We’re back to champion another wonderful woman in music.
This week we’re looking to the talented Kima Otung. The Nigerian-born, Wales-Raised singer-songwriter has been making waves in the contemporary R&B scene.
Kima’s genre-blending style, emotive lyricism and smooth vocal delivery have helped establish her as a rising star in the UK scene.
Velvety vocals and deeply rich tones are the Kima Otung signature, generating truly anthemic singles that have landed her placements on ITV’s Love Island and radio play on BBC Radio Wales.
On a musical mission to inspire women and help them realise their greatness, we just knew Kima Otung was the perfect candidate to be our next Woman in the Spotlight artist.
We were grateful for the opportunity to ask Kima some questions, and find out a little more about her.
How did Music first come into your life?
“I have always loved music since I was really little. The sounds of gospel music and Motown dominated the airwaves in my house, and I had a little keyboard with a bunch of demo tracks on it. I must have written a song to every single one of those demo tracks!
I think my love for music was completely cemented at 14 when I was accepted as the youngest member of the Welsh National Youth Opera. Tim Rhys Evans was the musical director, he went on to found choirs Only Men Aloud and Only Boys Aloud. I think I was in complete awe of the how insanely talented everyone was, I hadn’t experienced anything like it. After that, I knew music was my thing.”
Who or what has inspired your soulful sound?
“I’m inspired by things that happen in my life, and lessons I’m learning as I go along. I’m inspired by a crappy, toxic relationship I was in before. I try and dissect it with my music and hopefully pass on the lessons I learnt from experiencing that to other girls who listen to my music so that they can spot the signs and don’t have to experience the same thing I did.
I’m inspired by the journey of trying to do something you love that seems completely unrealistic, and documenting that journey in my lyrics. I take inspiration from loads of different genres of music, including classical music and gospel. I love the juxtaposition of those two contrasting influences.”
What’s your experience been like so far as a womxn in Music?
“It’s interesting, I’ve had a couple of people (men) call me “pushy” before, when I’ve followed up on emails or messages I’ve sent them… And I’ve wondered whether they would have called me pushy if I was a guy. It’s pretty classic; painting a woman as a ‘bitch’ or ‘bossy’ when if a man did the same thing he’d be a ‘boss’ and someone who just knows what he wants.
To be honest, I’m going about my music career in a non-traditional way. A lot of the gate keepers in the traditional music industry tend to be men (e.g. the label execs, the A&R’s etc.), so in bypassing that route into the industry, I’ve avoided a lot of the sexism that can emerge as a result. I think I’m lucky, because I’ve been able to meet some amazing people along the way so far, and I tend to keep the great people and let go of the ones who aren’t so great.”
What are your dreams for your Music, where would you love to see it take you?
“Where do I begin?! There’s a lot. I mean, winning a Grammy would be incredible. Also, Madison Square Garden might be coming to London in the form of the MSG Sphere. I live in Stratford, London where the arena is supposed to be built, and I really love it here. So if the MSG Sphere goes ahead (I’m hopeful that it will!), it would be amazing to sing there.”
What is a key piece of advice you’d give to fellow womxn in the industry?
“Approach your music like a business. As a music artist you are are also an entrepreneur – you are selling your music. A lot of the time we focus so much on the creative that we completely neglect the business side. Have a strategy in place, think about how you are going to get your music to people’s ears, make sure your music is registered correctly so you can get the money you’re owed, find out how people are making money in the music business because they are!
I’d also say put yourself forward for things that you don’t think you’re “qualified” for, and reach out to people you assume won’t respond to you. There’s actual research that shows that most women will not apply for something until they meet all of the criteria, whereas a man will apply even if they hardly have any of the required criteria. So go after it, the worst they can say is no, and if they say no then you’re in the same position you would have been in had you not applied or reached out at all. There’s literally nothing to lose.”
What’s next for you as an artist?
“I’m releasing my debut EP in a couple of months! I’m soooo excited about it because it will be my first proper statement of who I am as an artist. I care about women so much, and my music is geared towards us as women. I want us to raise our expectations of the people around us and I never want us to settle for less than the very best.”
There is no better time to get to know Kima Otung. With a full EP on the way Kima is ready to bring us more oustanding single to tug at our heart strings, and fill our souls with glee.
Join Kima Otung on her journey!
Written By: Jessica Rowe