London-born singer Konyikeh has emerged, poised and powerful, channeling the rich tapestry of her musical upbringing into her artistry. Now, as she steps into her own light, the 23-year-old is ready to share her distinctive voice and soulful sound with the world.
“It’s been a long time coming; it’s been a journey to get here,” Konyikeh reflects, alluding to the winding path that has led her to this moment. Growing up in a household that hummed with everything from classical music to Destiny’s Child’s empowering anthems, she cultivated an expansive and diverse musical palate. Coupled with her dedicated training in violin, piano, and classical singing, Konyikeh has honed her skills, becoming an artist with remarkable range and emotional depth.
But her journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Konyikeh has navigated racial and financial barriers in the classical music world, in addition to grappling with her own sense of identity and belonging. Her struggles, both personal and professional, have shaped her into a lyricist capable of capturing raw emotion and complex narratives in her songwriting.
Now, under the stewardship of Jorja Smith‘s FAMM management company and label, Konyikeh is ready to take the world by storm with her debut single, “Sorrow.” The mesmerizing track co-produced by Charlie J Perry and Paya is a testament to Konyikeh’s musical prowess and intimate songwriting. Accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful visual directed by Kemi Anna Adeeko, the single reflects the themes of personal history and familial trials she’s experienced in her journey.
For our latest interview, we had the pleasure of talking to Konyikeh about her debut release, pursuing music as a full-time career, and her partnership with FAMM. Continue scrolling to read our full conversation.
Hey Konyikeh! How has 2023 been treating you so far?
Hey, it’s been good so far thanks for asking! Though we’re still in the early stages of the year, I’m excited to see what the rest of 2023 has to offer. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months from making music to shooting my first music video.
I read that your musical journey started at a young age, exploring various genres and instruments. What inspired you to follow a career in music, and how did your early experiences shape your current sound?
I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a plethora of music as I was growing up. I started playing the violin and piano at a young age so that classical training definitely shaped my ear. Music has always been a big part of my life, so I knew that I wanted it to be a part of whatever career I pursued.
Not to mention, you have such an euphonic and soulful voice that’s been captivating audiences since your early performances. Can you walk me through finding your voice in today’s era of music?
Thank you so much. I always knew that my voice was different from most, and wondered how I would slot into today’s music scene. With the support of my team and the people around me they have massively helped me navigate this.
Your debut single “Sorrow” is a powerful reflection of personal history and familial troubles. What inspired you to choose this song as your introduction to the world?
To be honest, it’s because it was the first song I ever wrote! I was in my early teens when I created the song and felt like it was an accurate representation as to what I was going through at the time. I thought it best to share my music with the world from the very start.
With it being one of the oldest songs on your upcoming EP, written when you were just 13 or 14, can you tell us about the creative process and how the song has evolved over the years?
I wrote the song on a walk home from school. I knew deep down I always wanted to be an artist but I had no idea what I would sing about. This led to the lyric “I sing about loss, I sing about regret only cause I haven’t found those other feelings yet.” I knew I wanted to incorporate a lot of instruments in this track (guitars, cello etc.) and was particularly inspired by classical flamenco. I was fortunate enough to work with producers who understood my vision. Paya and Charlie really helped bring the track to life adding in their ideas and really enhancing the track.
You had previously mentioned that during that time, you were a bit rebellious and strayed away from religion—I’m curious to know, has anything changed since then regarding the lens you view religion in?
I’m definitely not the staunch atheist I was before. I think I used to have a lot of anger at the world and that translated into my beliefs. I wouldn’t put myself in any particular category/denomination but I’m a lot more open and receptive to the idea.
It’s also really amazing to see people praise and champion you in the process of creating your music. What aspects do you find the most fulfilling, and how do you keep yourself motivated and inspired?
Thank you so much! I find being really hands-on in the production some of the most fulfilling work. Finding those intricate sounds and how they fit in the grand scheme of things is what I find the most interesting. I have quite a unique voice so figuring out what tones and sounds work well with it can be quite a mission.
Lastly, partnering with Jorja Smith’s FAMM label is yet another significant milestone in your career. How did they initially discover you and overall, how do you feel it aligns with your artistic vision?
I was initially working as a photographer on one of their artists’ shoots, ENNY. One of the members of the team found out I also make music and it went from there really. The team is great and they are so supportive. They allow me to not only be a musician but an all-round creative. I genuinely feel like it’s a great fit, and I’m so lucky to be a part of FAMM.