We connected with Jamla Records artist Ian Kelly for an exclusive interview to talk about the record label (which includes Rapsody, 9th Wonder and others), his new EP release “Champian” and his musical goals for 2019.
After reading our Q&A with the Oakland native, be sure to stream “Champian” and connect with him on his social media.
What inspired you to start making music?
What inspired me to start making music was feeling as though I could help people through art. Music is therapy so I always felt my stories and imagery I’m painting could possibly help the next person.
Who are your favorite rappers and have any of them influenced your sound?
Man I have too many honestly. Especially if we’re talking about old and new. A top five for me would be Tupac, Andre 3000, Eminem, Jay Z, and Lil Wayne. But that’s what I grew up on. If you really listen to those artist you can hear how I like to take pieces of all of them. Don’t get me wrong I tend to get a comparison to Kendrick a lot but I believe that’s more of my voice inflections versus me trying to imitate Kendrick.
Why did you name your album "Champian" and what does this album mean to you?
I named my project Champian just as a play on words. I was rapping one day and said a line like “Champ Ian, shoulda been named Champion”. Just playing around and having fun, but when I looked back at it it kinda stuck too me. Plus I figured it would be easy for people to search and find.
How do you feel that Jamla is unique compared to other labels/collectives?
I feel Jamla is unique in the sense of I feel if you put all the artist in any time period I think we would still thrive. Everybody over here is a monster, so it also keeps you on your toes. The Soul Council, as well as other close knit producers we work with, do a great job of providing a timeless sound and unique musicality within their production.
What are your goals as an artist over the next 2-4 years?
Within the next 2-4 years so much can happen, but I know you’ll have an album from me for sure. I know I also plan to be touring around the world within that time and honestly I see Jamla becoming more of a household name by then. As far my career I see no ceilings. I truly believe things are just getting started.
Connect with Ian Kelly: Twitter