K’naan waving music flagSomali native K’naan is happy to put out couple of songs. (Picture by Insight Digital.)
Fri, April 20, 2012 - 12:00 AM
“With music, you try to do very little; try to have very little message, very little process; and you just try to make yourself available to the work,” says K’naan, Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, who was in Barbados recently for the CHUM-FM concert.
Keeping himself open to inspiration is what K’naan does when he is writing and creating music.
“Sometimes something will happen. It could be a thought, it could be a feeling, it could something beautiful or a heartbreak – and if you pay attention, out of it comes music,” he said.
“But I don’t think you work for that; it just comes naturally.”
K’naan’s decision to go into music wasn’t something he planned, even though he came from a family or singers, poets and artists.
His aunt Magool was one of Somalia’s most famous singers, and his grandfather Haji Mohammad was a poet. While coming from such a creative family would inspire others to follow in their footsteps, for K’naan it was the opposite.
“I knew this is what I didn’t want to do,” he said candidly. “My family are playwrights, so it was my way of rebelling against that. I definitely knew I wasn’t going to be a musician, but at some point it caught me.”
The Somali native moved to New York at age 13 with his mother and three siblings, but later moved to Toronto, Canada, where there is a large Somalian community.
It was in Canada that he learned English and taught himself hip hop and rap diction. In 2005 he launched his first album called The Dusty Foot Philosopher, which won the Juno Award for Rap Recording Of The Year. But K’naan is perhaps most famous for his single Waving Flag, which was chosen as Coca-Cola’s anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
This year he is slated to release a new album, and he has already released a single, Nothing To Lose, featuring Nas.
“My family has been amazing in terms of my career, and these are people who do much larger stuff than I,” he says.
“That’s kind of the legacy of my family. My grandfather is credited in my country with stopping a war, so I’m cool. Put out a couple of songs and I’m happy. I just want to do music that’s true to me.” (SH-O)
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