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In Conversation With Jada Kingdom And Her Views On Music, Feminism And Heritage

The new kid on the dancehall-block.

POSTEDBYFIONA WADDELL

Dubbed Jamaica's hottest breakout artist, the new kid on the dancehall-block and revered for her take on female empowerment, Jada Kingdom spills all with Fizzy Mag.

Tell us about your U.S. tour with Kranium, how is it going? 

It's been amazing, I’ve been performing in markets on the West Coast that are putting me in front of new audiences. I’m singing in front of very diverse crowds which is awesome and will hopefully help build my fan base in these places. It's very inspiring!  

What got you into music?

I’ve always been a very creative person, I started out writing poetry when I was about 8 and they ended up just morphing into songs. Growing up I listened to a lot of artists like Nina Simone, Minnie Ripperton, Deniece Williams, and Sam Cooke, so I guess that helped shape my sound and the way I write too.

How do you think growing up in Jamaica has influenced you as an artist and ultimately your sound?

Jamaica is that place that constantly vibrates with creative energy and emotion. Even in things such as the language and the gesticulations and the way we Jamaicans interact and come up with new slangs every day its just a constant vibe. We grow surrounded by music - you hear it everywhere you go day and night so its a part of the DNA. You’re constantly inspired creatively because of all the energy and even though my sound is not what you might consider a traditional Jamaican vibe -

it's not really Reggae it's not really Dancehall, but at the same time, Jamaica is the central driving force in my music.

How would you describe your sound now?

As you hear me sing there’s no doubt where I come from, and the same with the production too - it just may have a different texture or melodies or sounds than you might expect from a Jamaican artist but it's still 100% Jamaican. We just fuse elements of Jazz, Afrobeat, Trap as well as Dancehall and Reggae to give it a different edge.

Your stage name, Kingdom, reflects positive reclamation of sexual freedom and female empowerment. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

My body has attracted, oftentimes unwanted, attention since I was a young girl and it has been a journey to harness that and feel empowered by it. Self-love is my mantra so I took the name Kingdom as that is how I see my body, my kingdom. I embrace representing females of all shapes and sizes and always try to exude positive energy and self-love, but at the same time, I recognize and do not hide my vulnerabilities and insecurities as that also is a reality for every woman.

How have these experiences shaped your artistic approach?

Some of my lyrics and visuals might seem a little shocking to some but I am here to shake norms and take control of how women are viewed and represented and how society tries to dictate how we should look and act. Fuck that!

You have a strong presence on Instagram, what are your thoughts on the role of social media on your career? 

Social media is something that can be used as a positive tool for artists and influencers. We manipulated it in the beginning, people thought I was an Instagram model because I used to post a lot of eye-candy and swimwear shots but it was really just to build out the following playing on people’s desires and then we just hit them with music and they were like oh shit she can really sing and this is different! Social Media is the best place to make any announcements or promote music nowadays, songs can break on Instagram and have everyone singing word for word without a single play on the radio we have proved that. But no matter how big your social media following is if you make that transition to being an artist there’s no guarantee it will work because first and foremost your music has to connect as well as your social has. Nowadays labels seem to be more interested in turning social media stars into artists rather than develop real talent but it doesn’t always work. It's a great platform but you better deliver on the same level or the comments will certainly let you know.

How do you think we can build a safe space for women on social media, and how important is it to you that women empower each other? 

I don’t think there should be too much regulation of social media anyway but I don’t see a way of stopping trolls, fake accounts, hateful comments, etc. either. It's too big to police and the social media companies make too much money to want to cut out a lot of the traffic which is why it persists. Algorithms can catch stuff yes but these vacuous clowns will just make another fake account and troll on. Of course, women should empower each other but it's not possible to believe you can control people to the point of what they say on social media and nor should it be that way. Some women are always going to be toxic and project their insecurities and self-hate online so all we can do is to continue to promote love and positivity, body confidence and empowerment and just ignore the poison. 

At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What would you like listeners to take away from your songs?

It's impossible to answer that question without a bunch of cliches about wanting people to feel good, dance, smile, be inspired and emboldened by my music. The feedback I get is that women love that I say the things they think and want to say and do it from a position of power. It's uncompromising and emotional but the underlying message is female strength and control. A lot of my music so far is relationship-based, about love and sex and the nuances of interaction but as my career unfolds so will diversity.   

Are you currently working on an album? What can we expect?

Yes, we are working on a longer project, I think that my music lends itself well to a body of work as an entity, so we are looking forward to completing and presenting that. I think by now, even though I have only released 10 songs, my direction is pretty defined and we want to just keep up that high standard we have set for ourselves. My team and I go through the production and song structure of each track in minute detail and we want to continue to make incredible music that is fun and evokes every emotion. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are you most excited about right now? 

I’m only 20 and have just started my musical journey but I have the ambitions of every Artist 5 years from now - sold-out stadium tours and hundreds of millions of streams and views. To do that as a female Jamaican Artist would be an incredible achievement and something that drives me for sure. Iconic Caribbean Artists are doing this but none as yet from Jamaica. I’m excited to transition my live sets to working only with a live band and just excited to release more music and visuals. 

 

Next up, In Conversation with Melisa Minca – Berlin's very own Upcycling Queen

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