The legacy of Amy Winehouse lives on inside a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from London, Moss Kena. Recently, he took to Instagram to declare his love for Winehouse with a permanent tattoo as “without her, I’m quite sure I’d never have written a song,” he says.
When Kena released a cover of ‘These Walls’ from Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly,’ it captured the rapper’s attention. Three years later, Kena’s relentless work ethic guaranteed him a place on the scene as one of the most promising names in music to come out of London.
After releasing an anticipated EP ‘One+One,’ Kena gained support from various tastemakers like Zane Lowe and Annie Mac. But what does his name mean? It’s not your usual moniker. Moss Kena explains: “People have always called me Moss. When I was a little kid I couldn’t pronounce my real name, so I just used to say Moss, and it kinda stuck, Kena is a derivative of my surname”.
Early on, Kena realized the key to ‘making it’ is all about stepping outside your comfort zone and doing whatever it takes. “I’ve always been around music, my mum owned record shops before I was born. I left school aged 15 to pursue a career, performing in coffee shops and shopping centers, anywhere that would have me. At age 16, I met my manager, and things snowballed from there. It was a lot of grind and hustle to hunt for music industry connections that I didn’t have. You just got to put yourself out there really”, Kena pushes forward the art of networking.
It is always interesting how artists describe their sound, as they know it best. Moss Kena uses the following words: “Fresh, soulful and sometimes moody pop, with RnB influences.” I would personally also highlight his voice that undoubtedly sets him apart from other singer/songwriters.
Further to his Amy Winehouse arm tattoo, Kena’s 2018 project ‘Found You In 06’ also symbolizes his idol: “It was really an introduction to who I am and a nod to the year I found the work of my idol Amy Winehouse who really inspired me to become an artist”, he reveals.
It features some of his best work, such as ‘Problems,’ ‘Square One,’ and ‘You Don’t Know’.
The same year, he put out an EP ‘One+One’ that he describes as “an inventory of relationships between me and one other, all different types of relationships and what I’ve learned from them.”
With his work, Moss Kena admits he is just a man going through ups and downs in life but still aims to prove the sky is not the limit. “My life inspires my music, real experiences, making something good from a bad situation, and really just telling my story. I want it to represent a young man finding his way, confronting his demons and proving anything is possible”, he elaborates.
He is currently working on his first album that will act as an audio summary of his entire life. Meanwhile, this year he released two new singles ‘New Start’ and ‘You And Me’ featuring Buddy. For these two tracks, he draws from real emotions: “They’re autobiographical, I’m narrating real experiences. Also my voice it’s a constant thread, it’s unique, and I always make it front and center of anything I do”.
Moss Kena recently performed at the Camden Assembly in London offering ‘energy, truth and a whole lot of fun.’
Karolina Kramplova | WRITER