Q. Introduce yourself to the IAHH Readers…
My name is Kyran Mitchell-Nanton. I’m an Actor and Music Artist from London and go by the name Kloud9Reacher (K9R) for my music. I also represent an arts group called ‘One Light Talent Entertainment’.
Q. Tell us a bit about your non-profit group One Light Talent Entertainment (OLTE) and its aims?
OLTE is a performing arts group where are mission is to give artists opportunities in the arts industry to better their talent and skill and a chance to showcase themselves to the public by putting on our own work and projects for them. A lot of young performers don’t have access and/or support to all the information that can help them be the best performing artist they want to be, and as we are also young artists ourselves, we know how hard this industry is, which is why we do what we do. Our aim is to give a new light to the arts industry and support artists the best way we can. We are a Non-Profit Charity group, and each project we do we fund ourselves and recycle back into the company for future projects for other artists.
Q. One of your projects KA Stories is a comedy series. How did it start and how effective is comedy when it comes to expressing the more serious issues?
Years ago when OLTE was just made up of myself and my best friend Anderson St John Ingleton a lot of people told us we were really funny as genuine people and we should have a camera follow us around on a day to day basis. We were usually branded as the black Dumb & Dumber or Ant & Dec. So we decided to make a theatre series called Kyran & Anderson Stories (KA Stories) which also included a 3rd member with us at that time who is unfortunately no longer with us. It went pretty well but due to budget, funds and other commitments we couldn’t commit to it. Few years later we met a lovely young lady called ‘Holly Edwards’ who seemed to be the cherry to our cake and who also loved us both and our mission we had for OLTE. We found out she was near enough as crazy as us and, she pushed us to create a web series out of it. About a year and a half later we released it!
We love comedy in OLTE but at the same time we try and put out a message in every project we do. I think when it comes to even more serious issues, comedy can have an effective part in it but it depends how you use it. If for example you are trying to send a positive message about safe sex for example, using slapstick comedy may show the story totally different from if you were to make it naturalistic and comical lines came naturally without you trying to force it in. I think that goes for anything you are doing. We done a play called ‘Karma’ back in 2011 which was our first debut which was a serious drama based on Teen issues which revolved mainly around young pregnancy, bullying, discrimination and knife crime; however there were some dialogue in the play which was funny to the audience (even though we didn’t intend it to be) because it was natural and showed an example of the type of conversations and situations Teens get themselves into, and this was great because it wasn’t just straight serious because that’s not how life is. So yeah it really depends how you use it.
Q. You’re also a rapper, by the name of Kloud9Reacher… when did rapping become a part of your life?
As a young boy, I was never even interested in music. My mom played it a lot from old school to rare grooves but I wasn’t confident enough to get involved in music or performing arts for that matter. Never really appealed to me. In my early years of secondary school however, a young woman called Ruth from Lyric Hammersmith done a drama workshop for us and instantly knew I had Aspergers Syndrome which my teacher was amazed by because I don’t think my teacher told her I had it. Ruth said Lyric would be great for me to jump out of my shell and open me up because she saw I had a lot of imagination. At this time, I would see all the boys at school spitting bars and rapping at lunchtime which I wanted to do also, and I did try to write some poetry, but was told I was rubbish, wack and simply didn’t feel popular enough to get involved. So my drama teacher and my mom pushed me to lyric theatre where I attended an acting class and also found a spoken word class too and Lyric Theatre told me that I can be anything I want and gave me the confidence to step out my shell. Through Lyric, I found I was actually really good at acting and spoken word, and from there that’s where the journey began to where I am here now.
Q. Who were your biggest influences in Hip Hop and why?
In terms of Hip-Hop then possibly Lupe Fiasco or Sway and JME (I know hes Grime), but that’s if you are talking only Hip-Hop. I listen to a lot of instrumentals and beats like Ta-Ku, Kaytranada, edit (love edit) Flume, Cinimatic Orchestra, Sinima it goes on and on! My phone is filled up with beats. I’m inspired majorly by artists like Emeli Sande (love love love. Can listen to her all day), Celine Dion, Kirk Franklin, Victizzle, Dwayne Trumpf. I listen to a lot of Rare Groove, old school 80s 90s because my mom drummed it in my head from young. Although I can’t remember the names to most of them, if you play the tune I would know it. Although some of these are not Hip-Hop artists, it helped open my mind to different ways and ideas I can write all the crazy stuff that’s in my head.
