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Mancunian soul star [K S R] runs us through the tracks that mean the most to him, from D'Angelo hits to his fave Children of Zeus songs.

Intro: Jay Fullarton

Interview: Liam Cattermole

Photos Jake Millers

Many gifted, young voices in the UK scene emerge from Moss Side in Manchester every year, but none quite like [ K S R ]. You only need to give the single ‘Drop In’ a spin to realise why. The silky-voiced soul singer combines cosy drums, transfixing bass, and equally sensual yet nonchalant lyrics on the track. His gossamer vocals glide through the nostalgic neo-soul production like sharp scissors through wrapping paper, redolent of early D’Angelo with seductive requests of “Can you drop in for the morning?”. It’s just one of many songs in the Mancunian crooner’s arsenal that proves him a talent to be taken seriously.

The First Word signed artist's forthcoming project sees him pair up with producer Teo, who you might know from some of your favourite Akemi Fox and Children of Zeus tracks. With his records already comprising an extensive assortment of alt-R&B, future soul, hip-hop, and drum & bass, we can’t wait to indulge in the eclectic genre-fusions on offer with his next release.

It's already a given that all eyes will be on [ K S R ] in no time. With exposure from Radio 1, Complex, and even UK R&B peer Mahalia (who handpicked him for her Jazz Café curated event), the sweet, sensual songster is playlist bound for endless audio-aficionados in the near future. But for now, [ K S R ] takes us through his favourite Soulquarians memories, his karaoke tune of choice, his pick-me-up plays, and much more.

Hey [K S R]! To kick off the questions, what was the last song you streamed? No cheating. Currently, I’m listening to 'Stop (Asking Me 4Shyt)' off Victoria Monét's latest project.

Taking it right back, can you remember the first tune you were obsessed with?

I remember when I was around five, my father played D’Angelo’s, 'Brown Sugar' and I was hooked over the melodies, trying so hard to imitate him. It didn't work out for me at all.

You’ve previously said that, when it came to developing your writing style, you studied D’Angelo and Etta Bond. What’s one Etta Bond song that’s inspired you the most?

'#Bad4Me' is one of those songs which has inspired me a lot for many reasons. Simply because of the simplicity of the song itself and as a songwriter, at times, you may feel that you have to overcomplicate the lyrics when in reality it’s all about the meaning and the story that you are portraying. Most Importantly, power creates a vivid picture in your mind making you feel calm and forcing you to admire her crazy soothing voice.

Your most recent project, Peace + Harmony, is a candid portrayal of your emotions and thoughts during lockdown. What’s one song that puts you in a tranquil space and why?

'Lily Apart' resonates with me a lot because I was in a place at that time where I wanted more from someone who wanted to feel as though I was enough. I was doubting my emotions but putting my trust in time and acknowledging that the pandemic either made you feel like you started figuring life out or that it felt as though things were falling apart. So 'Lily and Apart' is more about loving someone yet feeling so distant.

You’re a good friend and collaborator of Children of Zeus, who are killing it right now. Which song would you say epitomises your friendship, whether that’s a collaboration or a song you’ve bonded over in the studio?

Yeah, I'm so proud to see them living to their full potential; that will forever be inspiring. I can't give a perfect example of one song that brings light to our friendship. However, if I had to, it would be, 'The Most Humblest Of All Time, Ever'. That song gives you an insight into the type of men they are. All they ever want is to bring hope and light into this world with their music. They are so conscious of their lyrics and amid everything they have achieved, they always remain themselves.

They put me under their wing at such a young age; I don't think I can ever repay them but one thing I do know is I will always try to stay true to myself throughout this journey of life.

This year, you represented New Balance at the London Marathon, congratulations! Can you give us a song off your playlist when you were training for it?

Thank you! I’m currently bashing 'Numb Numb Juice' by Schoolboy Q.

When you’re looking for a pick-me-up, what’s one song that always puts you in a good mood and why?

DESTIN CONRAD, 'ON 10'. THE GROOVE. THE VIBE. It’s just everything you need.

What’s [K S R]’s karaoke song of choice?

'Fly Me To The Moon' is one song I’d pull out at a karaoke.

To wrap up, what’s one song from your discography that everyone should listen to?

Xavier Omär - 'Tarantino'

Stream [ K S R ]'s latest single below:


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