Kenya Grace On Creating A Solo Mixtape During Lockdown

Picture of Kenya Grace by Emma Williams

Make-up is by India Alexa

Somewhere between the banana bread making and the 5k running lies a new lockdown activity; music creation. The genre of bedroom production is one that has taken storm at a time where music studios are virtually inaccessible, with more and more individuals setting up their own studios right in the comfort of their own bedrooms. This type of production is centred around independent creation, meaning the artist will create, perform and record music individually. Those making bedroom music are usually self-taught artists, making the process not only impressive but personal, making the beautiful art created by these artists all the more spectacular.

Kenya Grace is such an artist, creating her music whilst sitting crossed legged on her floor, headphones on head and Artura MiniLab balanced in front of her. She is unique and talented in every sense of the word and her music is no exception.

2020 has been a difficult year for all but has also birthed Kenya’s new mixtape titled Mixtape_001. With her trademark silky and sultry vocals peppering her songs it is easy to see why her music has been compared to artists such as Flume, Nao and Banks. Yet unlike these artists, Kenya’s music has been the product of time spent locked down in her bedroom, using her own life experiences to inspire her stunning lyrics and unique sounds. Her music is akin to something out of a fairytale landscape, it is both hauntingly beautiful and heavenly using university memories, old school movie scenes and lockdown thoughts to create a wonderfully varied project.

It has undoubtedly been a hard period to be creative in but Kenya has taken advantage of the time spent in lockdown to work on her own mixtape and share her work with the world. We caught up with Kenya to talk about writing, producing, performing, mixing and mastering her own mixtape!

Hey Kenya. Firstly, congrats on the release! You wrote, produced, mixed and mastered the whole mixtape yourself which is super impressive! Do you like having full control of your creative work?

Hey, Thank you so much! I guess all artists like having creative control over their work to some extent! For this project I really wanted to push myself to create something that was authentically all my own work. I always feel like I can truly express myself with no judgment when I’m creating on my own so I really enjoyed the process of making this!

Does it feel different knowing you’ve created the mixtape on your own?

I guess it’s a bit more scary! Putting something out that’s all your own work also comes along with a bit of pressure as it’s all down to you. However I’m also super proud of this little bedroom creation.

When did you learn to mix and master?

So I’ve taught myself how to mix and master in the last couple of months, I still have lots to learn but I’m really enjoying it!

This begun as a lockdown project, what inspired you to start working on the mixtape?

Well I write songs all the time and instead of just keeping them in tucked away in a folder on my computer I thought I would actually get these out into the world! I also feel like my mind works in themes when I’m writing and I will create a group of songs that all kind of fit together every couple of months!

Did this period of isolation have any impact on your decision to produce the mixtape alone?

I think I’m pretty lucky in this respect as I usually start projects on my own so this time in isolation hasn’t really affected me that much! It’s just given me more time to create!

How have you found the reception so far?

I’ve had some absolutely wonderful comments and so much support. It really makes me so happy.

What are your aspirations for the new year?

I have so much more music to put out next year, some more of my own work and some collaborations. Can’t wait to share it with everyone! Who knows what the year will bring but I definitely want to continue creating, and continue learning and if all is well in the world then I would love to be performing live.

What advice would you give to those who are looking to start producing their own music?

Honestly: Just start! I think learning how to produce is so helpful these days & in a world where we can create so much from a laptop, why wouldn’t you? It’s definitely the best thing I’ve started learning!

Make sure to check out Kenya's Mixtape, and follow her on Instagram to keep up to date with her latest projects.