Lord Kez

LORD KEZ

Words Whitney Bryan
Photography Jessie Lily Adams
All Artwork Lord Kez

If Lord Kez could be summed up into one word, it would be ‘enigma’—a word that can be found inside the even deeper riddle of her body of work (Mentality, Revenge Season). A word that becomes almost paradoxical when I come to find that beneath the veneer of mystery, lies an enthusiastic, passionate personality! I write this to say that Lord Kez isn’t someone you can easily place into a predetermined box.

As an artist, singer-songwriter, painter (and potentially even future fashion designer). Lord Kez is an all round creative with a chameleon-like quality for self- reinvention. Now with the upcoming debut of her sophomore EP, ‘Charcotta’, Lord Kez is poised to manifest a new season of artistic expression.

In her first interview with the The Ingénue, we discuss: family roots, music, and…the rest I’ll leave readers to decide. If there’s one thing to be known for sure about Lord Kez, it’s to always expect the unexpected.

So! To jump right in. What was it that inspired you to get into music?

LK: Well throughout my childhood I’ve always been surrounded by music. My mom used to play the organ in church and I was always really fascinated with that, so I decided to start teaching myself, then I started playing in the church; after that, I started playing little covers of other songs. In the beginning that’s what really inspired me; I felt so connected to the instrument, I really felt like I could express myself on the keys. That really developed into me making my own songs; doing some covers that I’d put up on Instagram. Then I decided to start making my own music. With my friend I made my first song and put it on Soundcloud and I realised then, seeing how people reacted to my music and how much they loved it, I thought… this is actually where my passion is—expressing myself and being relatable to people, so that we both can feel something.

Leading on from that, with you growing up in church, I also know that you went to high school in Abu Dhabi too! How much do you feel those experiences have shaped who you are now as an artist?

LK: I do feel like when I went to Abu Dhabi my whole perception of reality shifted! It was a different culture, it felt like the world was at my feet. There’s just so many different people from all over. I met so many people, and I also really learnt a lot about myself during that process. Abu Dhabi is where I started making my first EP on Soundcloud, but that’s old! I don’t wanna talk about my music haha.

To keep the momentum going I know you’re from Kimberley in South Africa, and I really wanted to ask how that shaped your identity as an artist. Especially now you’re breaking into more western media?

LK: I feel like when I was living in Kimberley, I had that very ‘small town’ mindset. All the people around me didn’t really understand what wavelength I was on, or you know I’d express myself and it would be something weird, you know? In a small town everyone is really…basic haha. That kind of small-town mentality, and I feel like that took so much away from me as a person; I felt like I needed to water down my personality. Luckily my family have always been really supportive, it’s just that Kimberley isn’t really a good space for creatives, especially for the type of music I make. In the beginning even my family didn’t understand what I was saying, you know I was saying Revenge Season, and they were like, whattt?

I’d like to ask what inspires your artistry? I feel like you’ve created this whole aesthetic that really complements your music so well.

LK: I feel like my aesthetic isn’t really something that I built, more that I’m just living it, it’s who I am. I really used to have trouble with my self-esteem, so I felt like expressing myself in all these different ways really helped me realise my worth; what I could do and what I could be.

Even though ‘Revenge Season’ is your first official EP, I heard your other unofficial EP, ‘Mentality’ on Soundcloud, which I really loved! Do you think since then you’ve changed the way you see things?

LK: I do feel like, Revenge Season was a turning point in my life, for me Revenge Season was…in order for me to become this new person I had to let go of my other selves. You listen to the songs and they allude to so many different things, but the last song is, ‘Vendetta’, and it’s like I have vendetta with the girl in the mirror. It was me saying, I’m aware of my old self and I had to kill her to move on, she’s not dead—she’s just evolved.

Revenge Season was really an introduction, whereas Charcotta expresses me much more than Revenge does. Charcotta is a little taste of everything, it’s a sonic experience; there’s nothing that sounds the same. I’d never want to be boxed in, like. ‘Oh, she’s an R&B artist, or a Rap artist’. Revenge Season kind of subtly put me in a box, but I can’t wait for people to hear Charcotta because it’s really who I am now.

Leading on from that, with you growing up in church, I also know that you went to high school in Abu Dhabi too! How much do you feel those experiences have shaped who you are now as an artist?

LK: I do feel like when I went to Abu Dhabi my whole perception of reality shifted! It was a different culture, it felt like the world was at my feet. There’s just so many different people from all over. I met so many people, and I also really learnt a lot about myself during that process. Abu Dhabi is where I started making my first EP on Soundcloud, but that’s old! I don’t wanna talk about my music haha.

To keep the momentum going I know you’re from Kimberley in South Africa, and I really wanted to ask how that shaped your identity as an artist. Especially now you’re breaking into more western media?

LK: I feel like when I was living in Kimberley, I had that very ‘small town’ mindset. All the people around me didn’t really understand what wavelength I was on, or you know I’d express myself and it would be something weird, you know? In a small town everyone is really…basic haha. That kind of small-town mentality, and I feel like that took so much away from me as a person; I felt like I needed to water down my personality. Luckily my family have always been really supportive, it’s just that Kimberley isn’t really a good space for creatives, especially for the type of music I make. In the beginning even my family didn’t understand what I was saying, you know I was saying Revenge Season, and they were like, whattt?

Well to ask about your art too, as a woman of colour have you ever felt you had to compromise your vison in any way?

LK: I do feel like I didn’t realise it at the time, but I’ve learnt to accept that it’s also the way people think; their perception of me is none of my business, and I’m always gonna live by that

Do you ever see yourself going beyond music?

LK: Well…I’m definitely doing art along with my music; I’m working on my own line of clothing! I’ve been working on it for a really long time, but I haven’t really put my mind to it, you know with all the music and art I’ve been doing, but it’s something I definitely see myself doing. Having my own line that’s non-binary, you can just wear what you want and its art. That’s what I see for myself in the next couple of years, and I’m really looking forward to that.

So, last question! I just saw some of the art you and Mduza Ndlovu did for Charcotta, which I loved! I feel like the scene in South Africa is so big right now. I just wondered if you had any favourite African artists out right now?

LK: Hmmm…my favourite African artists. I’m just gonna say: Shekinah, Mars Baby. This is always a difficult question for me! I always get asked, but I’m not really listening to many, but. Also, Aylø! I’m a really big fan of Aylø, and he’s also on my project! Aah yeah! Priddy Ugly, he’s South African and he’s a rapper. There’s also an upcoming artist, her name is Debra Nist, she’s on Soundcloud and she’s incredible, she’s someone I definitely want to work with. For now, that’s all I can think of!

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