INKI: The joyful one

INKI gave us an interview on the occasion of the musical brunch organized by Airplane Mode this Sunday the 18th June. Have as much fun reading as we had interviewing him!

Airplane Mode: We had the occasion to read your biography before this interview, anything more to say about yourself?

INKI: Myself in general terms ? Well, this biography had been written many years ago. It was about myself as an artist, many things happened since then…  I’m a 29 years old singer from Brussels with Rwandan origins. I do French Pop music with many different musical influences such as RnB or Reggae with a hint of modernity. Besides that, I’m working to make ends meet. Just a joyful guy from Brussels in his late twenties [laughs].

AM: You said you lived in Rwanda for 6 years, did you go back there recently or not?

INKI: Strangely not! Last time was when I was 18, in 2006. Actually, I lived in Rwanda between 12 and 18 years old and I didn’t come back since then. It was firstly because of the lack of money but now it’s just a question of organization! I have to think about it seriously, as my family starts blaming me for this, they wonder what is happening to me! [laughs]

AM: Is there any touch of Rwandan music in yours?

INKI: Initially not. At the beginning, 4 years ago, I was very influenced by Western Pop music including French music, as it was trendy at the time. I was succeeding at this but I recently changed my style and incorporated much more African influences, especially in the rhythm. I’m still working on my musical style..

AM: Did you ever want to be a singer, as you grew up in a family of musicians? 

INKI: As you said, I grew up in a family of musicians. My father was a traditional Rwandan music singer and my mother his backup singer, my sister also listened to a lot of « modern » music as well. Even if I didn’t want to do the same job as my father in the first place, I soon realized that music is one of the few things that I really love to do and when I realized that I could turn it into a job it suddenly became clear to me. My friends got into it, particularly my best friend JALI who started 1 or 2 years before me. When you see that young Belgians do such things you say to yourself « why not? » and when it’s your homie you just say « go for it!! »

AM: You started with the band « the Zions Youth » then you collaborated with your friend JALI; What about now? 

INKI: JALI and I both started with the Zions Youth indeed. He then started his solo career and taught me how to write, compose and structure my music. We are not really a duet but we work together and I think we will do so for the rest of our lives, he is my buddy after all!

AM: So, are you really playing solo or do you have a band? 

INKI: I’m still playing alone, and I must form a band! Furthermore, I met a potential guitar player few days ago, it was cool, we’ll see! In fact, I’m working with a lot of people according to their availabilities and projects, which take more or less time. So yeah, I’m still a solo artist, for now.

AM: You’re composing your own songs. Is there a message you want to convey or you simply speak about your own experience? 

INKI: I’m not claiming to convey a message but expressing my point of view on things, trying not to judge. For instance, I like speaking about Love as everybody deals with it differently, more or less intensively. Musically speaking, people will sort this out. Some will love the melody, others will love both melody and lyrics. As I like to make my words sing I try to keep my lyrics simple, understandable…

AM: So, is it more a positive feeling that you want to convey in these dark times? 

INKI: Definitely, but I also like to keep this hint of cynicism because the world we live in is not really fantasy land! Bad things can happen to you but, if you’re still standing on your feet, that’s what matters.

AM: What are the influences, the artists whose INKI_Polaroid
inspired you the most?

INKI: Mickael Jackson! The Beatles too. More recently Justin Timberlake. That’s for the Anglo Saxon ones. Regarding the French ones, I’m listening pretty much everything, from Tété to Saian Supa Crew, I have no limits! It sometimes comes close to bad taste [laughs], and there are catchy songs that I can listen 500 times within a month.. Anyway, If I have to pick up one, it would be Justin Timberlake. He has made many songs I enjoyed a lot.

AM: We think that you look a little like Keziah Jones, do you agree?

INKI: [Laughs] Ah okay! I had listened what he did yes, especially his hit songs like Rhythm is Love, but I can’t tell that he inspired me musically even if I really love his personality. He’s quite impressive on stage, he’s experienced and can improvise easily. I like his « take it easy » side… Anyway, thank you for the comparison!

AM: What are your projects for the next future? 

INKI: [Thinking] It seems like I will play at your musical brunch next Sunday right? [Laughs] Seriously, I would like to get back on tracks yes, but I also want to take my time for that. Playing at the musical brunch is a good occasion for me to take music back again what works and what not.  Moreover, I will play some fresh, new songs especially for you! Exciting right?

AM: When do you switch to Airplane Mode?

INKI: I often cut myself from the rest when I got too angry. Even if I am a relatively calm person, I can sometimes get mad for something stupid. It often happens when it’s related to something I really care about. I shut myself away when I feel I won’t handle it properly. In the end, I switch to airplane mode when I need to detach myself from the rest, otherwise I always try to enjoy myself as much as I can.

Interview by Leyla and Len