Every so often I get the chance to sit down and have a conversation with an artist. A lot of the time it’s sort of driven by the questions I’ve had to draw up in order to steer that conversation. Occasionally, I’m allowed to simply have a conversation with an artist. My interview with CHANELLE KAZADI was exactly one of those rare instances where we really just got to have a chat.
Chanelle currently has three EPs out: Alter Ego, Chaos, and Harvest Hooligan. You can find her music on SoundCloud. She describes her music as trap/soul, “but really it’s alternative because I can change the style whenever I want.”
She describes Alter Ego as a kind of transition of herself and that it was like a conversation between her past self and her current self. Chaos is very much what was going on in her head at the time. While Harvest Hooligan was exactly that, the life of a hooligan.
How long have you been making music? When did it all start for you?
“Seriously, it started in 2018. I was playing around a bit in 2017. I was always freestyling and my boy told me, ‘yo, you should get on the mic’ and I said ‘I’m not a rapper’. I was a boxer at the time.”
But boxing wasn’t really working out for Chanelle, so she gave music a try and it blew up in a good way.
“My neighbour made the beat, but he isn’t a musician either. He’s a football player.”
“I was told that I should drop a project because people should have more to listen to. Since then, doors have opened.”
Chanelle is more than just a musician. She’s a larger than life kind of person that focuses on her ambitions; boy does she have ambition. Alongside her amazing music, she’s started a brand called Hooligang clothing. The great thing that I found about Chanelle is that everything she does has her essence at the core. “My music is 100% me,” Chanelle says when asked to describe a little bit about herself and her music.
We started our interview like any normal people would, with that awkward pause when the call finally connects. Introductions are exchanged and before I can even get to those questions, we’ve already dived into a conversation about women in the music industry.
“Women play a major role,” is the phrase that stuck with me through all of Chanelle’s exploration of women rappers and women in music in general.
What inspires your writing?
“I can’t really do the pay attention in school. I kind of say that in my songs a bit.”
“I grew up on good music. My mom made sure I had all the Kanye CDs. I grew up on Kanye, Chris Brown, Jay-Z and MTV being crazy and interesting to watch. So, what inspires me was like, how that is real.”
The production that Kanye and Snoop Dogg had when Chanelle was younger is something that really inspired her. She discusses the importance of artists to have their own look and their own style.
“No one’s responsible for listening to you than you.”
What do you think sets your music apart from other artists in the genre?
“I mean, my music 100% me. I express what’s in my head and a lot of people express what’s in their head too. I’m not gonna say my music is better because it’s 100% original. I know it’s original… For my music, it’s originally me. I’m proud of the opportunities to perform these songs.”
We also touched on how people enjoy music in uniquely different ways. There are people that think music is a better life and then there are people that really only enjoy it from the comfort of their cars. Chanelle tries to make sure those bases are covered for her fans. Every moment she spends talking about how much she enjoys making music, I can see in her demeanour how much of a positive impact it’s having on her.
“It’s keeping me out of trouble,” She says when asked how it’s impacted on her life.
You also have a clothing line; can you tell me a little bit more about that?
“Yes I DO! Harvest Hooligang. I own a brand now. Business is booming.”
I would absolutely wear the shirts that are coming out of this brand.
“That’d be cool to have it worn in Australia.”
“I started the brand in May. I knew that I wanted it to be more than clothes.”
The brand started as merch for the Harvest Hooligan project and people really loved them.
“People were having requests for hoodies.”
“Harvest Hooligang is basically a brand that unites all hooligans together.”
What’s your goal for your brand?
“Eventually, I want it to become a label. But that’s going to be more details later on. I eventually want it to become big and have different categories. Not just on the music side, but the business side too.”
After these questions were answered, the interview became more of a conversation which is hard to put down in words for this kind of format. Cue a break for Chanelle’s puppies to come into the camera.
Like I said earlier, Chanelle is larger than life. She’s all smiles and it’s clear that her music is her passion. What she’s putting out is impressive, especially for someone who doesn’t have a whole childhood background in music. She’s driven and authentic. These traits come across in her music. Check out more from Chanelle on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.