Independent Spotlight is an interview series shining a light on some of the music scene’s talented independent musicians to discuss how it is to navigate the industry as an independent artist.
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Kennyflowers is a rising talent hailing from Chicago. Kenny developed a passion for music at a young age and used that passion to teach himself to play piano, and produce and write songs. Following the release of their debut single “Butterflys” in 2019, the independent self-made artist has been quickly growing his fanbase with a series of soothing and captivating R&B singles, including “Fireball”, which has surpassed one million streams on Spotify alone. And Kenny looks set to continue his impressive rise with the release of his latest single, “Anonymous Girl”.
Kenny spoke to Quip about life as an independent artist, his journey so far, and his latest single.
Nathan Miller: Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your background and journey in music so far?
Kennyflowers: I started off as a rapper. I wanted to be like Chance the Rapper because we shared so many similarities. But as time progressed, I wanted to sing. It’s more fun, and I feel like I better express myself as a singer. Then I started producing my own music due to a lack of tolerance for waiting for producers. Now I’m even mixing and mastering my own music.
NM: What are the most rewarding things about being an independent artist?
K: I can do what I want when I want. If I’m feeling lazy, I can be lazy. If I’m feeling like working hard, perhaps releasing music, I can do that. If I was signed, they would’ve told me to take down the headboard image of me showing my butt!
NM: What are the most challenging things about being an independent artist?
K: It feels lonely when you don’t have a team. You start to feel like people don’t believe in you. Also doing my own marketing and business sometimes reduces my creative energy as I’m devoting some of my energy to the left hemisphere of my brain just so I can have exposure. Exposure ain’t even all that serious if I’m being honest. Not worth it. Then you have to come out of pocket for PR companies who aren’t even that exclusive. They will literally work for anyone as long as they pay. Makes me feel like I’m not special.
NM: How do you think these challenges can be overcome?
K: By not giving up and continuing to create as much as possible. It’s not the hard work that is overwhelming, it’s the emotions that come with it. I use my music to express those emotions.
NM: What advice would you give to other independent musicians out there?
K: Just create and f**k what anyone has to say. And if you want to sign it’s okay to sign as long as it’s a good deal and the company values are aligned with yours.
NM: As an independent artist, what’s one thing you know now that you wish you knew back then?
K: The amount of money I would be spending to fuel a passion is a lot.
NM: Let’s spread the love! What independent musicians are you fans of and think deserve more attention?
K: Ausar Music, Relic the bully, Makiyah (she hasn’t released anything yet but when she does it’s curtains), Ano Banks, Doso.
NM: You are given a $100,000 grant to invest in your music career. How are you spending it? Give us the full breakdown!
K: A full band for production and studio time in preparation for a full album, visual representation for every single song released, pitching, marketing, and all that good stuff. I really only care about the production.
NM: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
K: Stadium status. And I didn’t have to harm anyone mentally or emotionally to get there.
NM: Can you tell us about your latest single, “Anonymous Girl”?
K: “Anonymous Girl” is one of the first songs I ever wrote back in 2017. It was produced by Danny Drwyer, who feels like he is too good to take credit and be a part of the acknowledgment but that’s okay; I bought the beat exclusively anyway. However, I wrote this about my fear of leading someone on even if she’s the girl of my dreams.
NM: Bonus question! A question you’d like to answer that wasn’t asked in this interview…
K: Question: Why are you so freaking sexy? Answer: Not because of my mom or dad but because I chose to be this sexy. I’m just a sexy mother f!