An Interview with Up and Coming NYC Based Artist Kabir
Better Left Unsaid By Kabir: Click Here To Listen - Spotify SoundCloud YouTube Music
Show You Some Love Music Video - YouTube
Show You Some Love Music Video - YouTube
1. Tell me about your recently released EP. How does it compare/contrast stylistically & genre wise with some of your earlier releases?
If you’re reading this or listening to this, I genuinely want you to forget everything I’ve done, up until this point. This EP represents a true rebirth of who I am as a person, as a musical artist, and who I want to eventually become. This EP is centered around my growth as a human being, after dealing with heartbreak, that has stayed and lingered with me since college. I fell in love for the first time in college. It was the best, and worst experience possible, all in one. This EP follows the storyline of what happened, the struggles, the happiness, the advice that was given on multiple fronts. It’s truly a romantic story, that has culminated in 6 original, refreshing songs, designed to help you to feel every emotion. You are given a glimpse into my character, and my life experiences.
2. What is your reasoning behind titling your EP Better Left Unsaid?
I have never worked this hard on a project before. How do I describe, the toughest thing I have ever gone through in my life, and overcame successfully? It was hard to describe, all the emotions I felt during this creative process. We are here for a short amount of time. In this life, we are on a rock flying through space, at infinite speed, all here by chance. The mere notion, that we can experience feelings, is more than enough for me. So, in the end, I decided that it's all "Better Left Unsaid." I'm lucky to be here.
3. What struggles have you faced as a new & upcoming artist?
Trying to be someone I am not. I learned early on, that you cannot repeat or go down the same path, as any other artist. I was too influenced by what others said, was tried and tested, and that would also work for me. It didn’t work for me. I am a unique individual in every single regard, and I owe it to myself to respect that. I owe it to myself, my family, and my fans, to keep respecting that. I owned the challenges that I faced initially, by now being presently authentic, and creative.
4. What factors initially drew you into the style(s) of music, you're now most comfortable recording & releasing music in?
Part of it, comes from the modern, contemporary culture that influences my sound. But if you dive deeper, you see that there are elements of American Standards, Indian Classical & R&B/Soul, that have manifested into a single soul. It’s a constant duality that comes into question, when you’re talking about who I am as a person. If you’re being pulled into 2 different directions, a Sikh & an American, when you push & pull on them long enough, eventually they’re going to become one. My unique upbringing, made it possible for me to become the artist I am now.
5. Did you have a creative breakthrough at any point during the creation & conceptualization process, for this EP?
Almost every single time we were in the studio. When my producer and I were together for 2 weeks, every single night in Brooklyn, we felt like we were creating magic at every single turn. We would produce, write, and record entire songs, in one single day. The ability to bond, and just work off of each other, really helped me to open up about my emotions. This helped us to create newfound sounds, that in my mind, I’m hopeful would resonate with all new listeners. It wasn’t a breakthrough, it was therapy, to be able to create a project that means so much to me.
6. What is the story behind the lyrics, that you are trying to convey to the listener?
It is all heartbreak. I want all my listeners to realize, that I’m taking them to a moment in time, where I was most vulnerable, and I was essentially a kid. I was essentially a kid, in my actions and thoughts. With that being said, I was able to rise from the ashes. I was able to reinvent myself, and now I am a better artist and person because of it. If you’ve gone through heartbreak, I hope you realize, just like I do now, that everything happens for a reason.
7. Who are your major influences? Why?
My major musical influences, are without a doubt my family. Even though it is cliche, they have shaped me, trained my ear, and allowed me to express myself emotionally, through my lifelong interactions with them. You would feel the same way too, if you woke up every Saturday, to the sound of a Sitar, Tubla, Harmonium, Violein, and Saarangi. They are in my humble opinion, one of the best Classical Indian artists ever, because deep down, family and emotional bonds mean everything to me. I would not be here today, without the moral and emotional support, that those who are closest to me, have gifted to me.
8. Who is your all time dream collaborator? Why?
If I could collaborate with one person, it’d be Frank Ocean. He is at the epicenter of what a true artist can do, when they are truly and unapologetically themselves. It’d be a dream collaboration. I think that our voices would mesh really well together. I’ve always dreamed of it. There isn’t much more to be said about Frank Ocean, than what’s already out there. I look up to him greatly.
