By Damilola Grey
Dami: What was your first introduction to music?
King Havana: My dad is a professional jazz musician so I was introduced to music from a very young age. I’ve always loved music but I really got into music and hip hop in particular in middle school.
Dami: Would you say your dad was the one who inspired you to start making music?
King Havana: He definitely did have a role in that. I started writing raps when I was like 13-14 in order to process traumatic shit that was happening in my life at the time. I kept rap a secret for a while because I thought I was ass but I had some friends encourage me to try and pursue it when I was like 15-16 and that’s when I started taking it seriously.
Dami: What else inspired you to start making music?
King Havana: I’ve always been hella artistic and I loved drawing and acting, growing up. I’ve always found ways to express myself but music has always been my favorite mode of expression.
Dami: How would you describe your sound?
King Havana: I definitely think I bring an energy of classic hip hop to my music even though a lot of my production choices are more modern. I’ve had several people say my flows remind them of Tupac and even though I think that’s a crazy comparison, I definitely think I channel a lot of old school energy in my delivery.
Dami: What’s your creative process like?
King Havana: It honestly depends on the song but I usually work on songs in segments where I’ll come up with 4 to 8 bars at a time and then come back later and finish up another section of the song. I have pretty bad ADHD so my creative process is pretty sporadic but for certain more personal or focused songs, I’ll sit down and write out the whole verse at a time.
Dami: You dropped an album recently titled “Welcome to Havana”. Tell us more about it.
King Havana: “Welcome to Havana” is the finalized project of over two years of work. I started working on it early 2020. The debut single I dropped for the album titled “Good Life” was originally recorded around then. Originally, the album was a lot more influenced by trap production but as the record got more introspective and personal, I found myself gravitating to more soulful and jazzy based production choices. It’s a very personal record and I took a lot of time making sure that I did a good job of introducing who I am as an artist through each song.
Dami: What’s your favorite track off the album?
King Havana: Currently, my favorite track is “Lord’s Prayer” with Dread Scott. It’s by far the most introspective song on the album and has my favorite beat off the whole project. The beat was produced by Riccardo Tha Don and he went crazy on the jazz sample as well as the beat switch at the end with the slowed and reverbed vocal flip.
Dami: What do you want people to take away after listening to “Welcome to Havana”?
King Havana: I knew “Welcome to Havana” was gonna be people’s introduction to my music and me as an artist so I wanted people to walk away from the album excited to hear more from me. I wanted to get people invested in me as an artist and a musician.
Dami: What are 3 words you’ll use to describe the project?
King Havana: The 3 words I’d use are spacey, experimental, and personal.
Dami: What’s next for you after “Welcome to Havana”?
King Havana: I’ve already started working on my next album and it’s gonna be a decent sonic departure from “Welcome to Havana” but in the meantime, I’m gonna be dropping singles periodically to keep people updated with where I’m at.
Dami: What would you say has been your biggest achievement as an artist?
King Havana: My biggest achievement so far is releasing my first project and performing my first show. I had a list of things I wanted to achieve in my career in 2022 and I achieved them all and I’m very proud of that.
Dami: What would you also say has been the most challenging part of being an artist?
King Havana: It’s definitely the cost of paying for professional quality. I’ve been very fortunate to work with very talented producers and artists but it can still be very expensive, especially for a small artist like myself.
Dami: I know you said you’ve already achieved all you wanted to this year but is there anything you’re still tryna get before the year ends?
King Havana: I’d love to perform again if I get the chance.
Stream King Havana HERE.