There’s a new artist taking over, and her name is Kansola. She’s a Nigerian-American artist, and her debut single “Something I Want” was released this month on all digital music platforms.
The song is EVERYTHING! No lies, it’s great! I had the pleasure of chatting with Kansola about her epic arrival on the music scene, her music video for “Something I Want”, what it means for her to be a Nigerian-American artist and more. Check out our conversation below:
I’m excited to be chatting with the new Nigerian-American Artist Kansola. Her single “Something I Want” dropped on May 5th, the video dropped on the 13th and we’re here to chat about it all. How are you?
Kansola: I’m good! How are you? (laughs)
I’m great! (laughs) So tell me about “Something I Want.” You wrote it correct?
Kansola: I did!
What was your inspiration?
Kansola: “Something I Want” was inspired by my little summertime love affair (laughs). I like to call it the first time I fell in love. I started to feel these emotions that I’d really never felt before. It was at a time when I started thinking about songwriting and expressing myself, so it worked out really well. I was also in a new place. Last summer I was in Atlanta, and I decided to sit down, take out my journal and start writing. I actually started writing a ballad type love song. Then one day I got into the studio and I heard this Gospel beat. I’m like, “Okay, that’s lit!” I start free-styling on it, and all of a sudden it just turned into this masterpiece I guess (laughs).
That’s super, super dope. The song is like perfect. It sounds like all aspects of who you are in reference to you being Nigerian-American.
Is that something you were hoping to create? Something that would be playable in Nigeria and in the States?
Kansola: Definitely. Nigerian-American encompasses everything I am. I was born in America. I lived in Nigeria for a few years. My parents are Nigerian. A lot of my friends are Nigerian, but at the same time I’ve been in America for so long that it is a part of my culture. I wanted to make sure that the song encompassed both parts so that Americans could listen to it, enjoy it and still feel apart of the experience. And then Nigerians and other people in Africa or the Diaspora could enjoy it and feel like the song was reaching out to them. It really encompasses everything about being a Nigerian-American. I sing in English, but I also insert what we call pidgin. It’s a broken English thats common in West Africa. It’s a song that’s meant for people like me, but also for people in the Diaspora. It’s for anyone who has an interest in Africa, what we do and what our music sounds like.
Yeah. (Kansola laughs) So this is your first single.
Will the rest of your music mirror it?
Kansola: I have a lot of things in store. I think I’m very multidimensional when it comes to my music. This was a very Afro-Pop type record, but a lot of the things I write are R&B and Gospel. There will be a lot of different things throughout. One thing that will remain consistent are the vibes. African vibes will always be a part of my music. That’s what I groove to. That’s what I enjoy. That’s what inspires me. It’s always going to have a little African flavor, but it’s going to be a little different.
With that in mind, let’s talk about the video!
Kansola: Yes! (laughs)
Vibrant colors! Dancing on a field! I love it! Where’d you shoot the video?
Kansola: The video was shot in Atlanta. I went there the weekend of April 6th, and we shot the video. It was a really great time. We used a field. We had this country house. We had a Rolls-Royce. It was great. It was really fun. That was my first time on the set of a music video. It was a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it!
What were your reactions when you saw the completed video?
Kansola: Wow. Honestly, I was overwhelmed. I felt blessed. How could someone like me do something like this? I really did not expect that. I wanted quality work and for it to represent the quality of music we could produce; however, I did not expect that magnitude of quality. When releasing it to people, I did not expect the response back. I’m really just so grateful and blessed that I have a team of people that see me working hard and want to do for me as I’m doing for myself.
Kansola: (laughs) I’m really just blessed.
So you dropped your video on May 13th, and in the same weekend you graduated from Howard University’s School of Business. How has your experience at The Mecca influenced your music?
