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On our latest segment of One-On-One, we get to host  Afri Kat, signed under Iris Management and also CEO of Nzuma Management. We get to know how her musical journey has been and also talk about her New Album Capricorn together with her latest single Smoke n Bubbles which was released yesterday.

Kindly share something about Afrikat?

Well first, the name is actually written as two separate words, Afri Kat… 

How did the stage name Afrikat come about?

That’s actually a pretty funny story. It just happened when I was chilling with my producer and our Director of Photography; Nitram. He was the one who suggested it, he made a comment about me being cat-like… and I told him that Cat would be unoriginal as a stage name. Nitram thought for a bit and “Africat!” came out. It stuck; I changed my Instagram name immediately! I added the K just for extra spice. I’ve come to identify with Kat as a name since then, most people call me some version of it these days. 

When did you realize you could sing?

Singing is something I’ve always known I could do… for as long as I can remember, it’s been my thing. Almost like a personality trait at times, there are plenty of people that just know me as “that girl who sings”. I was a notorious shower singer even in primary school. Plus, I’m grateful to have parents who encouraged my singing.

How would you describe your music?

I’m always trying to make you hear an emotion. Beyond lyrics and all that, the very sound of each track is meant to make you vividly feel something. Joy, Lust, Jealousy, or Pain; these things that cry so loudly in our heads. I give them melody. I have so many plans in the future to try new sounds but I guess we could say it is Experimental. Genres change like seasons with me. Right now, I’m dropping an album of full-on experimental creations, I bet you’ve heard nothing like it.

What sets your music apart? What is the least uncommon thing about your music?

A lot of the uniqueness lies in the arrangement of the songs. I write with very little structure… Like I don’t quite have the Contemporary two verse, a hook, and bridge. A big part of it is the production as well. Orin produced the album; he understands how to create and diminish chaos in a way that is new. Not to mention I lean heavily towards acapella-type vibes where the instrumental is minimal or non-existent, sometimes I create the instruments, with my voice. I think the whole sound is just… Uncommon.

What draws you to your preferred genre?

I’m currently working in the experimental zone and I love it so much because the only obligation is for it to sound good. I get to collect sounds, ideas, techniques, instruments, and synths from a limitless pool.  This zone is also helping me to decide who I am musically; I get to try things and see what works. But mainly, my dream is to score films. The songs we hear in the film are a special breed… getting to understand and embody that cinematic feel is like studying music all over again. It’s thrilling to always be in unfamiliar territory.

How did your song “Smoke n Bubbles” come about?

“Smokes n Bubbles” is the first single off my “Capricorn” album. The song itself was a result of me going through withdrawal symptoms. It presented itself as a chance for me to unburden the things my head was full with. The album has been in the works for about a year now… I wanted to do a big breakout project so I could have a catalogue online. It started as a simple ambition like that, however, over the past year a lot about my life and my mental health changed. Like most of us, Covid showed me some corners of myself I hadn’t thought to clean. At one point I put music on hold, but I came back to it because it was the best form of therapy I had. So, I started pouring everything into these songs as a way to get it all out. 

Why this album? Why now?

Capricorn is about me. It’s me figuring out who I was, who I am, and who I hope to be. It’s about how those hopes don’t matter if I don’t embrace myself as I am… I put all of my ugly into this along with the beautiful, because often we hide one and not the other. Putting it out to the world is like giving space for a different perspective to existing. Over time I’ve learned that complicated people like me are all over the place. I’m putting this album out so that they enjoy it; so that they feel seen.

What does your music from the album or generally say about you?

That I can be sad, or sometimes spiteful… that I’ve dreamt of dying, but prefer living. My music tells you how I feel pain; it tells you I love and I am possessive. I wrote myself into this project and a lot of my flaws show. I don’t think what I write paints me as the nicest person, but at least I’m honest.

Do you have any plans relating to this release of your album? 

Yes. Lots of them… but you’ll have to watch and see.

Was anyone else involved in writing, recording, or producing the songs?

The whole Iris family is in on it one way or another. Most of the team will become known with time. I collaborated with Mood, MK, and Jaycub from the MoodImprint on some of the tracks…Mood has helped me write lines when I was stuck lots of times. I had the privilege of working with Komora who is just a god in his own right… did some of the guitars. MosseStringman absolutely killed it in “Trippin” which is my personal favorite track. Most days it was just myself and Orin in the studio going crazy and trying everything we could think of. 

When you create music, what is your personal purpose/goal?

Depends on the song.

What do you enjoy most about being an artist?

Everything… I don’t know, Jesus. It’s a hell of a life.

Who are your main musical influences?

I listen to a lot of Sza, H.E.R, and Billie Eilish… so I guess that plays a part but most of my influence comes from those around me, the artists of the Mood Imprint. 

Which current artists would you say is on your playlist regularly?

Right now, my playlist is like 90% Billie Eilish and the rest is early 2000s rock.

What can we expect from you within the next coming days? Any future gigs or music videos?

There’s much to be released… that is all I can say for now. Lots of content.

What are you musical plans for the near future?

Podcasts, Collabs, Virtual shows… all kinds of stuff.

Anything you would wish to tell your fans?

There’s so much to be said… I love them all. I want to hear what they think all the time so I hope we can engage a lot. I hope they stay tuned because I have so much to give. Mostly thank you… for being part of my little community.

Lastly your social media handles! Where can people get in touch with you?

I am on Instagram as afri.kat, Twitter as ZarhietheOnly on Twitter, My YouTube is AfriKat Official; which I should really add the space to and you can find my music on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and a bunch of platforms under Afri Kat. I’m the most active on my Instagram so if you’re trying to find me, that’s your best option.

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