The Power of Spoken Word
Emulating what it means to be a true artist, Kojey Radical has explored every creative avenue from poetry and illustration to fashion and, of course, music. We sat down with the London native to talk about his influences, mental health, fashion and what’s next.
Is there anyone in your childhood from the ‘90s you are influenced by?
Andre 3000. Outkast was really when being able to make alternative hip-hop started. Outkast came out and It was relatable in every sense and enjoyable. As a lyricist, I’ve always preferred Andre 3000.
Tell me about your new track ‘If only’ and your struggle with depression that led up this track.
I think the internet makes it very easy to put a mask or a face-up. I did that really well last year, I did it because I knew for anybody looking at my journey and my career and felt inspired by it, I didn’t want to show them the chink in the armour. It was easier to keep the façade up, that way they had something to believe in. Then I realised I had to embrace it publically otherwise it becomes a secret, something I’m ashamed of. I’m not proud of it because I know it’s not over.
– KOJEY RADICAL
A lot of people in London struggle with mental health, do you think the pressure within the city is a factor that causes it?
Yeah… there are many factors. I broke it down to being overwhelmed by an experience or emotion that you’re supposed to learn that you’re not understanding. Life is constantly going to throw obstacles and some of them are going to make sense and feel more tolerable than others and some are just going to grate away. When it starts to remove your voice and your ability to speak about it and you start to internalise it is when it becomes dangerous. I think that’s why I began to put It into music because it stopped me internalising it and I have to accept it because I have to perform it and explain it.
When you start to do that you’re helping others as well.
Exactly, and I hope people listen to it for that reason.
What advice would you give to youth with mental health issues?
Don’t beat yourself up for being confused, sad, anxious and different. Don’t let anybody tell you that you need to take drugs to cure it or nothing like that. Look for tools that you can give to yourself, whether that’s going outside and breathing, meditation. Find alternatives to succumbing to the fact that, that is who you are. I think people are afraid to find out who they really are at the end of the day.
What’s in-store for the rest of 2018?
More fashion, I’m going to put out a film of some kind, a great live show and then work on the album.
What do you expect people to feel after seeing your performance?
I never focus on the person that’s already a fan, I focus on the friend that’s not sure who the fan brings. When that person walks out, they say “you know what, I like that brother, I’m going to go and listen to him and tell my friends about it”. That’s how the music spreads organically. When you’re not signed, that’s all you really have and what takes effect. I’m still here so I can’t be doing that bad.
You’re doing really good, keep it up!