Hailing from West London, a self-professed Amy Winehouse monomaniac, with a God-given gift of a voice, is one Moss Kena. The everlasting influence of Camden’s own on a young Kena was enshrined when he named his debut EP ‘Found You In O6’, a sweet remembrance of the first time he held ‘Back To Black’ in his hands - the moment akin to a musical revelation.
Moss considers the effect Amy’s blue-eyed soul has on him 12 years later. “It still gives me that same feeling. Yet now I understand her poetry on a deeper level, the person behind the music,” he pauses, “it instilled in me this need to express myself in the most authentic way I can.”
He possesses a multi-octave range that melts the hardest of hearts. The gentle fragility in his voice amplifies the transparency in his words. Take the piano-driven, slow burner ‘Problems’; Moss extracts the deep-rooted ‘soul’ in his tangled inner monologue, making it a universal, spiritual experience for the listener.
Whilst his sound is a convergence of retro and contemporary soul, Kena feels untethered to the confines of genre classifiers. “There is limited variety on the radio,” he says with a measured conviction. “Music has to evolve, and I’m trying to shake it up, trying to master that tricky balancing act of being somewhat alternative, referential but still mainstream enough that I get played on the radio.”
After his stripped down re-working of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘These Walls’ went viral, Kena could have cashed in on his newfound infamy. Instead he opted for stealth tactics, letting his voice disseminate through word-of-mouth, avoiding overexposure. “It wasn’t a conscious thing. I just liked withholding and letting my music breathe,” he says.
Kena’s artistic ethos is constructed around an unmistaken desire to play the long game, to regulate his own narrative: “One consistent theme will be my voice; my experiences will change, my circumstances will change, yet my voice is the one constant,” explains Kena. “I want to be a career artist. I want a legacy.”
WHERE: West London
WHAT: Harmonic, ethereal soul
GET 3 SONGS: ‘48’, ‘Problems’, ‘Spend Some Time’
FACT: As an infant he idolised Elvis Presley.
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Words: Shahzaib Hussain
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Josh Tuckley
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