After moving to the UK to make music aged 17, the singer has gone on to work with Shaggy and wants to perform in Antarctica – watch his energetic new video for “Found Da Boi”
“Let’s talk about the art of living,” says 22-year-old Krishane. “I’ve woken up in that kind of mood today.” Living, in the Jamaican musician’s sense of the word, is high-energy, powered by a very faraway sunshine and his tunnel-visioned determination. His track “Found Da Boi”, featuring Wande Coal, is testament to that too, as he asks us to delve into that “inconvenient, all-consuming love”, that represents the thing we all want most which could very well be right in front of us.
Having grown up in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, Krishane was cobbling together songs as a young child, testing his talent as a teen in his band The Teardrops, and finding himself attached to the nickname ‘melodic bird’ because of his musical exploits. With reggae legend Barrington Levy for a father, music was certainly in his blood. He landed in London to focus on his music at 17, and now recently signing a deal with major label Atlantic Records – the home of his idol Sean Paul – he’s steadily released a slew of passion-permeating bangers.
The visuals reflect the tune’s major feel-good factor, a special kind of real-world positivity and good vibes that can’t be manufactured by the factions of teeth-cracking pop that attempt to emulate the sound of the island. His video with Nigerian artist Patoranking and collab with reggae king Shaggy have seen Krishane transplanted to Ghana and New York, but “Found Da Boi” found its home in west London. “Shout out to everyone who was a part of the video,” Krishane says. “The turnout was way more that what we expected! I was getting calls during the party scene like ‘We outside! We outside!’. It was good vibes, and we battled through the cold.”
“‘Found Da Boi’ really transcends its meaning – like, finding a boy is more like seeing things in front of you, and being happy with what's in front of you in your life,” he explains. We’re premiering the infectious, colourful video right here on Dazed, and we speak to Krishane about Jamaican legends and staying authentic.
Your home life in Jamaica must have been pretty musical. When did it click that music was your calling?
Krishane: My godparents say I started young, like six years old. They told me as a small child that loud music was playing and I crawled up to the stereo and started humming the melodies of the music. Even then, music was my heartstring. I used to say that I’m gonna be a pastor, a fireman, I was gonna be a superhero and all of that, but I was always driven by art. Even though I’m from a musical background, I’ve always been doing my own thing. I wasn’t really around my dad doing music. My childhood was amazing – so dope, but being around my dad, I just always wanted to do my musical journey by myself. My dad has always been there to give me advice about the industry. He says: ‘the aim of the game is show no shame’. He’s a reggae artist, and I’m more of like a Caribbean crossover. Funny, I never really used to open up to him musically. I kind of opened up later on.
Was it daunting coming over to the UK at 17 to work on music?
Krishane: Actually, my first trip here was 2009, on holiday. The main things we had to eat were like grapes and apples, and we had Sam’s Chicken, and I think I finally realised there that I was going to live here. The first time I landed it was so cold and wet. I’m like, is this how it’s supposed to be for the whole time in the UK? Mentally I was aware of the lifestyle. The weather, however, I still can’t fully wrap my head around.
“(Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson) didn’t make music thinking ‘Okay, this is going to be cool and sound good in the streets.’ They made it because it gave them goosebumps and they made it because it’s what they enjoyed doing”
Has moving to the UK from Jamaica influenced how you’ve progressed with your music?
Krishane: Yeah, it has. Before I didn’t really know what the UK music scene was. But now I’m signed to a British label, Atlantic Records. I asked: ‘Am I the first Jamaican that you guys have signed?’ And they’re like ‘No, we have Sean Paul!’ And I’m like, ‘Sean Paul is directly to America, so like, in the UK?’ And they said ‘Possibly, yeah.’ The British scene is like techno, grime, pop. I find Shakka (London grime musician) very interesting. It’s like he came into the world with no purpose, but is finding a cause, and the way he writes is a real story. Wretch 32 also has a poetic approach. Adele has proven that it doesn’t matter what culture or background or what music genre you are, you can be at the top. I haven’t incorporated grime to my soundscape, but I’m learning from the culture. I can kind of incorporate it in certain ways, but still remain that outcast. But Britain is very open to a wide selection of music. The whole thing from day one was to bring a sound to the UK from me.
And I love to travel. If I say I’m Jamaican, people are like ’Jamaica! Yah man!’ Technology and aeroplanes have made the world smaller, yet it’s still so big. In your own country you’re surrounded by a certain kind of persona, you’re mentally locked in. I’m pumped about travelling and learning. Egypt, for me, is the light of my life. Everywhere I went people called me Tutankhamun! I love working with people from different places, so travelling is vital to my work.
