Koi Kurama: “I just refuse to let anybody manipulate or change who I am and what my art is”

Meet Koi Kurama, a singer songwriter from Cleveland, Ohio. Tracks such as “Bonefish” and “Never Knows Best” has gained the young singer recognition amongst many bloggers. What makes Koi a unique talent is her genuine passion for her art and not letting anyone change her vision. I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Koi about her music and what makes it so different to anything that currently being released.

When discussing her beginnings and what it was that sparked her interest in pursuing a career in music, she mentions always singing as a child and it was something that felt natural to her – “I realized I had a real interest in music when I could pick up the lyrics to a song right after hearing the first couple bars.

Koi Kurama is unlike any other artist, the music she produces is a reflection of who she is and not what others expect/want from her – “Everything I do, decisions I have made when it comes to my career or just my music in general has to be 100% me, and what I want.

Read our full interview below

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Outlet: How would you sum up Koi Kurama in 3 emojis?

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Koi Kurama: A smiley face, because I believe in trying to stay happy no matter what, a angel emoji because I always try to be a good person regardless of what life throws at me, and lastly a sparkle emoji because anything you want can happen if you manifest.

O: For those just discovering your music, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background and how you got started as a musician?

K: I’m from Cleveland, OH but I was raised in FL most of my life. I moved around a lot at a young age so I never really had consistency in my life, which led to a lot of premature issues. I spent a lot of my time reading and writing growing up, which led to my hobbies of short stories, poetry, and eventually music.

O: What was your first memory of music? At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in music?

K: I always sang as a child so it came naturally, but I realized I had a real interest in music when I could pick up the lyrics to a song right after hearing the first couple bars. When I was in the 8th grade of middle school is when I had my first real breakthrough musically, I was really into poetry to express myself and it just transformed into rap and so on.

O: You have a very distinctive type of style, meaning it’s hard to compare you to any other artist. Was that your intention? To be know solely as Koi Kurama and not the carbon copy of another artist

K: That’s honestly exactly what it is. Everything I do, decisions I have made when it comes to my career or just my music in general has to be 100% me, and what I want. I just refuse to let anybody manipulate or change who I am and what my art is, being in the smallest portion of this industry has really shown me a lot about people and how they can turn something you love into something you hate easily. I refuse to let it happen to me.

O: I was reading one of your interviews and you were asked about the meaning behind “Never Knows Best”, and you said it’s “about life being a total bummer…” Do you feel like nowadays there are a lot of social pressures that can dictate our lives and happiness?

K: I feel like everything now and days has to do with social pressures. In my opinion going through life in general is a learning experience, but instead of evolving and gaining knowledge or insight, most people just go off what someone else says because they have a higher social statues. People don’t realize only you know whats best for you, and in this life your going to mess up a lot, but its always to make you better as long as YOU want better.

O: What do you think the big difference from growing up during your time to now in 2015?

K: I would say just how we carry ourselves or myself in particular. A lot of stuff I see this generation doing was frowned upon. I feel like we (I) were more structured and put in line. A lot of things now are more open for discussion.

O: Is it important for your music to be retable? Is that something that comes up when writing or do you just writing about what you’re experiencing in that moment of time?

K: Both. I want to be relatable because I want to be that artist that makes people feel like they aren’t going through things in life alone; you’re not the only one dealing with that particular hardship. But my music is a reflection of my life and myself, it is everything I feel in a day, my ups and downs, my struggles, my happiness and pain. I put it into my music because through all the bad stuff you can make something beautiful from it; you can become someone beautiful from it.

O: Does the environment you’re in play an important part in the songwriting process?

K: Yes, I like to be alone to hear my thoughts when writing. Music is intimate for me because i’m sharing things about myself that I might not be able to express in a regular sentence. I need to feel the beat, the sounds and everything just flows together in my creative process.

O: One of my absolute favorites of yours is ‘Bonefish’. Can you tell us what inspired the song? How did that track come together?

K: Bonefish was a huge turning point in my music. At the time I was at point in my life where I was tired of dealing with certain things, people, and situations. When I made Bonefish it was my way of saying that I really don’t care about what anybody thinks I should do or what I need to do when it comes to this music. It was my way of telling everyone that I got me regardless if you’re here or not. And at the end of the day i’m going to do what I have to do to make myself happy and enjoy my life.

O: 2015 has been a great year for music. What are your top 5 favorite releases of 2015?

K: Hm this is a hard one, I would say my personal top 5 would be:
Kali Uchis – Loner
Alexandria – Unattainable
Anderson Paak – Venice
Jay Rock – 90059
Reece – Don’t Go


O: What’s your plan music-wise heading into 2016? (Singles, EP release, debut album)

K: My plan is to hopefully finish up a project I have been working on called “ Green House” , then maybe take a break to work on presenting myself on a bigger platform

Listen to more of Koi Kurama’s music and support her for free at tradiio.com/koi-kurama