The 19-year-old, real name Roosevelt Kazaula Sigsbert, is set to release his debut EP Unfiltered, which reveals an appreciation for classic R&B while embracing contemporary production and hip-hop beats.
He began his singing career in earnest when he joined the Manchester United Foundation Choir at 15 where he absorbed a multitude of genres before starting to write and record his own music at 17.
Inspired by artists like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Miguel, [ K S R ] draws on classic R&B and neo soul while infusing his tracks with a unique vulnerability.
His debut single H / Er brought him to the attention of soul/hip-hop duo Children of Zeus, who have since been supportive of the young artist, and subsequently his music has received radio play from BBC 1Xtra.
Here [K S R] gives M some insight into the processes behind Unfiltered and reveals his biggest inspirations...
You started singing from a young age, what inspired you to start making your own music?
I basically had a lot of stories. I’d gone through a lot of personal things in my life, but then the older I got I realised that a lot of people experienced similar things that I was going through. So, I thought it was right to share my experience and let people know and understand that it’s a very common thing and nobody’s different in this world.
We go through similar things and have similar traits. Being able to write music was one way of being able to communicate with other people, to show them we’re still the same, we’re still one.
What’s the thinking behind your debut EP, Unfiltered?
Again, Unfiltered is something where I was in a space where I had a lot of things to express and talk about. Through this whole EP, I’m generally talking about the experiences that I went through growing up. The success I went through, the failures I went through.
The whole EP was just a way of me expressing to people that this is where I was and this is where I am right now. That’s kind of the whole purpose of Unfiltered really
What did you learn through the process of making the EP?
I definitely learnt that I’m not as patient as I thought I was. I was making sure that every kind of detail was right on every song, and then I realised it takes a lot of patience.
I guess you could say that I learnt to except who I am. Again, I’m not perfect, so I should have the ability to tell people, ‘this is how my life is, this what I was going through, and it’s normal.’ We shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are. We should just be happy at the end of the day.
I believe it’s a mature version of my older stuff, in the sense that I’m starting to use different elements. So, drums, pianos – it has more of a live feel. It’s an older, more mature version of me.
Can you talk us through your latest single Queen?
Queen is actually a song based around my sisters, both my sisters were going through a lot of struggle and doubt. At the same time it was a weird thing for me, because they’re both independent and very strong and can cope with a lot of things. But when they were both going through exams and stuff they kinda were having a lot of self-doubt. So that song was definitely aimed towards my sisters, but it was also aimed to other women in the world, to say ‘you got it’ or you ‘you shouldn’t be afraid’ at the end of the day.
What are your biggest influences and inspirations?
I’d definitely say my parents. They taught to be free and never be ashamed. They said, ‘at the end of the day, this is who you are. You can never change that, so it’s down to you embrace it.’
What’s the music scene like in Manchester?
I find it very interesting. There are so many artists, so much unbelievable talent, and now that there’s a light being shined upon us it’s an amazing thing, I personally believe.
As Mancunians, I believe we should be able to grab that opportunity. I think it’s one of those things; it’s great but if you’re an artist you’ve got to be able to capitalise on that.
Can you tell us a about your relationship with the guys from Children of Zeus?
They’re more-or-less like older brothers to me. They’ve taken me under their wing and taught me the whole music game in a way. They taught me how to be independent and how to understand that this game is not the prettiest, but it can be beautiful at times.
You’ve just got to be able to pick your moments and understand that there’s always fun and there’s always the nasty, nitty, gritty stuff. I appreciate them so much, and in so many ways.
The person I’d like to collaborate with is Etta Bond. I think she’s knows this already. It’s definitely something I would like to do, she was one of my idols when I was a child.
How do you know when something’s working musically?
I honestly don’t [laughs]. In the studio, I have my lyrics ready and by the time a session’s finished and the song’s finished I wouldn’t know if I’d made a really good song.
Personally, for me, I wouldn’t know until it’s actually out there and people are taking it in. I feel like it’s a risky thing. I just put it out there and hope for the best. I’m hoping it has a little place in your heart. I feel like every song that I’ve written comes from a really sensitive place, so I hope everyone embraces it and takes in the message.
You’re supporting the release of the EP with a UK tour, what does the rest of 2019 hold?
I’m one of those people that just goes with the moment. For the time being, I’m unsure. I can definitely say I’ll be releasing a lot more music than I was last year. That’s kind of the whole purpose – releasing a lot more music, more videos, and hopefully more shows. Again, wherever the wind takes me, I’ll go.
Forthcoming tour dates
3 April The Shed, Leicester
5 April The Waiting Room, London
6 April The Bell Inn, Bath
7 April The Crofters Rights, Bristol
8 April Prince Albert, Brighton
9 April Peggy’s Skylight, Nottingham