If I had to choose one word to describe Kenia Os, it would most likely be perseverance. At 23 years old, she has already been a YouTuber, a presenter at music awards, a judge on a talent show and, as a singer, in the same year she published two studio albums that have broken playback records on different streaming platforms. A long list of achievements that need to be added her collaborations with other artists such as Gera MX, Snow Tha Product, CNCO and Ha * Ash.
His debut LP arrived last March, a record named moon changes partly because it is the star that governs his zodiac sign and, on the other, because it was created during a time of transitions in his life. “It was like growing from a girl to a woman,” he says. “I was going through many personal stages, I needed to heal and tell the world and the girls many things through my pain.” Set to music with sweet pop, the work turned out to be introspective and at the same time a summary of the thoughts she had for two years; the perfect catharsis that would open the way to a more mature and at the same time uncomplicated stage.
The time had come to exchange crying for celebration and pain for happiness, and it was in this way that K23, an album that he released in October and that he has described as the complement to his 2022. Unlike its predecessor, a more dynamic Kenya is presented here since he dared to explore electronica, ballads and even a bit of k-pop. Thus, throughout her 11 songs, the singer takes us into her Kenini metaverse where anime and futuristic aesthetics are the common thread of this story.
After a year full of triumphs and after a successful tour that culminated in early December in Culiacán, Kenia set out to take a well-deserved vacation to enjoy the New Year’s festivities with her family and friends. Meanwhile, she turned on her camera to have an in-depth chat with Rolling Stone en Español.
How was going on tour in this 2022?
At first it was somewhat chaotic because we were very used to routine. But then I already missed him too much. When I rested, I already missed it and it is very beautiful, really. It is one of those experiences that I think will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Do you remember how your first show was?
Yes, it was at the Metropolitan. It was the first time I got on stage because I grew up a lot in a pandemic as a singer and when I started working later, they were two totally different worlds. From the moment I stepped on stage I said yes, this is what I like, this is my thing and this is what I want to do for a long time.
The transition between moon changes Y K23 it is very noticeable, especially for the variety of rhythms of the second. Why did you decide to go in this sound direction?
I really wanted to do something different. Something that I have always had in mind is that I want to mark my essence in everything I do, I do not like to do what other people are doing and what is fashionable, but rather that you see something and say, “That’s Kenya You”.
How did you develop your alter ego to K23?
I like to put that personal part in my projects and I said, “Right now what I like to watch the most is anime, so I want the album to have anime”, and that’s how K23, the little monkey, was born.. It was a great idea because she can make videos and a lot of things that suddenly I can’t do anymore, I feel like she’s that extension of me in the digital world.
You mentioned that you like anime, which one or which are your favorites?
My favorite is demon slayer and I also like all Studio Ghibli movies. I love them, although I have already seen them, I always put them to sleep and they kind of give me a little hug. As many people put friendsI would put those [risas].
This not going with the flow has worked a lot for you, because now you can see a lot of reggaeton and you came up with a different proposal.
I’m not against doing reggaeton or urban music, I’m a huge fan, but I think it’s that part of me of not wanting something that everyone else is already doing, of wanting to make my own sound. Even if I go back to doing urban, it’s going to be based on my own sound, which is the idea because I already miss it. I have about three years in which I have been very focused on pop and more chill music, and now I kind of need that Kenya a little more urban again, but in my style, not like before.
Yes, let it show that it’s you.
Kenia, you have always been very sincere about the process of creating your music in the sense that in some songs you give the concept and the composers develop it. At this point in your career, how has your way of composing evolved?
Before it was more insecure. I started just saying the ideas or just completing words with the composers because I felt really sorry. And then every time they came up with words or they were stuck with something with a line, I would say, “We can put something like this”, and they were all like, “Yeah, yeah! I like!”. I was grabbing that security and believing in myself little by little, until I can already be with a composer or a composer and the producer, and I can now write songs, when before I needed two or three. My goal is to only be with my producer writing, I already had a session like this and a very cool song came out.
