take over the world”. Vivid Imagery Is our record label, me, Jon Hockley and Maximus Real are the 3 founding member of Vivid Imagery. I’m the artist, Jon is in charge of Production and the Technicals, Max is in charge of business and management. We hope and plan to one day be a major label. We started in 2004 mainly to protect my career from the whole industry standard contracts and exploitation but now together as a team we move mountains, we handle the business the distribution the bookings the interviews, press, the web presence, the recording, production and collaborations. Vivid Imagery is a team of guys that will stop at nothing until they have taken over the world. We have a lot of the parts in place to make things happens and over come any obstacles put in front on us.
You have been labelled as ‘the strongest lyricist in the UK’ and “a star” by some one the most influential people in the UK music scene, how does that make you feel? Does that motivate you to produce more music or do you feel like it places too much pressure on you?
Any accolade like that would make anyone feel great, absolutely overwhelmed. I’m astounded that people of such stature and achievement in their own right would talk of me in such manner. To be labelled as the strongest lyricist in the UK it’s a little bit out order to a lot of other lyricists out there who are working equally as hard but everyone is entitled to their opinion I’m not going to take anything away from anyone’s opinion. It’s one of the greatest compliments that one could receive but I’m not going to become all egotistical then stand up and say I’m the best that’s not my place. I love my people in all their forms and if you are give your heart to the music I can only give love to that. There are a lot of great rhymers out there.
You’re set to perform on a Music Against Knives school and club tour around the UK. Why do you think knife crime has become such a huge issue in the UK. What else do you think can be done to tackle knife crime?
There are a lot of elements involved which equate to the young mind of today, thinking and feeling the way it does. It hard to stand up and say that my culture is messed up , there are some beautiful things about my culture about my people and im not talking about being a black person , I mean the people that I walk and talk with every day. We have a culture problem here, where its perceived to be down to be hood to be ignorant, uneducated, always aggressive, disrespectful to elders and those of the opposite sex there is a real hateful element to the youth and I don’t think that it can be blamed on the parents or on bad lives because you have got kids coming from good backgrounds acting a fool. It’s become cool to act this way for a few but it’s those few give the impression to others that all are like that, which isn’t true. There are some bright talented and smart kids out there that would love to see change in their environment and if that culture can get rid of this violent nature where it’s cool to be violent then it can be as beautiful as the other cultures. Knife and gun crime is becoming so prominent because their isn’t really any thing positive at the end of the tunnel, there is no self belief any more, we need to bring back the drive and ambition, we need to inject that back, that’s the key, they know its their but it’s so easy just to lamp around smoking, it’s the easy life. You need to go to the core to inject a different state of mind on the young people, then you will see some change.
You’ve been nominated for the V-inspired peace awards for his contribution to stopping street violence. How did that come about?
Being nominated for such an award must make you pretty proud that all your hard work is being recognized.
How do you feel about your nomination?
I think it came about because I have put a lot of work into a lot of charitable events that go toward trying to stop knife and gun crime on the street. I’ve been doing speeches and performances around the country trying got make a difference and I fully represent everything that these charities stand for. It’s an honour to be put up against so many other people who have been trying hard to make difference.
What are you working on at the moment? What can we expect from the album/EP?
2nd album is nearly done which is called Life On Dead Trees, I’ve just got 2 tracks left to do, and that will be coming out spring time. In the meantime I’m doing a mixtape called Retro Kid which is basically me going back on all the classics and soul greats, the kind of ones that my mum used to play around the house, I went back down memory lane, most of which comes from the 80s and some from the 90s, it going to be unexpected for a lot people and it’s going to be free, everyone likes something for free!
We have just recorded a video called Black Rhyme from my album The Oracle and we have also recorded a video for an anonymous song so anonymous intact that no one in the video has heard the track but I can reveal it to you know. It’s a track off my next album called “We Need Love” featuring a good friend of ours called mike soul. I’m just trying to bring you a sweet flavour to couple the music through strong visuals. We worked with a great director called Dale Hooker, he is involved in so many things such as all the visual Ministry of Muscle, let me just plug that. Also look out for my remix of a Jay Z track, the release on this is imminent.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
I would like to work with The Script, Common, Pixie Lott, I would like to work with a lot of people but I will give you those three as an example of the broad range sounds I’m looking to do in the future. There really are no limits to what I will do, there are so many great artists out there at the moment that being able to work with even 3 of them would be a dream come true.
Are there any UK artists you feel are doing really well at the moment? What do you think of the UK music scene?
There is your boys you know, there is the hit makers that are doing their thing right now, you look at the charts you know who is doing things, I’m proud that there are so many English artists dominating the charts right now, there was a long time where it was predominantly imported music was mainstream that everyone over here was apparently listening to. It’s good to see the British chart full of British music. So many are making music with the intention of making everyone around them feel good, there is areal buzz about British music right now and it’s great to be a part of that and to be around to witness the turn of the tide.
What’s your favourite track out at the moment?
Maxwell’s Pretty Wings, that is my tune right now, for an artist of such greatness to come back and bring it right back after all these years, it’s like he never left. He is just as amazing as he ever was. It’s inspiring the song is beautiful
What other interests do you have?
I love adventures, I love time with the family, I love a good movie great food, I love travelling, I love the stars at night, the sun in the morning, watching Jon play the piano, listening to Maximus speak, watching my little brother do his thing, watching the people go by, a good poem, watching people being creative. I’m interested in life.
Words by Tolu Akisanya