Not many recent records have moved me as instantly as ‘The Visitor’ EP by Kadhja Bonet.. I came across her devastating cover of 21st Century’s 1975 ‘Remember The Rain’ and pre-ordered her EP within a few minutes.. Cinematic soul in it’s truest sense, scenes from an unmade film, a story unravelling.. Kadhja’s aching voice is a rare jewel, at turns whispering or soaring over some of the lushest classically inspired arrangements that I’ve heard in years.. equally enchanting and heartbreaking, there is a cosmic glow around this most intimate of records.. Perfect.
I pinged her a few quick questions as I couldn’t find that much information (Kadhja’s bio on Bandcamp says she was born in 1784 in the backseat of a sea-foam green space pinto!)
JT - You’re from LA but your sound oozes Europe, a Europe of mid Sixties melancholy and sad French late night haunts. I can hear things like Francis Lai’s ‘Un Homme et une Femme’ alongside Brazilian artists such as Joyce and Gal Costa as well as the oft mentioned Minnie Ripperton..were these artists on your radar at all?
KB - I like Gal Costa and Minnie of course, who doesn't? I never heard of Francis Lai or Joyce. That aside, it’s exhausting constantly being compared to other artists. I wish we lived in an artistic community where it was enough to be yourself and you didn’t need to bend yourself into tiny regurgitated boxes for people to find interest. I hope someday it will be enough for me to just be me.
JT - Can you tell me about some of the music that has informed your sound? What was your childhood soundtrack?
KB - All classical music and Disney movies. As a child not much else was around. And to be honest I didn’t listen to much music intentionally until I was in college. Mostly I was just playing, music was all around regardless.
JT - The EP is beautifully arranged and produced, it’s rare to hear a record so fully realised and rich, can you tell me a bit about who contributed to the recordings and how was the process? How important was your co-producer Itai Shapira?
KB - I think the question itself is flawed but will do my best to answer it. Itai is important, that is not to be disputed. But I find this kind of question frustrating... It has followed me everywhere. When there is a man in the picture, no matter how distantly, he will always overshadow the woman. And if the woman should be too proud or bold of her own power and achievements, watch her get checked. My work is entirely my own. I write, arrange and produce. I play most of the sounds you hear personally. For better or worse my vision for each song is intact and not penetrated. Itai has the engineering history, I don't, so he helps keep the tracks clean. He is the only person I let into my brain, so now we've reached a point where little has to be communicated. He is invaluable, as i do not find it comfortable to work with many people. quantifying people’s importance does not come naturally to me so I will let you make your own deductions.
JT - I love the track that you did in Tokyo for the Red Bull Music Academy release Various Assets..‘Late Night Munchies’ with RJ and Mark Maxwell shows off your voice and writing in a different context, modern boogie...any plans to work this way again?
KB - I have another project called GENESEA which is a project itai shapira and I contribute to equally. You can check that out to stay up on my writing in other contexts. We will have more music out for that shortly.
JT - You know Low Leaf and others within the loosely formed LA Beats scene right? Are there artists from the scene that you would like to work with?
KB - I would love to work with Thundercat of course. I am hoping he will come around :)
JT - And finally..are you coming to the UK and Europe to play? Please say yes!
KB - I’m actually in Europe right now!
I played a show in London, Paris, Brussels and have a couple more in Amsterdam and Berlin before heading home. But I will be back in the Spring to try and make a little noise.
Interview and article by Ex-Friendly