Roc Nation signed, Brit­ish musi­cian Kay Young made her Jäger Soho Vinyl Ses­sion debut on August 20th intro­du­cing her freshly released ‘Middle Mat­ters’ EP, a sig­na­ture boom-bap and melod­ic style of Hip-Hop set to define an ori­gin­al gen­er­a­tion of Black Brit­ish Music. Kay Young, an enter­tain­er since a very young age, was put­ting on shows for her par­ents, them­selves musi­cians, or amus­ing her school friends with impromptu live shows dur­ing lunch times. With a fire for music blaz­ing, Kay went on to teach her­self to play drums and to use the com­puter pro­grams neces­sary for record­ing, quickly becom­ing a self-suf­fi­cient artist and pro­du­cer in her own right.

As both a female pro­du­cer and rap­per she refuses to be side­lined and wants to help spread a mes­sage of strength and self-belief. She says her new music is “for people who might be at a cer­tain point in life and think­ing of quit­ting.” The 6 tracks of her new EP ’Middle Mat­ters’ encap­su­lates the impress­ive artist’s ver­sat­il­ity over her pro­duc­tion. Hold­ing both boast­ful raps, bal­an­cing vul­ner­ab­il­ity and hon­esty while equally har­ness­ing the essence of clas­sic Hip-Hop. Mul­ti­fa­ceted, intriguing and with co-signs from some of music’s most power­ful fig­ures, Kay Young’s EP solid­i­fies her­self as one of the most excit­ing names to watch right now. We caught up with her to find out more. 

You have recently par­ti­cip­ated in the Jäger Soho’s Vinyl Ses­sions, where artists per­form live and record the tracks straight to vinyl. What was it like record­ing music in that way, and are you a vinyl lov­er or col­lect­or?

It was amaz­ing! Know­ing that you’ve only got one shot to get it right was added pres­sure but we nailed it. It’s def­in­itely a unique exper­i­ence. It is some­thing that I have got­ten into. I stumbled across a load of Vinyl’s that my late auntie had been col­lect­ing from the 60’s. We found them in a suit­case of which my fam­ily said I could look after.

I nev­er knew she was such a col­lect­or and her taste in music was so vast.

How would you describe your sound? Do you think cat­egor­ising or labelling music is arbit­rary or restrict­ive?

There is def­in­itely soul in my music. I’m 100% hon­est when I cre­ate which tends to res­on­ate through my sound. But I play around with a lot of genres, I cre­ate whatever I feel in the moment. Catergorising/ labelling can be restrict­ive- but I get it, people are quick to com­pare you to oth­er acts when you are a new­comer. Over­time people will start to dis­tin­guish who you are.

I’ve always said that if you want to com­pare me to someone else, it’d bet­ter be a good com­par­is­on. haha

You have been mak­ing music from a really young age, who were your biggest music­al influ­ences grow­ing up?

My Dad first and fore­most as he was the first per­son I saw with an instru­ment, Church was anoth­er big influ­ence- Gos­pel music is embed­ded in you from a very young age- I guess that’s where I get the soul from. I mean Prince and Michael Jack­son set the bar for true artistry. So for me there’s a level of know­ing that I should always do my best.

You were dis­covered by Jay Elec­tron­ica on social media by par­ti­cip­at­ing in a 30 day beat chal­lenge. What was your reac­tion when he slid into your DM’s? What advice would you give to oth­er bud­ding artists and pro­du­cers?

In all hon­esty, I’m still try­ing to com­pre­hend everything that happened. I thought it was a prank that my friends were play­ing as I due one haha! I just couldn’t believe that little old me from Brockley, Lon­don mak­ing beats could attract someone as big as Jay Elec­tron­ica- I will forever be grate­ful to that man for help­ing me fur­ther my career.

Before get­ting your big break, you took a 6 month break from music? What drove you to make this decision and what made you decide to keep pur­su­ing music?

 Music is all I’ve ever known and I remem­ber think­ing that there was so much of life that I hadn’t exper­i­enced- plus I felt like I no longer had any­thing to say because of that.

I def­in­itely learnt and exper­i­enced a lot dur­ing that break which sparked new ideas that needed to be heard.

Your new EP is entitled ‘Middle Mat­ters’, could you talk more about the mean­ing behind this title?

This is about my jour­ney through life. I’m not where I used to be and I’m not where I want to be but I am on my way there- I’m in the middle which is where you do the most grow­ing.  I may not have it all togeth­er but I am cel­eb­rat­ing the smalls steps I’m mak­ing towards being  bet­ter.

Middle Mat­ters not­ably has no fea­tures, as both a rap­per and pro­du­cer do you find the music mak­ing pro­cess a sin­gu­lar activ­ity?

I find cre­at­ing by myself an enjoy­able pro­cess- I do often call on oth­er musi­cians to lay some live parts down which helps as I often want to know what someone else can hear which will add to my sound.

I felt like I had some­thing to say so it didn’t feel right to have fea­tures on it and it’s a short EP. Maybe for the next pro­ject.

Being a rap­per and a pro­du­cer, both very male dom­in­ated pro­fes­sions. Have you faced any dis­crim­in­a­tion, and what advice would you give to female artists who want to be in the industry?

I haven’t really had any bad exper­i­ences because I haven’t had to rely on oth­ers to get my music done. The only thing I do get, not so much now, is men ques­tion­ing me over and over if I really made the music- because they find it hard to com­pre­hend that a female cre­ated it.

My advice to female artists try­ing to make it in the industry is learn as much as you can about the busi­ness you are get­ting into. Trust your own voice and try and con­nect with oth­er female artist for sup­port.

How has lock­down affected your cre­ativ­ity as an artist? How do you envi­sion the future for the music scene post-corona?

I’ve been in a cre­at­ive space dur­ing lock­down which has been a bless­ing. I do hope that artists will be able to still make a liv­ing from music- It could be a case of hav­ing to adapt to a new way of doing things without hav­ing to com­prom­ise our art..

If you could choose three dream col­lab­or­at­ors for your next release, who would they be and why?

Oooh this is a tough one  Kendrick Lamar, Jorja Smith and Solange

Finally, what can we expect from Kay Young in the next couple of years?

More albums, music for anim­a­tion , I would also like to pro­duce an album for Adele.

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Maya Elese

Maya Elese

Edit­or / Author at No Bounds
Mul­ti­lin­gual Lon­don born, bred & based print & broad­cast journ­al­ist, presenter, DJ & cul­tur­al pro­du­cer with a par­tic­u­lar love for glob­al afro-dia­spor­ic cul­tures. @mayaelese on everyth­ang.

About Maya Elese

Maya Elese
Multilingual London born, bred & based print & broadcast journalist, presenter, DJ & cultural producer with a particular love for global afro-diasporic cultures. @mayaelese on everythang.