Q. What message does your music send out? Are there specific issues that you focus on?
Positivity. I think that’s the easiest way to explain it. I don’t want to sound like I’m sugar coating anything because that’s not how it is. There is of course a lot of negativity that happens in this world yes, but I always try and put out a message that people know they can make the best from the worst. I talk about anything I feel like at present, there’s not a specific area. So whether it’s a track I’m talking about love, food and cookies, African culture there’s always something great you can take from it. I’m trying to inspire and uplift people not cut dreams and put people down.
Q. Tell us a bit about your track ‘Sunset’…
Sunset is a track about forgiveness and understanding. From me trying to ask forgiveness from past mistakes that involved certain people, to trying to forgive myself (which I find so hard to do), and trying to get people to understand to some point what even goes on in my head. At that point I had just come out of a relationship and I was looking back on all the years I tried living like I’m some perfect guy, and butter can’t melt in my mouth but really certain things I was being a big hypocrite and through that I messed up on a few things. I wanted to start fresh and show people what my intentions are and who I am. I love sunsets because it’s a beautiful way to end a day for reflection, leading to a rest for the night and onto an epic journey the next day.
Q. The Hip Hop culture’s 5th element ‘Knowledge’ is often forgotten by rappers today. How important is it for you to share knowledge in your music?
Its plays aspect as they say knowledge is key, however I have to be very careful because a lot of us mistake Opinion for Knowledge or think that we can read the synopsis of Knowledge and then hold a lecture or preach a sermon about how much we know. For me I try to have a balance of Knowledge and Wisdom in what I try and put out, because although some of us have a lot of Knowledge, a lot of us aint wise enough to use that for the best and productive things, instead for example we may use it on things that can decrease ours and other people value around us. I’m not trying to be that person. I gotta have the wisdom to use the knowledge I do have for great and astonishing things.
Q. What advice can you give people who want to get into performing arts but may not have the opportunity to go to university?
Involve yourself in your craft as much as possible. For example, if you’re an actor go and watch plays, films, get evolved in youth theatres, acting classes, master classes etc. If you cannot find work then make your own! Great places to get help around performing arts for example are companies like Latimer Group, Lyric Hammersmith, DV8 training. Then you got acting classes and companies like Identity, MN Academy, Kingdom and the list goes on (Google is your best friend here). Use your confidence in your craft to network because that’s one of the most important things. So many opportunities come by networking. For example this interview right here Rishma, would have never happened if I would not of met your sister in a hair salon when I was going around shepherds bush handing out flyers to people about KA Stories! Some of the greatest singers have been signed simply by someone noticing them singing on a bus. Keep everyone like a gatekeeper to your opportunity. Just because they are famous, does not mean they can get you to far places! For example I went to BRIT School and studied theatre there, and although BRIT is known for its performing arts, really and truly it’s down to the person and the work they put in. You can get the same education and amount of opportunities at a normal college; it’s all down to the work you put in. Support in family is sometimes hard as well. Even though my mom and dad encouraged me to do what I like, not everyone has this. Don’t let that put you down, and to families out there whose children need the support from them for their passion, give it. People will tell you that you cannot do something. How many times I was told I couldn’t get into BRIT, I couldn’t be a rapper, I couldn’t be funny or an actor, and I done every single one of those things. YOU determine who you are, NOT THEM. As Jim Carry said “You can fail in a career that you don’t even like. You might as well go chase and do what you love”. Finally remember there’s nothing wrong with asking for help but don’t rely on ANYONE except yourself because at the end of the day only you know for sure if you’re going to do something or not.
Q. What are you currently working on and what can we look out for in the near future?
I myself am currently working on a music video for a track called ‘Roots’ which is a comedy video giving homage and based on African culture. The team OLTE is working on some great projects and new stuff to launch for this year. ‘KA Stories’ was just the start. If you want to find out more and keep in the loop then follow us on twitter @OneLightTalent and Facebook: One Light Talent Entertainment. You can find us on YouTube with that name too. Likewise with me, follow @Kloud9Reacher and on YouTube also. I’ll be putting out info of the track for people to get involved in very soon!