Originally born in Ghana, then moving to the Capital of Australia while still very young, Citizen Kay has grown up with an ambition to make his way into the music scene. Beginning as an aspiring songwriter with a love of hip-hop, he began rapping under the name ‘Kay’. Now, few years later, CK has a number of significant shows under his belt including support for U.S. duo  Matt & Kim, a spot at Groovin the Moo, support for Grey Ghost and many more and with his debut EP recently out has already begun works on what’s next.

What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?

My earliest memory of performing would have to be in 2006 when I began high school, I was a guitarist for a band with some friends. As for hip hop – my first ‘performance’ was in front a group of my friends in 2007 when I had just begun rapping and they convinced me to rap them one of my songs; my opening lines were “There’s some bling over here, there’s some bling over there”. That’s as far as I got before they all laughed and ran away like the little 14 year olds that they were – I think it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way since then.
My inspiration to start was a combination of my older cousin, Miracle and Kanye West.

Your Yes! Ep is out now, what process did you go through in choosing the tracks that made it onto the EP? And if you had to choose your favourite track off it, what is it and why?

There wasn’t too much of a process for that EP – it was basically a case of seeing what I had and could work on and choosing what I believed to be the ones with the most potential. I also really wanted to show the different sides of what I do and what I’m about which I think I reflected well on the EP

You’ve been described as the White Stripes of hip hop because your show as duo with your drummer James, how do feel about this comparison?

Reading that was definitely a bit of a random shock to me, I used to absolutely love the White Stripes when I played guitar so I guess it’s a real good compliment.

How is the hip hop scene currently in Canberra, what other acts are bubbling away that we should know about?

The hip hop scene in Canberra has definitely been picking over the last couple of years –  I guess there are a lot of acts bubbling away that I haven’t really even explored yet but one of them that I’m quite good friends with is a guy currently by the name of Meddskii.

You’ve had a pretty big 2013 so far with Groovin’ The Moo and supports slots with Grey Ghost and Matt & Kim, do you feel that has helped grow the Citizen Kay fan base and change your live show?

For sure! I mean the one I’ve learned most from was easily the Matt & Kim supports – those two have so much love and energy, it’s just crazy!  Grey Ghost was someone incredible to not only meet but have a real conversation with as well, he’s a real reflection of a true artist in my eyes – talented and humble in what he does & the slot I had the amazing chance of getting at Groovin’ the Moo was such a good taste of what could possibly come – even though I’m fairly sure 90% had no clue who I was when I came on – they all seemed to know by the end! A combination of mainly these three opportunities I’ve had + all the other shows and also the “couple plays on Triple J” have made such a positive impact on the growth of my fan base. So basically yeah – all these things for sure have helped to grow both my fan base but also who I am now, and am becoming as an artist.

What do yourself and James do to warm up before you go onstage, do you have special hug, handshake or sing-along etc?

Not quite yet! There is A LOT of drumming on practically every and any surface by James before every show and as for me, I don’t mind busting a move or three backstage to pump up (learned that from Matt & Kim!). I’m not sure if it really relates but there always seems to be a particular song stuck in our heads for each particular day.

If you could curate your own festival, where would it be, who would be on the bill, how many people would you let in and what features would it have ?

If I could do that – I would have it right here in Canberra cause that’s where the homies are at, I’d get an immense amount of acts from all genres from The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Yeezy and of course a bunch of us from  Australia – Seth Sentry, Miracle, Diafrix, Dialectrix, Grey Ghost, Alex Williamson, I dunno…basically everyone…this is assuming I’ve won the lotto and am now stupidly rich. I’d make it a free event, cause I’d be so rich, and we’d just keep letting people in until it ‘looked full enough’. There would have to be lots of food, God I LOVE food and I’d have a special stall where they’d sell spaghetti-lasagne cause cmon, how is that not awesome? I’d also very strongly encourage all dudes to wear bucket hats (cause they’re stylish as hell) and all gals to have a straight fringe (cause..well; they’re just a hot hair-do) and that would be my awesome festival.

Because everyone seems to be doing things together, which living Australian female artist would you most love to invite to collaborate with on one of your tracks?

I’d actually really love to do a song with Asta – she’s just so good!

You’re about to hit the road on The Vision Tour to celebrate another single from the EP, where will this tour be taking you and who will you taking with you as supports?

Well for this one I’ll be going to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Coolangatta, Brisbane and Toowoomba with the talented people like Moonbase Commander, Psyde Projects, Jackie Onassis and a few more

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 after this tour?

Hopefully get a whole bunch of new tracks ready for another EP realease! I also would like to purchase a samurai sword.

Citizen Kay Tour Dates

Saturday 13 July @ FBI SOCIAL, SYDNEY 
 – w/ Beat Club + Moonbase Commander + Beatside

Friday 19 July  @ REVOLVER, MELBOURNE 
 – w/ The Psyde Projects

Saturday 20 July  @ ROCKET BAR, ADELAIDE – w/ The Psyde Projects

Watch ‘Yes!’ here:

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