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ON THE RISE: 5 Questions with Chicago's Rising Star, Kamsi

Updated: Jul 15, 2021



Kamsi is a 19-year-old Nigerian-American artist from Chicago, currently a student at Princeton University. Attending boarding school in New England, Kamsi started her journey in music by performing during open mic nights and joining acapella groups. Subsequently, she started posting covers on Instagram and YouTube, quickly gaining a following. Her angelic voice, beautiful lyrics, and striking style have captivated many already, and she will only continue to grow in her talents. Her unique, soulful voice and R&B flare make her one to watch. “The first singing video I ever put up on social media was a cover of ‘FourFiveSeconds’ by Rihanna. I didn’t think much of it at first, but then people that I didn’t know started commenting and DMing me. And then my friends would message me, and tell me how much they liked it. It just made me happy that people were enjoying the content I was putting out, so I kept going.”



5 Questions with Kamsi


1. What has the transition from youtube covers to writing and recording your own music been like?


For me, the transition was (thankfully) pretty seamless. Doing covers made me stronger vocally, and helped me to improve as a songwriter. It also exposed me to different genres of music, and helped me find my range vocally and certain vibes that suited my voice.


2. What is your favorite part about making music?


My favorite part about making music is getting to express myself freely, and also having the opportunity to relate to people through my own personal experiences.


3. How did the pandemic impact your approach to writing music?


For me, writing was easier during the pandemic because I was in a place where I was pushed to do a lot of reflecting, which ultimately led me to connecting more fully with myself and writing more authentically. The recording was a bit more difficult because certain studios were closed, and scheduling got a bit more difficult. But overall, despite all the challenges, it was honestly super fun getting to work on tracks with producers remotely.


4. What does the future look like for you? Are you working on anything right now?


I have a few more singles planned for this year that I'm still working on but I’m really excited to release them! I’d love to do a larger more collaborative project later down the line. I think I'd be cool to work with tons of different musicians and producers. I think ultimately I'm just trying and push myself creatively.


5. And If you had one piece of advice for upcoming musicians what would it be?


My advice would be to be patient, and take the time to perfect your craft and find your sound. I feel like we live in a really fast-paced world, so it can be really hard to slow down and reflect on our lives & think critically about what we want our future to look like. But for me, taking the time to slow down and reflect made the process of releasing songs more enjoyable!




Lyric Breakdown

Kamsi explained the meaning behind each verse on her latest single, 'Proof'


“ I stay up at night wondering why you won’t like me back. Am I not beautiful, wonderful, good enough for your attention?”


These lyrics are about feeling insecure in instances of unrequited love, and that moment of self-doubt that we all experience when we feel overlooked. I wrote this song during the lockdown, so I spent a lot of time on social media. I would constantly see TikToks of young girls of color talking about beauty standards, and saying how they felt unappreciated in the dating scene, and in the media. As a woman of color, I definitely related to the things that they spoke about, and wanted to convey that message through writing about my own personal thoughts & experiences.


“I hate that I care what you think about me. Wish you’d call me back, say you’re the one for me”


I think when people experience unrequited love or “situationships,” there’s always that moment of realization that you’re surrendering some of your power to someone else because you care what they think about you, and almost crave that attention and external validation. Instances like this are strange because even if you consider yourself to be beautiful, you may not necessarily fit the societal beauty standard. And I think it’s normal, especially as young people, to look to the media, or look to other sources to validate how we feel about ourselves (even though we shouldn’t).


Wish you’d look at me the way you look at her. She don’t love you like I do”


Everyone knows that pivotal moment in any relationship when you inevitably start comparing yourself to other people, especially when you feel insecure about where you stand in your relationship with someone, and see the differences in how you’re treated compared to someone else.


“Proof, I got proof that I’m the one. Look at the receipts, rate of my heartbeat, the way we’d stay up all night talkin on repeat”


It can get really frustrating at times when you feel like you’re not getting the attention that you deserve, and there’s that slight crazy feeling when you’re constantly picking your brain, trying to see where things went wrong. Simultaneously, you know the way that you should be treated, and you want that person to value you and the time that you’ve invested into growing your relationship.


"I don’t wanna lose, don’t wanna have to prove what we both know babe/ Look at the receipts, rate of my heartbeat, the way I been down for you since park street"


“Park Street” was the name of the road that my middle school was on. So, this part of the song is saying “I’ve loved you since we were kids,” or “We have so much history together,” as a means of justifying why you and that person should be together.


"I’ve never felt this way about no one before. None can ever be equivalent, im sure of it, just wanna keep you closer to me"


I think it’s so common when you’re young to feel like the person you’re with at the time is “the one,” even when, in reality, you know nothing about the world, or haven’t been through enough to have come to that conclusion. There’s also that moment of questioning yourself, wondering if you’ll ever find someone else who you’ll feel that strongly about.




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