Citizen Kay: A Stand-Up Citizen

Column: Features   |   Date Published: Wednesday, 11 May 16   |   Author: Seth Robinson   |   1 year, 1 month ago

     "I learnt a lot about my Dad and our family by [interviewing him for the album]."

CITIZEN KAY – a.k.a. Kojo Ansah, CBR’s most wanted – has had a colossal year. He released his sophomore album With The People, which received rave reviews, and set off a pair of kickin’ singles; ‘Wax On Wax Off’ and ‘Life Gives You Lemons’. What’s more, Kay has officially reached veteran status on the live circuit, touring with the likes of Illy, Wiz Khalifa, Earl Sweatshirt & Danny Brown, Run the Jewels, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and Seth Sentry. Now, Citizen Kay is warming up for the ‘Our World’ tour, which will see him headline across the country.

“I was pretty nervous about releasing the album, but honestly, it was great,” he says. “The reception was what I hoped for, but not what I expected. I was expecting an awesome reception for the up-tempo stuff, and it got that, but a lot of the feedback I got personally was for the more intimate tracks, which was absolutely what I wanted. I was nervous about putting those on the album, but those songs meant the most to me, so that was awesome to hear.”

But Ansah is quick to acknowledge that With the People’s success is partly owed to the album’s producer. “I worked with a guy named Ben Garden, who produced pretty much the whole album. We worked twelve songs to the point where they were the best we thought we could get them,” he explains. “I was doing a lot of the production before that, and honestly it’s a lot to try to do the production and write as well – you lose sense of what sounds good anymore, so it’s awesome having that second pair of ears. There’s one song in particular, where I interview my Dad. I didn’t know that’s what the song would turn out to be, but I’ve wanted to do that concept for about two years. It wasn’t until we wrote the instrumental for that, that I was like ‘this is the song’. The interview itself went for a good twenty minutes, and I had to cut it down to about three, but I learnt a lot about my Dad and our family by doing that.”

To celebrate the success of With the People, and to get a little more home grown hip-hop happening around the nation, Citizen Kay is about to hit the road on the ‘Our World’ tour, which will see him hitting cities up the coast, including a stop in his hometown. He’ll also take his little brother Genesis Owusu along for the ride, eager to share some of his industry know-how and spread the love.

“I’ve found that doing headline shows, you have to be in a particular headspace before you go on, which is really different from touring as a supporting act. I’ve done enough supports now that it’s super cruisey and I absolutely love it, because I’ve got the hang of it. I think headlines will come eventually, and ultimately it’s all about the audience and the vibe anyway.”

Citizen Kay hits up Transit Bar on Saturday May 21 for Upper Cuts, where Brass Knuckle Brass Band are doing a live hip-hop mixtape with The Ansah Brothers, Coda Conduct, Hayds and Roshambo. Support by PAINT on PAINT and Jedbrii. Starts at 8pm, tickets are $12 on the door. He’ll perform at Transit Bar again for his ‘Our World’ tour on Saturday June 4 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 + bf via Moshtix. Support by Genesis Owusu. 



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