Kansola: Oh my goodness. If there’s any one thing that has really shaped me, other than God and my family, it’s really being at Howard University. Before coming to Howard I would’ve never thought I’d be releasing my own single, talk less my own music video, talk less at this caliber. It’s really surreal to look back on it. This is not what I envisioned for myself. It just goes to show that when you’re at The Mecca anything is really possible. I see people around me all the time doing things that they didn’t imagine they’d be doing. They’re excelling in ways that were unexpected. I’m so blessed to have met the people I have at The Mecca. I’m blessed to have been apart of the different organizations I joined that helped shape me, gave me vocal training, a support system and a network to be able to leverage. Those are all things I attribute to Howard University. Most importantly it taught me that as a Black female I can really do anything I want to do if I set my mind to it. That right there, that’s what “Something I Want” is all about! (laughs)
(laughs) On the video for “Something I Want” on Youtube, there’s a commenter that wrote, “I’m so subscribed Kansola more grease to your elbow.”
Kansola: Ooooh! (laughs)
I’ve never heard that before. (laughs)
Kansola: Oh man! (laughs)
What does it mean? (laughs)
Kansola: I want to say it’s a Nigerian saying but it might be in other parts of Africa as well. More grease to your elbow is like a praise. “Oh you’re doing well! More grease to your elbows!” It’s kind of like a pat on the back. “Keep going! More shine! You’ve got this! It’s going to get better! More grease to your elbows! Kudos to your hard work!” It’s a funny saying, but that’s really what it is.
I love it. So what should people be expecting from Kansola?
Kansola: Expect good music! That’s what I’m all about! For the next few months, I’m going to be working hard to create something that will be even more than what I’ve already created. It’ll be something that will set the tone for the rest of my career as a musician. People can look forward to good music and good quality. I’m also looking forward to doing live performances. I think of myself as a performer. I have been since I was little, so I’m excited. This is a song I want people to play at their weddings, and I want people to really understand what it’s about. It’s really about finding that one person like, “Wait! I didn’t know this was going to happen. I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t waiting for it, but now it’s here. So we’re going to be in this love thing.” I’m excited to perform it. I’m excited to release new music. I’m excited to engage with my fans. I’m excited to expand my audience. I’m really excited for what’s in store, and I know God’s got me!
Quality, quality, quality! Everything is such good quality. You’ve already mentioned it, but it legitimately is amazing! If I were selling bootleg DVDs, I would say it’s a glass copy. It’s so smooth and great.
Kansola: Thank you!
So to cap things off, give me five adjectives that describe you today!
Kansola: Wow, okay. Number one would be Ready. Even though I’m only 20 years old, I’ve been doing music for a long time. I’ve known that this is my passion and my talent for a long time. And I feel like my past experiences have prepared me for this moment. I don’t want all those blessings God have given me to go dormant in my life. I feel like this is the time for me, and I’m literally so ready for it. Number two would be Excited. It goes hand-in-hand with ready. Everything is exciting, and it’s about having a positive mindset. Three… I’m really Motivated by what I’m doing. I see that people appreciate it. I see that people are investing in me. That is the ultimate motivation for me to keep going. What I’m doing is really making me happy, and I couldn’t ask for anything else. For four, it’s funny, but I’m going to say Nigerian. I’m really Nigerian (laughs). Being in America for so long and having the amount of culture that I have in me, I don’t think that’s a mistake. And for my last one, I like to think of myself as really Industrious. I majored in Computer Information Systems. With that I’m working on different projects, building sites for people and already expanding my horizons. I take talents and opportunities and try to make them turn into something that’s advantageous for other people and myself. With every opportunity I get and every opportunity God bestows upon my life, I will use those tools to create something bigger. And that’s how I see things in my life. Nothing is by mistake. Everything that has been put in front of me is there for a purpose.
Alright now! (laughs) It’s been very nice chatting with you Kansola.
Kansola: Thank you!
I look forward to everything that you’re about to do, because it’s definitely about to impact the whole world.
Kansola: Thank you so much. I appreciate you.
Kansola’s debut single “Something I Want” can be downloaded here. Make sure you follow her on Facebook @IAmKansola and on Instagram and Twitter @IAm_Kansola, because as aforementioned, she’s definitely about to take over!
Bryant Smith is the founder and owner of The Top Tea.