For our next installment of #MDInterviews, we get to know Kweku Collins.
At 19-years-old, Evanston-based Kweku Collins is extending the popular Chicago hip-hop scene into the North Shore with his memorable and unique sound. After signing with Closed Sessions in spring of 2015, Collins released “Say It Here, While Its Safe” to much critical acclaim. His lyrical skills are both mature and subtle, making you think he’s years ahead of his time. He also produces his tracks with an exotic percussive palette, featuring Afro-Brazilian drums and polyrhythmic beats to Yoruba-inspired tonality and capoeira-style variations. It’s certain that Kweku’s nascent career will flourish even more in 2016 and beyond.
Music Dealers: First off, thanks for taking the time to chat –what’s currently going on in your world?
Kweku Collins: Currently, I’m just working on material. We have some exciting plans for 2016, so I’m using the next month or so to get ready.
Music Dealers:Congrats on the signing with Closed Sessions – I believe it is a great move for you. How did you get introduced to them and how did you know they were a right fit for you and your music?
Kweku Collins: Early in high school, I was introduced to the Chicago hip-hop scene. The more I learned, the more I heard about Closed Sessions. I started releasing music my freshman year, and by senior year I had developed a sound that I was confident with. Things started happening for me around December of 2014. The gears started turning quicker, and so in February I shot Closed Sessions an email. I didn’t expect a reply, much less my literal best case scenario. I knew they were the right fit after the first few meetings with them. That click.
Kweku Collins “Lonely Lullabies” (Official Music Video)
Music Dealers:Your sound is very unique and refreshing. When I introduce people to your music, I tell them your sound is like a mix of Kid Cudi and Wyclef along with your own spin on it. What artists influence your sound?.
Kweku Collins: Off the top of my head? Sade, Cudi, Tame Impala, The Beatles, Hendrix, Lil Wayne, Outkast, M.I.A, John Legend, Marley, etc.
Music Dealers:When people hear of your home town Evanston, they probably don’t think about a heavy music scene although it is close enough to Chicago to take some influences from the city. What got you into music and where do you pull your influences from outside musical influences?
Kweku Collins: Music runs in the family. I pull influence from everything.
Music Dealers: The more I listen to your project “Say It Here, While Its Safe,” the more I feel the power and emotion in your lyrics. Talk a bit about that project and what it means to you.
Kweku Collins: I made that project on a cloud. I had just signed to Closed Sessions and graduated high school, which lined me up for a dope summer. Those few months were incredible, but I also knew that things were about to change once the summer was over. As cliche as it sounds, SIHWIS is the calm before the storm.
Music Dealers: You produce a lot of your music - how long have you been producing and how long have you been writing? Do you enjoy producing your own material or collaborating with other producers more?
Kweku Collins: I’ve been producing for a long time now that I think about it. My homie gave me a four track recorder when we were 6 and I learned how to use it with my dad.
Music Dealers: How would you explain your sound in 3 words?
Kweku Collins:It’s always changing.
Music Dealers: What are the plans for Kweku Collins? Are there any tours in the works? Anything else exciting?
Kweku Collins:I’m working on a new project. It’s coming out in April.
Music Dealers: What is the last album you purchased?
Kweku Collins: Ty Dolla $ign “Free TC”
Music Dealers: What are you trying to accomplish through your music? To consider your musical journey a “success” in your eyes, where do you want to be in 2-3 years?
Kweku Collins: I’m just trying to make music that resonates with people. To consider my musical journey a success, in 2-3 years I want to be further along in my development as an artist.
Music Dealers: Time to put yourself in the shoes of a supervisor or brand head. List two songs of yours and what brand, TV show or film you feel they would align with.
Kweku Collins:I think my song “Holla If You Hear Me” would fit at the beginning of an episode of Master of None. “Lonely Lullabies” would fit in the Nordstroms Christmas ads they’re running right now.
Music Dealers: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Please keep us posted on future shows and projects as we are big fans of you and your music and are excited to watch your career grow!
Kweku Collins: Will do. Thank you!
Interview by Rob Lindquist, Music Dealers