When you artists who started as youtubers or influencers decide to venture into other projects, be it acting or music, people are usually very critical. How have you dealt with skepticism and/or prejudice?
I perceive myself as Barbie, you can be whatever you want to be [risas]. I can be an influencer, I can host an event, make music and be in a studio, stand on stage -which not everyone does- and I think that defines me, not even as a singer, but more as an artist who dedicates herself to to be creating Obviously there will always be negative comments but I think that what I am doing is not easy and not everyone could with the responsibility, work and discipline that is needed to be at this point where I am standing. I believe in my music and my team, my label and millions of people believe in me, I’m not going to go by one comment. If you don’t like my music or what I do, there are so many artists out there and your perception of me doesn’t define me as a person. Rather, it defines you.
Another belief is that youtubers, influencers or tiktokers have it easy when it comes to dabbling in artistic projects. Is it easy to go from making YouTube videos to being a singer?
It is not easy because they are two totally different worlds. When you stand in front of a camera to make a YouTube video, it’s you as a person; When I do a music video sometimes I don’t even get to be Kenya, I get to be the bad girl and it’s totally acting. Also working in that part of theater was difficult for me and I developed it over time. The stage is not like a live on TikTok or Instagram, it’s real, the people are there and you can’t cut it, they are two totally different worlds.
They are two jobs that take a lot of time and responsibility. I am also against, “It’s just that influencers don’t work”, because I’ve seen that comment a lot that it’s not a job.
Also that they don’t make an effort when in reality they do a lot of things.
Yes! When I went there I did campaigns that took me 12 hours to record, videos that I edited for three days. Although it is from the future, it is still a real job and it takes discipline, time and effort.
“I know the person I am and my values, I know what is inside me, what builds me and what makes me Kenia and I can go to my bed calmly, with my goals well in mind and focusing on what is mine”
Changing the subject a bit, what happened to your label K Records?
I have saved this project at the moment because right now I am focused on Kenya as an artist, nothing more. Yes, I would like to undertake it in the future, but I think that there will be a lot of time left for that, a lot of tours that I have to take, a lot of years and a lot of personal growth to be able to share my knowledge with more people.
How do you train daily to be an integral artist?
The most important thing that I have and that has led me to do the things that I have done in my career is to be disciplined. I am a very disciplined person and that is what has made me the person I am today. When I see something that is failing me, I get in and nail myself, for example, right now I’m dancing, dancing, dancing. This year I was crazy with my singing teacher vocalizing, rehearsing, studying my favorite artists, observing every detail in myself too, analyzing where I fail, where I have trouble breathing, everything. And now it’s dancing. And that’s how I am, when I focus on something that fails me and that I need to improve, I get very crazy and I’m there.
That is very good. In your career you have had several ups and downs, how have you built this resilience and strength so that things do not bring you down?
I would be lying if I said no, at some point it did not affect me. But I have always said that I know the person I am and my values, I know what is inside me, what builds me and what makes me Kenia and I can go to my bed calmly, with my goals well in mind and focusing on what Own. I always describe myself as one of those racehorses that bring [anteojeras], that I see the goal and I don’t see around me because I have realized that when I focus on mine and not on the negative, at the end of the day that becomes positive. That’s like my motto, “Keep working on what’s mine.” Besides, I also have great support from a team and my family, and it’s those things that keep you grounded and keep going.
What is it like for you to look back at the time of Songs for my ex Vol. 1 or even ‘Forever’, and see how much you’ve evolved?
I don’t think I’m a fan of that Kenya, but I respect and admire her because I know that at that point she was going through a lot and despite that I stood up, was responsible, finished all my work and gave it my all. More than seeing her and feeling bad, I hug her, love her, respect her and also admire her. I admire that Kenya of songs for my ex, of ‘Forever’ and ‘Bonita’ because I see that desire and this brightness of what I want to achieve. Seeing what is happening now is very nice.