Where Are They Now: Kemi Sulola

We sat down with Music Potential graduate, Kemi Sulola…

Where Are They Now – Kemi Sulola

Kemi Sulola, singer, songwriter and Capital XTRA’s Music Potential graduate, recently sat down with Big Music to discuss life since completing the programme, her new music and her future plans and collaborations.

Thanks for speaking with us today, Kemi!

Thanks for having me, Big Music.

As we both know, you are a previous Music Potential participant. What have you been up to since then?

I’ve really been getting my sound together and finding producers and musicians who align with it. I’m on the path of getting to know myself and the direction I’m heading in.

Okay, so what sound have you been searching for?

I’m quite an emotional person when I hear certain musical chords being played – it makes me feel a certain way which is hard to explain. I’ve been trying to get that soulful feeling in my music.

Well, it sounds like you’re on the right path! How did you find out about Capital XTRA’s Music Potential?

I was actually performing at a festival in Shoreditch and a lady was giving out Music Potential leaflets. I wouldn’t usually, but I took one to fan myself because I was hot! I realised that it actually looked quite interesting and decided to sign up.

Haha, that is probably one of the best stories we’ve heard. Are you glad you signed up in the end?

Definitely, being part of Music Potential was great because it offered me the opportunity to have a career in music. Plus, it wasn’t too regimented either which was good.

That’s great to hear. What inspired you to get into music?

I love artists like Musiq Soulchild, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, but I would also put it down to my environment. My dad is always playing his favourite reggae records in the house and when he’d drop me to school, he would play certain songs in his car. All of that made me want to get into music.

In a lot of cases, inspiration is sparked from home. Could you talk to us briefly about the two tracks you are planning to release?

Sure, one has more of an upbeat, funky feel. The other one was written as a result of me going through an unknown chronic illness. It’s strange to me how in those moments, you get a new perspective of things and see life in a different way. I’m excited to release these tracks to hopefully help those going through any issues find closure too.

To know that you’ve created music to inspire others is definitely admirable.

I appreciate that, Big Music.

What advice would you give to 16 year old you?

I would have said to myself to be confident. I’ve always been quite a shy person and I’m just kind of coming out into myself now.

Now, what we tend to do here at Big Music is ask our interviewees a few quick-fire questions. Are you ready, Kemi?

Yeah, go for it!

Okay, what’s the silliest way you’ve been injured?

Probably tripping over something, aha.

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse? 

I’m thinking a lion.

That would be pretty scary to be honest! Tell us one word your school teachers would use to describe you?

I’d say quiet.

What would your autobiography be called?

Following The Light, because I feel like there’s an instinct I follow throughout my life.

Well done, Kemi. That is the end of the quick-fire questions! Outside of music, what are your hobbies?

I like watching nature documentaries and yoga is quite calming too.

Nice! Have you collaborated with other artists at all or is that something you’re looking to do?

Yeah I have, there’s a rapper I’ve worked with under the stage name, Lemzi. I’ve also worked with another guy called J.Rose. I’m looking to do some work with a few female artists too. There are so many artists I want to collaborate with!

Is there a dream artist you’d like to collaborate with one day?

I would love to work with somebody like Pharrell Williams or Q-Tip. It wouldn’t even have to be an artist either, I would love to work with musicians and producers. Salaam Remi is an amazing producer who has worked with artists like Amy Winehouse and Alicia Keys. Working with someone like that would be dope.

Nice! Who are you currently listening to?

Nothing in particular. The next thing I will probably listen to will be Jorja Smith’s new album. Whatever I see around me, I’ll check that out really. A rapper called Melville also has a good project out.

Do you have advice for young people wanting to increase their popularity and develop their creativity?

I think you have to listen to your instinct and go for opportunities. For example, if you like art and there’s an art event but you have nobody to go with, go by yourself – you never know what could happen as a result.

What would you say is the best promotional tool to use as a creative?

Social media is great, but I feel like going to shows, meeting people and is always the best method.

Great! Do you have any future plans?

I just hope I can make my project dope, get it out there, share it, tour and collaborate.

We wish you all the best, Kemi!

Thanks, Big Music!

Kemi has faced challenges which have inspired her to write great music. This is not uncommon in the industry, check out the 5 creatives who’ve shared their mental health stories.

Want to know more about Kemi? Be sure to check out her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.