Emotional. Hypnotic. Infectious.
These are some of the words used to describe the music of Kevin Lester. His emotionally driven songs are born from the personal complexities of life’s journey, distinctly influenced by artists like fellow rapper Common, with a sonic taste of indie electronic music such as The XX too.
An award-winning musician in Singapore, rapper Kevin Lester aka ‘TheLionCityBoy,’ has a soul etched to the groove of Hip Hop, a vibe borrowed from the best of R&B and an edge influenced by the raw exposed nerve of Punk Rock. Lester admits, ‘Growing up here has taught me to respect all cultures. We’re such a diverse, multi-cultural city that the closest people around you could be of five different races, each mixed with many other ethnicities. Because we’re a small country, just forty-five kilometers wide, you can’t help becoming immersed and affected by a multitude of different types of languages, food and of course, music. It’s a beautiful experience.”
With the release of his latest single JAMA and OVERDRIVE – the first video in a monthly series of original compositions in 2014, it’s clear Kevin Lester is showing no signs of slowing down in his road to global domination and success. We caught up with him to chat about his latest project, his career highs and curry devil….seriously whaaat?
1. Tell us about what you do…
I’m a rapper, producer and music activist.
2. Talk us through a typical day for you…
There isn’t a template day really. I guess that comes with running your own business in any field. Some days I’m buzzing around town from meeting to meeting, then to rehearsals and there are some days I spend in the studio. I really look forward to studio days, when day turns to night in a blink of an eye. It’s my favorite feeling having productive studio sessions. Even if I walk out there with a couple of unfinished beats and melody lines to future songs, that’s good enough to put a smile to my face.
I’ve also put some time in to a few passion projects, like a line of snapbacks inspired from a song I did in tribute to the LIONSXII. It’s something I hope to explore further in the future.
3. What makes you tick?
An amazing glass of Caol Ila. It’s a scotch whiskey that I’ve recently started to drink. It’s what I have when I take some time to chill and clear my mind. It’s then when most of my ideas sprout and my plans get strategized.
4. What has been the happiest moment in your career to date?
There have been many. It’s been quite a crazy ride the last few years and I’ve been blessed and humbled to be a part of them all.
Towards the end of 2013, I was approached to help promote a campaign for a football team in Singapore. The new coach was a local legend returning to Singapore just to take charge of them, Fandi Ahmad. Fandi is one of my heroes. I used to imagine being him, dribbling my football around the living room and here I was approached to promote a campaign alongside him.
It was definitely one of the happiest days of my life, spending half the day with him, shooting scenes. In the final credits of the promo song, it read Kevin Lester feat Fandi Ahmad. Having the credits reflect that still feels so surreal.
5. If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?
I would’ve told myself to write a track called JAMA earlier.
6. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
How about Leo DiCaprio? The dude was brilliant in Wolf Of Wall Street but I’ve been a fan of him since The Beach. My absolute favourite performance by him has still got to be in Blood Diamond. He takes on those roles with such aggression that you BELIEVE that could actually be him. To be played by a creative mind like his would be an honour. There’s also the added fact that Scorsese could be involved haha. That and Leo was an award wininng B-Boy in his younger years. I’ve got to keep that hip hop connect.
7. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I’ve always been obsessed with flying. That superman kind of flying, like you could travel within the universe without changing your breath.
8. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
My MacBook Pro, a helicopter and some clean underwear.
9. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
My favourite dish in the world has got to be curry devil. It’s a Eurasian dish that is formally called Devil Curry or some purists still call it Debal Curry. It’s usually served in a generous portion of bacon bones, chicken and it’s all mixed with carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Truthfully every Eurasian household cooks it differently but it’s always good no matter where you go or when you have it. A lot of people believe that the longer you keep it, the better it tastes.
10. What’s next for you?
I’ve been working hard towards my monthly series of originals in 2014. Every month, I’m releasing an original composition with music video on my YouTube channel. It started off with a one of release of PYCO and She Wild in 2013 but I’ve found a lot of fun creating music this way. It also challenges my ability and I felt encouraged that people have been really receptive to the new tunes.
March has got me busy opening for Jurassic 5 and Wu-Tang and then I’m off to KL for a couple of shows as well.
You can expect JAMA the latest single to drop! The teaser video is out now. I’m so stoked for that music video, we got hold of a Muay Thai gym and completely transformed it into a crazy mexican style wrestling circus!
May is especially exciting – there is talk of me traveling overseas. I’m just happy to get booked again since last year’s showcase!
You can catch Kevin Lester at Jurassic 5, information on that here and at Solid Gold – Raekwon and Ghostface Killah which is listed here. To follow Kevin on his journey, with his new music on YouTube and otherwise, click here. To check out the Kevin Lester official site simply follow the link here: http://thelioncityboy.com