On TV ads. In the car. On the radio. Recently, you will have 100% heard the unique, almost otherworldly vocals of Moss Kena. But in all likelihood, if questioned on it, you would probably have no idea what he looked like.
But don’t think for a second that this facelessness and shrouded-in-mystery aspect of the London-based singer’s production was an accident. You see, if the voice precedes the image, then the focus is on the actual talent, no?
Well, he’s since taken the hood off, and what do you know, everyone’s ears are still v. much pinned on the heavenly sound waves. Grabbing the attention of Kendrick Lamar with a dreamy rework of “These Walls”, and releasing his soul/pop-soaked debut EP, “Found You In ’06”, earlier this year (a reference to the moment Kena’s mother gifted him Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black record), the singer is just going from strength to strength.
Now, to mark the release of their brand new collaboration/banger of a summer anthem, “Real Connection”, producer Toddla T chats to Moss Kena about his journey so far…
Toddla T: Where are you from and who were your influences growing up?
Moss Kena: I’m from West London and I grew up listening to many great soul singers like Etta James, Sam Cooke and Al Green. But my favourite is Amy Winehouse.
TT: Your voice is truly standout. Do you think it’s a natural gift or something you developed, or both?
MK: I would say both. I have a natural ear for music, but I work very hard on my voice with my coach to make sure I’m always progressing, and always trying to level up.
TT: Who did you want to be when you first picked up the mic?
MK: My earliest memory of really aspiring to be like someone was probably Elvis Presley. Like most people I was mesmerised and as a kid, I wished that I could get on his level.
TT: Is it true Kendrick Lamar co-signed you? Tell us about that.
MK: It was probably the maddest experience of my life. To cut a long story short, I put out a rework of a Kendrick’s “These Walls”, which he heard and then one night in LA he just walked into a session I was in, looking for me. He told me that he loved it, and since then we’ve chilled a couple of times in London, playing music and talking. He is just a humble genius, a true GOAT.
TT: You were faceless for ages. No one knew who you were. Was it nerve-racking finally showing your face?
MK: I wouldn’t say it was nerve-racking, but more exciting. I felt I could ease into the public eye with no perceptions or expectations – just people really digging my music, the way it should be. Looks can fade, but the music’s got to last forever.
TT: What’s the maddest thing that’s ever happened to you whilst in the studio?
MK: Aside from Kendrick rocking up, it would have to be that I get the opportunity to collaborate with some incredible writers and producers (including yourself T!) Which is mad!
TT: Who is your dream collaboration, alive or dead?
MK: There are so many dream collaborations for me, but if I had to pick one this minute it would be J. Cole. I’m still rinsing his new album. I think he’s lyrically one of the greatest of our time – I love music that makes you think!
TT: You’re a stylish guy – what are some of your favourite fashion brands?
MK: I love OBEY, I think they’re sick. I can also be seen most days with a pair of Nike Air Max 95’s on my feet – they seem to be my staple kicks.
TT: I am so in love with the song we made, which is why I harassed you and your team to let me use your vocals. Whats your favourite thing about “Real Connection”?
MK: My favourite thing about the track is that it reminds me of classic 90s dance tracks in the way that, if you broke them all down they were just great soul songs. If you’re gonna do a dance track, it’s got to feel timeless, so someone can do a remix in 20 years and all my kids will think I’m cool.
TT: What’s next for you this year?
MK: I’m putting out a bunch of new music and and will be doing some shows later on this year, which I can’t wait for!