• Mara Speech

Real Key Sounds: Kinnoha

Updated: Mar 29, 2020


"I can actually do this, if I work really fucking hard and keep at it."

- Kinnoha

Editor's Note

London, UK. In the mix is so many different cultures and sounds, Kinnoha gets us hip to what London really has to offer. With such an extraordinary blend, London produces a mixture of grim, "drill", electro-soul, and more. Kinnoha also drops a few self-care gems on us.

The Interview

Who is Kinnoha and where are you from?

Kinnoha: I am based in the UK, originally from Scotland and currently living in London. Where most of the action is.

What does Kinnoha mean?

Kinnoha: Kinnoha is a play on words. A few years ago, when I was changing my musical style I wanted a new persona to step into. I was also living in Brighton at the time and there was a big health food craze that I watched and was entertained by to be honest. Kinnoha is a common mispronunciation of Quinoa, which I actually really do not like. I also later found out if you pronounce it in a certain way it means 'golden/autumn leaves' in Japanese, which is a much nicer meaning! Kinnoha has the same number of syllables as my real first name and she is essentially alter ego now.

Being from London can you give us a run down of the music scene and the many genres that you guys bring to the table?

Kinnoha: There is so much music making happening in London! It's why I moved here, there's so many creative people who really aren't afraid to mix up genres and try something new. In terms of genres there's grime, 'drill', a very modern mix of pop and RnB is definitely evolving and there's a real key sound you can hear coming out of London in that space right now, we also have a lot of soul/reggae acts because there's a big Caribbean community here too with a lot of musical talent, there's also a growing electronic scene and some techno coming through too, we've got a decent rave scene here!

How did electro-soul come into play? Did you have any idols that influenced you into this particular lane?

kinnoha: I loved listening to blues and soul when I was younger, artists like Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, the real Queens with HUGE voices. I loved singing their songs and as I got older I started making my own songs, just with a guitar, and people began asking me to sing vocals over their electronic tracks and rap tracks and it really took off from there so I just meshed together all the elements from each genre I liked listening to and, luckily, there's a space and an audience for that kind of sound.

What is your most memorable moment as an artist?

Kinnoha: I don't have one particular moment I can pinpoint but over the course of moving to London a few years back, within those first 12 months of being here amongst creatives I finally found people who liked the things I liked and had the same attitude to life and music and it was around that time that things really 'clicked' and I thought, 'I can actually do this, if I work really fucking hard and keep at it'. I work full time and I also do boxing and honestly, as much as I do both of those things in order to live and sustain good health and fitness, I also do it because I am obsessed with music and making it. I am really stubborn and determined and obsessive, so those things combined in music are very intense! My other favorite moment is every time I can improv in a studio and ending up with a new hook or verse or chorus, just letting go and experimenting often brings the best results I find.

What is something that you live by?

Kinnoha: Something I've learned in the last year or so is to 'pick your battles'. If something is worth doing, then do it properly. If it's not, tell someone straight up you're not interested in working with them or taking part in their project. You don't have to be rude about it but you'll save everyone time and it's definitely a respectable thing to not waste people's time. I can't stand waiting for flaky people to make up their minds about a song or project, life is way too short.

Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?

Kinnoha: I want to be touring in the UK and Europe. I want people to enjoy my music. Music should be a soundtrack to real life, even when the themes are amplified. I want people to feel it, be happy, be sad, pissed off, chilled. I want people to embrace their own feelings at the same time too and acknowledge it's healthy to be in your feelings. We aren't robots. I have a whiteboard in my room where I plan out what I need to achieve that week, that month and through out the whole year. As I mentioned, I am pretty obsessive with this stuff so I'm adamant that if I have this plan and really stick to it and hope my luck doesn't run out, that these things are achievable.

What should we be expecting from you next?