Kobi Onyame: Interview with SAY Award Shortlisted Hip-Hop Artist
The future looks exciting for hip-hop artist Kobi Onyame. His unique, contemporary take on the genre has been making waves through the industry and his critically acclaimed third album, “GOLD”, was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year. In recognition of Kobi providing the soundtrack for the global launch of our new TrueConnect true wireless earbuds, we took this opportunity to sit down with him and talk music, Scotland, and opening for Kanye .
Firstly, we would like to say congratulations on being shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Awards, it really is an incredible achievement, what did the nomination mean for you?
That was a great experience, man! It’s pretty weird. I've been in Scotland for the past 15 years and I feel Scottish even though I'm not from here. That nomination was a confidence booster, it was encouraging and reinforced that I made the right decision to make the album the way I made it.
GOLD is very well put together and a pleasure to listen to. There’s a lot of energy and the album carries uplifting, positive messages. What was it like to create this body of work?
It’s a very introspective album. The songs on there are ones I felt I wanted to hear - I needed to hear. It’s a very personal album and that is were a lot of the songs came from.
It’s incredibly impressive to say you are an accomplished songwriter, producer and recording artist; Where did this drive to create music come from?
Production was always my first love. I always liked creating music and beats, and from there the next stage for me was to find artists to rap or sing over my beats. It was actually very difficult at the time to find people, so I decided to give it a go myself. From there I started to kind of develop the craft and listen to the greats and try to mimic them. Eventually you find your own voice and your own stories and that’s how it started.
Growing up you spent your time between Ghana and England and are now based in Glasgow. What has it been like for you as an artist here?
Being in Glasgow has given me room to be creative and I think that’s very important for any creative. Being based here means that I get to falil away from the watchful eyes of the industry. The artist development side of the industry doesn’t really exist anymore, but it exists very much up here. In Glasgow we have extensive live venues. You can gig in Scotland and you can go to a club and hand your music to the DJ and they’ll try it out at one in the morning. It’s a very tight network and it gives people the opportunity to be creative.
Opening for Kanye West during his Glow in the Dark tour must have been an incredible experience. How did you end up being asked to be a part of the show?
That’s an interesting story. Back then I used to pretend to be my own manager. It’s unbelievable, but I just googled the show, found out who was running it and where their offices were. I knocked on the door pretending to be my own manager, gave them a copy of my mixtape and expressed interest in the Kayne West show. I was very professional about it and about a week before the show I got a call from the promoter to say the slot was mine and that was it.
Since the release of GOLD in September 2017, your career has gone from strength to strength; what have been some of your highlights so far?
I would say one of my biggest highlights - which was very recent - was performing at the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi. GOLD carries such a high life African influence and to be able to perform on the continent and have people understand it straight away because of the feel of the music was amazing. It felt like the whole process came full circle.
Check out the new TrueConnect here & listen to Kobi's playlist below: