THE stunning voice of Joshua KYEOT is the first thing…
that strikes you when you hear the sublime music. Only One was released last October and gained huge applause. I ask him about his upcoming single, Playground Sweethearts, and the inspiration behind it; the musicians he was raised on; what comes next for him – and whether there are any tour dates coming this year.
The talented songwriter discusses the importance of South London (his base) and new artists to recommend; how he spent this Christmas; the way the stage and his music interconnect; the albums that mean the most to him – he provides some great advice for new musicians.
Hi, Joshua. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m well and I’m blessed.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Joshua KYEOT and I'm a singer, songwriter and entertainer. I released my debut single, Only One, last October – although; I have been performing around London for a long time now.
How was your Christmas? Did you manage to spend time with family?
Christmas was great - and that is exactly what I did. I spent it with the family, lots of babies running around; cousins, screaming and food. I got very competitive playing Articulate with the fam – trash-talk and all the good stuff.
Playground Sweethearts is your upcoming single. Can you tell us about its story and the meaning behind the song?
It is about a boy who was once too shy to express his feeling to a girl he knew when he was much younger. He met her a bit later on life and has regrets and is tired of regretting - so he is doing something about that.
Which musicians, would you say, have helped craft your sound? Who did you look up to growing up?
I've always loved the music of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson as well as Sisqo! My music is rooted in certain things you may not directly even hear in my music. I grew up on Hiplife, Highlife; Africa and Ghanaian music. I also took inspiration from the music my sister was listening to: Garage, R&B; Dru Hill, SWV...
Some Hip-Hop too, definitely.
So far in your career, you have supported Izzy Bizu. Was that a cool experience? What is she like to play with?
It was truly a great experience.
To be given the chance to support a terrific artist whose journey is still very close to its beginning...and see her do what she does on stage and simply learn from her - that entire experience was great. I loved it.
Reminds you, if you aren’t sure, that you are on the right path…
South London is where you are based. How important is the area regarding your inspiration and music? Do you get inspired by the people around you?
I get inspired by the people around me; mainly because they are people with stories worth hearing about and learning...
Whether it’s the kids on their bikes being as mischievous as I was when I was their age; the dudes working over at the chippy - I am certainly inspired to learn from what I see in the people of South London.
IN THIS PHOTO: YEBBA/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
What do you think of the modern music scene? Do you feel music is in a good place right now?
I feel music is always in a good place; simply because there will always be great musicians doing what they love. The issue is finding it. The music scene tends to be difficult to love as an artist because it is usually controlled by ‘the MAN’ - but the companies like AWAL, and artists like Stormzy and Chance the Rapper, leading the charge on the Indie front…
I can’t be too upset.
If you had the chance to select the three albums that mean the most to you – which would they be and why?
Tough question; but I‘ve got it…
Michael Jackson – Bad
The first artist I truly wanted to be like. The music video for Bad was simply the coolest thing I had ever seen (and might still be)!
Sisqó - Unleash the Dragon
The first singer that I really tried to sound like and mimic. I remember there was a day when I was really upset because I thought I could never be a singer - because I didn’t sound enough like Sisqó. I listened to it over and over again.
Paramore – Riot
The first C.D. I bought all by myself with my own money with no one else chipping in. I wanted the guitars they had and to be able to scream and rock-out like Hayley Williams.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow artists coming through right now?
I would say work tirelessly and be willing to learn.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Few interesting things in the work: please follow me on all social media to keep in touch!
How important is it getting your music out there? Is the stage somewhere you feel alive and ‘at home’?
The stage is a place I love and can’t get enough of - but, still, it puts me on edge; at least before I start. I don’t want to talk to too many people before the show: just focus on my performance and perfecting it. I am quite particular about how I want my music to sound - and arrangements and all that - and I take preparation very seriously.
Once I’m on stage, I’m flying.
2018 is here. What do you have planned in terms of goals and ambitions? How did you see in the New Year?
Certainly. I am looking forward to releasing new music; playing more gigs, learning more and building on the momentum from all the work done in 2017.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Fantasy - Earth, Wind & Fire, please!
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