The Nigerian music industry has been growing steadily over the past few years, with more acts breaking out both locally and internationally, the genre is having one of the biggest sonic renaissances in the past few years and every new star is trying to bask in the limelight.
One of these rising stars is Kinsolo is an Afrobeats singer, songwriter, and rapper. He started making music while in school and eventually moved to Lagos to pursue his dreams after graduation. He dropped his debut EP, “Kinsolo 1,”
in 2019 to rave reviews. The EP came with the singles “Queen Sheba,” and “Grace” which have a million views between them on YouTube. In November 2019, he embarked on a USA tour to promote his singles.
In March 2020, he dropped his second EP “Kinsolo 2,” with the singles “Drummer Boy” & “Time of Your Life” ft Buju. On December 4, 2021, he dropped his debut album “Grooveland” which contained the singles “Kom Kom” & “All Mine” ft Buju. These singles have enjoyed sustained exposure on the radio in Lagos, Abuja, and Eastern Nigeria, with spins in nightclubs and lounges also inclusive. One of the lead singles, “Kom Kom,” has amassed over 139k views on Vevo. The follow-up video, “All Mine” ft Buju.
We caught up with KINSOLO and spoke about coming up with the music scene, his sound, and the upcoming Ampioanno remix for ‘All Mine’, his “Kinsolo Live” tour, and a football tournament titled “Kinsolo Cup 2021”, an initiative to inspire the next generation.
Tell us how you grew up, living in Imo, your influences, and how they shaped your love for music early on?
KINSOLO: I grew up around a lot of music. My parents would dress my sister and I up for school with some Don Williams or Fela playing in the background. These were some of my earliest memories. Music has always formed an integral part of my consciousness. I was also part of a dance crew called DFGz in secondary school, and we spent a lot of time listening to songs to pick what to dance to. I watched a lot of Chris Brown’s music videos, memorized and recreated most of those dance steps, and I could sing a lot of his songs word for word. It’s with this foundation of music that I grew into the world, and it only made sense in the end that I devoted my life to music.
How did you go from being a Pharmacist to becoming a musician and when did you know you wanted to pursue music fully, take us on that journey?
KINSOLO: My foray into music started at a time when I started to question myself on what I wanted my contribution to the world would be. I was a pharmacy student at the time, and I felt I needed a higher purpose. Having always loved music, I grew up seeing music as a powerful tool that only a select few can yield to bring change to the world. And when I thought about it, I felt I had some music in me that could change the world. Here I am.
How would you describe your sound and what it means to you?
KINSOLO: My sound is AfroGroove. Groovy African music. It does what it says on the tin. My producers and I combine African melodies and sound to get you grooved up. This is my gift to the world. Ultimately it’s Afrobeats, in the broad sense, but there’s always my groovy take to it because whenever I make music, I envision crowds of 50,000 or more people screaming those lyrics back at me at the top of their lungs. That’s the crux of my music, music for enjoyment. Music to create happy memories with.
Kinsolo 1 & 2 are both projects that seem to be one but yet so different, what’s the idea behind both projects and take us through making them and the memories that stood out?
KINSOLO: Let me preface this answer by saying there’s going to be a Kinsolo 3. It’s a trilogy I have planned. It’s the story of a young king, chronicling his rise as he takes over and rules the land of Grooveland. So you can see the growth in the young king from Kinsolo 1 to Kinsolo 2, and how he has taken some control of the throne. In Kinsolo 3 we will find him addressing some of the challenges he has faced in the first few years of his reign
Grooveland was your debut album, talk to us about the reception and creating that?
KINSOLO: Grooveland did what it was supposed to do: a well-produced, well-sung, and well-arranged album to show that I didn’t come to play. So that when people look back 10 years from now when I’m on top of the world, they can see that this guy started out being dope. Creating Grooveland was another step in the story that we started from Kinsolo 1. My next 3 albums have already been planned and they all tell the story of Kinsolo and Grooveland. Although they may have different titles, they are all strung together with the story of Kinsolo and his new kingdom of Grooveland.
Which do you cherish more, the process of making music and recording it or getting to perform live?
KINSOLO: Woah good question. It’s hard to choose, honestly. I have fun both ways. When I’m in the studio I catch a lot of cruise-turning vibes and melodies into words and ideas. And when I’m on stage I am amazed at how those vibes and melodies and ideas have come to mean so much to so many people and they’re on the same wavelength with me. At that moment, when we’re all singing together, I think we are having a deeply spiritual experience, being connected in that way.
What do you want your music to mean to whoever listens, what levels do you want to reach with your sound in the coming years?
KINSOLO: I want my music to be the soundtrack to your best memories. I want you to remember the nicest things that have ever happened to you and there’s Kinsolo’s music playing in the background. I’m always trying to outdo myself. So whatever I say I want to do here in 5 years, once I do that I will want to supersede it. Overall I want to top all the charts in the world. And I want that Grammy. Or 5. Or 10. Basically, just give me all the trophies because I’m coming for all of them.
What’s the best song you think you’ve made?
KINSOLO: My next song. I haven’t made it yet but I know it’s going to be better than everything I’ve made before it.