And UK artists have taken a lot of inspiration from Jamaica too.
Krishane: One of my A&R people said to me what’s going to happen is that people will start fabricating cultural music. Afrobeats, the dancehall and the reggae is getting popular. Artists from America and UK have taken it on. I separate myself from that pattern, knowing that I’m from the Caribbean, a soundscape that has the Jamaican heritage. Everyone loves a bit of reggae, and nowadays everyone is doing futuristic Caribbean pop, and dancehall’s happening. What I’ve done is basically use the archives, which people aren’t doing. Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, and then even Usher, MJ and Prince all influence my sound. But being unique really counts. I’ll always try to go out of my comfort zone to be different, to find what’s going to be a hook in someone’s head.
It’s important to be authentic and creating something that’s not just kind of been manufactured off an idea of what culture is.
Krishane: Trust me – Quincy Jones stated that when he was making music with Michael Jackson. They didn’t make music thinking ‘Okay, this is going to be cool and sound good in the streets.’ They made it because it gave them goosebumps and they made it because it’s what they enjoyed doing. That’s what people relate to and it’s beautiful.
When you worked with Shaggy, did he give you guidance to navigating the scene?
Krishane: I can say for sure like, he’s mad funny. In New York, when the video (‘Money Can’t Buy No Love’) was being shot, he came in from some other stuff he was doing. He was tired but there was no fatigue or any grumpiness. Just his crazy, funny self and all that. He was giving me a lowdown of how he started in the music. Big him up. He’s been through it all, it doesn’t phase him. For him to look at me, and just be really excited, compared to him – that for me was golden.
You’ve been doing music for so long now, do you look back and think how far you’ve come?
Krishane: My brain is always constantly on the go, so in bed I’ll think about what I’ll be doing later in life. I think about being in Jamaica and seeing stuff on the television – watching Sean Paul, I was like a mad fan. No one could ever say anything bad about him and I don’t retaliate! I remember watching him (he sings ‘We Be Burnin’) and literally, I saw Atlantic on it, and I said I want to be signed to Atlantic one day. Who would have known. The universe is a very powerful thing. I will build naturally and progressively. I feel my main thing is to perform in Antarctica. I thought I’d be the first person to perform there, but I’m not! I think Metallica already did. Damn, I’m happy for them though.
“Britain is very open to a wide selection of music. The whole thing from day one was to bring a sound to the UK from me”
The Caribbean has had such a major impact on culture and music despite being geographically small. Why do you think that is?
Krishane: I asked this to my bredrins in Jamaica, and I get all the ‘every one loves a bit of reggae.’ There’s the TV series with Jimmy Cliff, and Bob Marley, who paved the way. It’s simple. First there was ska and the revolution of reggae. Britain has heavily influenced that kind of music, because of colonising. There was a certain musical pattern that evolved into simple one drop reggae, that makes your head go – and it’s gone all over the world. Jamaica’s small, but we have a saying: ‘we’re likkle, but we’re talawa.’ We’re influencing the world. Not only in music, but in sports. Not only in sports, but in agriculture and tourism. You have a few people saying like ‘Jamaica’s all the badman down there’. There’s badman everywhere!
Who would be your dream collaborator?
Krishane: Pharrell Williams. I know I don’t look like him, but he is like, so me. Being different and being risk takers. I mean, let’s be real, if the song ‘Happy’ came out and we were surrounded by the mandem, they would be like ‘Nah man.’ But that song went worldwide. Music is the only language. Nothing else. Creative people, we are the aliens. And you want to make anthems for the people, not hits.
So where do you see yourself finding a place in the musical canon?
Krishane: I’ve never said it before, but I’m going to say it now. I don’t say, ‘Okay, next five years I’m going to do this and do that.’ No, I’m doing music because I’m doing it for my whole life. Where music takes me is where I see myself. I see myself out there, and up there. Maybe the Guinness Book of Records. One main thing that I see myself doing is importing myself into different cultures. I’m just trying to be somebody.
And how far along are you along with the next record?
Krishane: It’s finished. I’m always in the lab working away, just making sure that the bag is filled. Filled with bullets. It can be a debut album or an EP, but the decision hasn’t been made yet. “Found Da Boi” is my first chapter, part two will be next year. For me, I am just mainly focusing on being creative. Filling the bag, and working away. I might be the musical Santa Claus.