Coming out of Tromsø, Norway, Kenneth Brian is a talented Filipino/Norwegian rap artist whose banger “Pay Day”, was a featured track recently on DCWS. We connected with Kenneth for an exclusive interview to discuss his latest single, the Hip-Hop music scenes in Tromsø and Norway overall, what we can expect to hear on his upcoming EP, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Kenneth, be sure to connect with him on Facebook and IG, so you’ll know when he’ll be releasing new tracks and his EP.
What would you say are some things that you'd say inspire your creativity as an artist?
I would say that the things that inspire me is the small things I go through on a daily basis. I mean everybody can find motivation or inspiration everywhere, you just need to look on the right place. As an artist I like being able to inspire other people and give them the idea of being creative is something we all have. I also get my influence by listening to other artists I look up to. Being able to learn and appreciate the music they deliver to the masses is a opportunity I couldn’t miss.
We’re living in a generation with a lot of upcoming artists coming from all over the place, that itself inspires me to be creative and being able to be in the new wave. Getting inspiration from old school and new school music is something I value. I get the chance to be in a position where I can put myself on the test, and combine everything I learned and turn it to my own sound. I think it’s a ongoing process that keeps on developing by time.
When it comes to your latest single "Pay Day", what motivated you to write the track and what drew you to the beat that you used from Xander Beats?
The whole thing started about a week before I ended up calling the song “Pay Day”. I was on the bus on my way to work, and I was listening to beats on YouTube and I came across this beat by Xander and it was called “Shortcuts”. I love what Xander did on that beat, it gave me this type of vibe and energy that I felt like other people might like. The saxophone gave the beat a jazzy feeling that definitely triggered my attention. It was a genuine beat, I knew I had to give it a try.
At that time I did not know what I was going to talk about but I already knew the type of flow I was going for. Keep in my mind that during this period of time I was in middle of moving into a new apartment. I remember being in the living room thinking about what is the first song I should drop in 2019, what type of vibe and topic should I talk about? I was focused on making a song that is easy to relate to, then it hit me. “Pay Day” - I knew it would be the perfect thing to talk about because everybody loves getting paid. So I summoned up some ideas and combine it with my own interest. I reached out to Xander and got the beat, then went to studio and recorded the song.
What can you tell us about your upcoming EP? Have you settled on the title and will it feature any other Norwegian artists?
This EP I’m working on is still under development. I’m on the verge to figure out the right concept that would fit perfect for the whole EP. I have a lot of ideas and influences the past months and I’m still trying to figure out the right vibe that fits me most. For now I’m just recording music as much as possible, and at the same time try to evolve as an artist and be better on my craft.
I can assure you that there’s going to be a lot of trap and boom bap in this EP. I haven’t figured out the title yet, so for now I just call it “Untitled”. I haven’t really thought about featuring other artists on this EP, not because I don’t want to, I just feel like I need to do this EP on my own. I see it as a challenge to myself on being able to depend on myself and by any means prove to myself that I can make an EP on my own.
How would you describe the Hip-Hop music scenes in Tromsø, and Norway overall? Are locals supportive of the talented artists such as yourself in their midst?
Hip-Hop is getting bigger in Norway. There’s a lot of talented artists all over the place. There’s a lot of upcoming artists that haven’t been noticed yet, but I feel like everybody has their time and place. Hip-Hop itself is growing in tremendous numbers and the culture keeps on elevating.
Tromsø has a couple of Hip-Hop artists that are making waves right now and I feel like we get the love and support we need. That itself is the key for us artists to keep on doing what we do best. It’s like a fuel that drives me in away and keeps me motivated to work harder on my craft.
If you could get any famous producer to make a beat for you for free, who would you choose? Also, what would you name the song?
That’s a though one! There’s a lot of talented producers out there, especially right now when the Rap game is getting bigger than ever. But if I would get the chance to get a free beat from a producer, it would definitely be 6ix and I would call the song “Upgraded”. I grew up listening to a lot of Logic’s music and the beats 6ix produced are insane. Sometimes I rap over his beats when I do freestyles with my homies.
Would you say that your Filipino culture is reflected in your music at all? If so, how?
I would say yes. I grew up listening to different genres back when I was living in the Philippines. As a kid, I grew up listening to OPM (Original Pilipino Music) and RnB. Since I moved to Norway everything changed, I mean it’s a different country with a different culture. I would say Hip-Hop grew in me here in Norway. When it comes to making music, I think being multi-culture has an advantage. It shows me a way on how to reflect on things from different perspectives and being able to relate and understand different lifestyles.