Exclusive: Kelela conquers
Kelela is the future of RnB. The Ethiopian descended singer understands the melodic blueprint that’s expected from this genre but prefers to explore unchartered territory, taking listeners to realms that aren’t always so comfortable. The end result is a deeply personal and critically acclaimed mix tape called Cut 4 Me, peppered with nuances and produced by an array of genre-pushing electronic artists from Fade to Mind. Her debut album is dropping early next year and Milk Made was more than happy to spend a day hanging with the LA based chanteuse.
On learning the violin at school:
So violins are split into two parts. There’s a main lead part and then there’s a counter part that’s sort of like the backing for the lead. First violin people are quite disciplined, they practice every day and they’re trying to get better and they want it and it’s just this drive. You can hear it, and the parts are harder to play. Second violin is easier but they’re still really beautiful and they accompany the first. It’s more supportive. I was the first chair of the second violin, so I guess I was the leader of the folks that were lazy (laughs). Like I’m not actually practicing every day…these parts are easy but I’m gonna make them beautiful anyway.
On collaborating with Fade to Mind:
It’s interesting, they [Fade to Mind] can go hard but because I could tell from listening to their tracks prior from working with me, that there’s a sensitivity or just an ear to beauty. They like lush, they like beauty, especially an overt kind of beauty…I could hear that so I was really into trying to pull more of that out.
On being at the intersection of Beyonce and Bjork:
This guy was working for my shows, he did the video and all the graphics for the projections and he was like “woah like, what if Bjork and Beyonce came to the show? That’s kind of what your music is. Your music is in between Bjork and Beyonce.” And I was like “OH. I never thought about it that way. I’ll take it!” Like, that’s so it for me. That’s the place where I wanted to fill.
Paul Bui: Home
K: crazy sexy cool
K: No words
K: I need it
Photography by Mitchell McLennan
Styling/Creative Direction & Interview by Paul Bui
Make up by Kanako Takase
Hair by Kabuto Okuzo
Special thanks to Milk Studios