Here at CITRUSRAP.COM, we give you guys the goods on who is hot & who is popping. To make it more enlightening for you, we introduce to you our series: “GemTalk”. We will be interviewing some of the loveliest women in Florida making major moves and blessing us with their work. “GemTalk” is all about creating a platform where women can speak about their true passions and what they do for our culture. Up next, is Koi who is constantly blessing us with her angelic voice & captivating visual. Read below how Koi & I talked about her latest visual “Jaffa Remix” & the story behind her first EP “Digging You”.
Who is Koi?
I am just a girl who loves to sing, loves to create, and loves to eat.
In the music world, who do you look up to?
I have so many inspirations I could probably write an essay about it. To narrow it down, Solange, Little Dragon, MF DOOM, Chaka Khan, King of Leon, and Kelela are definitely my top inspirations. They are so creative, innovative, and are in their own lanes. I want to create my own lane just as they do.
Who would you want to collaborate with?
Another question I could write an essay on. The artist I have mentioned in the interview so far to be honest and so much more I really can go on and on. But some people I haven’t mentioned I would want to are Rihanna, Jai Paul, Sampha, SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, Quadron, Ben Khan, BC Kingdom and The Internet just to name a select few.
During the time & process of creating, did you feel like you had to reinvent yourself as an artist so people can actually know who Koi is?
I wrote T4U and I wanted to know what it would sound like outside of my head. After dropping T4U, I did feel like I needed to invent myself over and construct some persona that would become “KOI” until I realized I am KOI… day to day and there is no right way of presenting myself to the world.
Which album or artist are you currently listening to right now?
Currently I have been bumping the new Solange, Grimes and Anita Baker’s greatest hits. Most of the time, I just listen to instrumentals that I possibly want to turn into songs.
Tell me the story behind your first EP Diggin You.
“Digging You” came about only because There 4 U came into existence. A close friend of mine actually introduce me to this producer/DJ mixer Soundcloud named Kokobo and he had a mix on there I loved. T4U beat was something I just listened to freely until one day I just started singing to it because I had a crush and the beat inspired me. After I dropped T4U my friends kept asking when would I drop more music so as I came across beats I liked I put together an EP (except for Unwind). I originally sang it to the instrumental for Lupe Fiasco’s “Streets on Fire” but the producer & I flipped it.
From watching your newest visual “Jaffa Remix” I can already see that you’re coming out this year as a more seductive, carefree Koi, do you feel like there’s a difference between when you first came out to now?
Many of the artists out right now are getting their shine & usually they have a brand. They are constantly posting pictures daily & advertising their brand. Putting themselves out there and getting their following count up to par. When I first got into this, I never established a brand, an aesthetic. Overall, I am eclectic. Trying to establish that has been a little struggle. For this video being seductive and carefree is just how it came to be. The song is sexy so it happened naturally.
I know everybody can agree when I say that your song writing skills are remarkable. Explain how do you get in the zone while you are in the process of curating some new work?
Thank You! Sometimes words or melodies come to me so I open up the voice recorder or memo apps on my phone and just let it all go. However, most of the time I write in my room or in my car. I will listen to a beat on repeat for hours on end until I finally vibe with it (only if I have to). Once I am ready, I will start singing words sometimes it is just mumbling and humming but I joint down what I hear. Sing it back. Replay the part repeatedly, flowing like that until I am done.
Name your top 5 albums.
That is such a hard question for me. I could easily say Little Dragon’s discography or MF DOOM’s. I do not know how to narrow it down but I will just name some albums that I bumped during changes in my life growing up. Lets go with Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, Jay-Z ’s American Gangster, and Little Dragon’s self titled album Little Dragon, Amy Winehouse Frank (R.I.P one of the best to ever do it), and Radiohead King of the limb. There are so much more seriously, I could go on and on there are not just five.
Any expectations for your upcoming project this year?
Well my goal is to drop a 10-track project very soon if all goes swimmingly. I explored with my vocal in the lower registers a bit more and sonically my sound is like no other around these parts. When the new music drops, I want people to be, as I do not know what this is but I love it.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
In three years I see myself finishing school and to take off with my music. In addition, I hope that I am on a dope tour soon. (fingers crossed)
What philosophy or motto do you live by day to day ?
“The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks.” This use to be my little MySpace quote back in the day. When you are a strong lion, you do not let little things bother you. Just be above the bullshit.
Editing: Michelle Aguirre (@amisheru) & Zoey Lawrence (@wheresfrankocean)