Spotify Spotlight: Kevin B Tackles Love And Identity With Luscious Production
Note to self: Love can be so confusing. Self-love? Well, that's a whole other level of inner turmoil. But singer Kevin B wants you to know that you're not alone in going through this.
On his debut single "NTS", the 25-year-old opens up about the anxiety and bewilderment of falling in love.
This downtempo bop features swirling chords that emphasise Kevin's blissful vocals. It's hopeful yet bittersweet, the perfect soundtrack for the uncertainty of a blossoming romance.
We spoke with the charming crooner about his debut single and the experiences that moulded him into the artist he is today.
You wrote on your Instagram that "NTS" is a “love letter from one confused weirdo to another”. Tell us more about the inspiration behind the single and its lyrical themes.
Essentially, "NTS" was written based off my first encounter with a genuine connection. Being in a rather odd state of mind left me feeling all sorts of ”HUH”, when someone said they loved me.
I say it's a love letter to my fellow weirdos because I know that I can’t be the only one who’s had this odd reaction. People don’t talk about how peculiar the sensation is. I wanted the song to provide comfort to other people who feel this way, to let them know that they aren’t alone in confusion.
Even when you go down to the structure of the song - it's almost a conversation with myself as I try to make sense of what I’m feeling.
The production on this song is amazing. Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Aww man, thank you so, so much. I would not have been able to get here without the help of some very dear friends who walked this journey with me to produce the track.
SZA is my biggest musical inspiration. Music always coincides with story telling and the way she brings her stories to life gave me the green light to go forth into telling my stories as well. Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Willow Smith and Gail Belmonte are some amazing voices that inspire me as well.
You’ve been candid about experiencing an identity crisis growing up. How so, and how have your struggles inspired you as an artist in Singapore?
I'm sure we’ve all had our own identity crises growing up. I was a dark brown fat boy and I attended a Chinese primary school. There was almost nothing tied to being brown, be it in school or in the media.
All I could amount to was being the funny sidekick or the token brown fella. I subscribed to that and growing up, I hated being brown. I hated mother tongue classes and learning about my culture. Of course that led to me struggling a ton with loving myself and my confidence.
Over the years, I’ve learnt to reject the negative connotations I used to buy into about being brown. We are who we are and we are worthy, despite the colour of our skin. Today, I am a proud Indian Singaporean artist, and I can’t wait to learn and love again. All in good time.
You served your NS with Music & Drama Company (MDC) and now you've joined them as one of their artistes - how has that helped you grow as an artist and performer?
Being in MDC has connected me with some of the most beautiful souls and the most talented humans I can now call my friends. That to me is the biggest take-away. Learning from some of the best along with learning on the road while on shows has groomed me to become the artist I am today.
What’s next? We hear you have a follow-up single coming up real soon?
Yes! My next single "Faded" is set for release August 2021, and you may be hearing even more from me come the later part of the year! So, so excited to share all the stuff I've been working on with the world.
Finally, we can't let you go without asking you about that moving voice note in "NTS" - tell us about it!
"NTS" is my heart on a platter and it doesn’t get more vulnerable than a mother's sayang. The voice note was from my mum (shown above) during a time when I was totally broken. Essentially, she’s telling me not to cry, that it's ok and that it’s nothing: a reminder to get back up and to move forward in spite of the pain.
I hold those words dear and I ended the song with it to remind us all that we can be vulnerable and down but y’know what, all we’ve got to do sometimes is get up and wash our faces, and we’re ready to move up and on.
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