Kirby Forest is an aspiring rapper with experience from both sides of the Atlantic. He talked to the TheBerlinClub. about how his personal challenges impacted his creative process.
3 minute read
Interview: Sam // Words: Ollie
“It’s important to test yourself…”
In a bar near bustling Oxford Circus, we caught up with emerging UK rapper Kirby Forest for an insight into his distinctive sound, how he plans to build on his current success & how exposure to the American & British music scenes have been instrumental in formulating his creative talents.
“Initially, I wanted to make songs to be like my idols. It is only when I started to create my own identity that I discovered my true passion is overcoming challenges” he continues.
Kirby walks us through his early interactions with music: “I listened to a lot of different things growing up. I remember being really interested in the beef between rappers & saw they were doing better numbers with the release of their tracks because of it…that interested me”.
Talking about his childhood, Kirby adds, “I moved to Atlanta when I was 12 & got more involved in the song making process. As I was so young, it was easy to be influenced. Around that time in America, there was so much hype around the Lil Wayne style of rapping, so I used that when making my own beats. After a while, I ended up writing my own song out there”.
When asked about the cultural differences across the Atlantic, Kirby is quick to note the approach to ideas stateside: “In America, people are so much more likely to approach you & are a lot more outgoing & open. It’s a lot easier to collaborate as a result”.
Back & Building. //
After spending his teens growing up in America, Kirby discusses his return to the UK: “I came back a few years later & just carried on writing songs. It was hard at first but fortunately I found a producer who was from my area back in the day. I ended up reaching out to him & we got on, so he started making a few beats & sending them over to me to rap on”.
Kirby explains this creative process he undertakes daily: “If there is a beat I like, then I would start writing straight away. Once I have got an idea of what I want to say, I would start freestyling around it & turn it into the start of a song. The first one or two lines are so important for an artist, as they set the whole scene for what is going to be said. Once I create something that I enjoy, I just build on those lines”.
When asked about the message being put across in his music, the rapper replies: “Currently, it is stuff that is going on in my life day to day, so there is some continuity with all my lyrics. However, I don’t think my music has an expiry date. Yes, I am talking about what is going on in my life now, but the songs will hopefully speak to other people at various stages of their lives”.
The Evolution. //
While Kirby’s music may be focussed on the here & now, he is not without a vision for the future. “My music is naturally going to evolve with the experiences I have. Every song I make will be a piece of me at a certain point in my life & once any track is released, I won’t dwell on it…I want to keep creating” he says.
Kirby expands on his desire for constant delivery of new ideas: “I want each song to have a new theme. They won’t all be completely different, there will be familiar aspects, but there will be changes. I wouldn’t say I’m doing it to keep it fresh, I just want to see how versatile I can be & how creative I can get. I like the idea of not being able to put my music or me into a certain box”.
Asked about his ambitions, Kirby answers simply: “I love performing & seeing the reaction of the crowd to new beats…I want to do more of that. I also just want to keep making music & release an album”.
We end the interview with Kirby offering some advice to new & aspiring artists: “While everyone else is trying to do the same thing, it is important to focus on what makes you different. I made my own covers & experimented with lots of different styles”.
Kirby expresses the need for a supportive team: “I have a small group now & I like it because you can make your own decisions. However, I am aware that at some point I will need more people around who have experience of the scene & how to take opportunities. I think that’s important for up & coming artists”.
Using his storytelling skill & his unique transatlantic experience, Kirby Forest is a talented artist with fast rising stock & is proof that having confidence in your own abilities can take you a long way.
Kirby Forest’s new EP ‘Nights Before Treehouse’ is out now
Follow Kirby @KirbyForest_