9. What are the most important things you envision, a newfound listener of your songs, would take from them, both musically & lyrically?
That while this guy has gone through a massive, genuine heartbreak, he somehow managed to compress that, and exhibit it into music that is individual & unique in every single way. I also want a new listener, to appreciate the fact that I’m trying to create my own space, as a male South Asian tenor.
10. Tell me about your voice, as if I were a newfound listener of your music.
I want my listeners to feel at ease, and in love when they hear my voice. A tenor in love, I want them to fall into this trance of emotions, where they feel like the world has stopped spinning, and nothing else matters, except what is being sung.
11. What aspects of your music do you feel are the most representative of your identity?
Lyrically, I was very raw with my emotions through my lyrics. I feel like I entered a whole new lane with this music. I’m attempting to create a whole new genre of music, as a south Asian artist. I created a whole new identity for myself, with a whole unique set of expectations, that hopefully others can vibe with.
12. You’ve expressed to me a great deal about your identity as a Sikh. What are your thoughts on this potentially playing a role in first glance impressions of who you are as an artist?
My identity as a Sikh is everything to me. It has defined my every experience since I was a kid, to my current experiences as a grown adult. I have grown accustomed to what people think, when they see a tall male with a beard and turban, in that they don't understand what to think. So you can imagine, what are people to do when they hear my music for the first time? They won't know how to react, hearing someone who clearly looks different, but his sound is that one of a contemporary artist, born and raised in America. It's a duality and a force, that's constantly battling your preconceived notions. And that is my entire point. I want to challenge each and every person who comes across my music, and help them to break down those barriers, we unwillingly hold up. It's who I am as a person, an artist, to spread awareness, love, and the art, I so desperately wish to create.
13. Does being based in NYC serve to alleviate, and even completely eliminate any stigma tied to your Skih identity?
Yes it does. It’s a giant melting pot, that's mixed with some of the most talented and revered artists. It is a place where I can be myself, walk down the street, without anyone looking at me twice, in regards to who I am as a person, or what my identity is.
14. What are your thoughts on connecting musically with fans from different regions of the world?
This notion is the whole reason why I quit my six figure job in Finance. Just so I could experience all these moments, that are going to mean so much to me. It’s never been about the money for me, I’m chasing a goal, to leave a legacy that’ll stand the test of time. It’s not about me, it’s about you the listener, and all these collective experiences we could share together.
15. What are your thoughts on digital interactions (Social Media), between yourself as an artist & your fans?
I think it is the greatest thing in the world. It helped my family out big time. It helped to bridge people all over the world. I think that if you use it positively, as a tool to promote yourself, connect with other artists, and spread your personal mission, it allows you to feel something you otherwise would not. How lucky are we to be able to speak with someone, anywhere in the world, and immediately express out emotions and innermost thoughts, at any given moment?
16. Do you feel that independent playlisters on streaming platforms, such as myself, exist as a positive element, in relation to the operational dynamics of the music industry as a whole?
Yes, absolutely. Playlisters are at the forefront of what is cutting edge, and what's new in music. They’re able to give their unbiased opinion on what artists are putting out, regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or income.
17. What are your thoughts on live performances? What approaches do you take for your own performances?
Just to always be in the moment. The first thing, I always tell myself in my head, is to always just do it live. Be yourself. The body always has a unique way of expressing song and dance. It can never tell a lie. If you’re truly yourself on stage, it can never be a lie, because you’re being wholeheartedly authentic.
18. What role does fashion play for you, in connection with your music & who you are as an artist?
For anyone who has gone through my Instagram, or any of my social media accounts, there’s a reason why they call me Debonair. Fashion to me, is a means of expressing who I am, without the use of words. I’ve always enjoyed being able to make a statement, without verbally having to say anything. Fashion is fun & unique. It is a way for me to outwardly express my characteristics, as a unique human being. Just like emotions, my fashion sense is continuously fluctuating. You’re never going to know what you’re going to get.
19. I get the sense there’s more to this EP. Is there to be a Part 2, and if so, what creative direction, do you intend to take it?
I don't want to get too ahead of myself right now. I want all of my listeners, to really focus and digest this particular project. But, to answer your question, I’ve already started thinking about what the follow up to this project, could look and sound like. More to come. 2020 is going to be a great year.
20. If you were not a musician, what do you envision you’d be doing instead?
I’d still be at corporate, working finance.