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B Side, Music

Kemuel’s Music Will Stand the Test of Time

Bounce spoke with PH-based singer, songwriter and music producer about the making of his sophomore EP, ‘Clouds’, and his plans to show the world that he’s got everything.

  • Melony Akpoghene
  • 26th April 2024
Kemuel’s Music Will Stand the Test of Time

Effusive, experimental, melodic. These qualities have been on full display since 2022, when Kemuel’s debut EP — Escape, a gratifying Soul and Amapiano amalgam — established him as one of the new voices of Afro R&B/Soul, a neologism that emerged to bracket together a sect of African singers that combine elements of traditional African music with contemporary R&B. 


He was brought to the attention of DJ Spinall who tapped him for the 2023 smash hit, “Bunda”, a record further enhanced by Olamide. The track greatly contributed to introducing the world to his uncanny ability to construct expressive pop songs. In his hands, anything — even an uptempo Amapiano-driven track with a veteran streetpop rapper — goes. While he may not have invented mellifluous singing, he has come close to mastering his own version of it. 


On Clouds, his diaristic self-produced sophomore EP, Kemuel is eager, assertive, tenacious — whether he’s supplicating his love interest on the opening track or praying to God on the penultimate track, “FIND,” to never find someone like a past lover again. Like literal clouds, the EP is a soundscape of soft melodies and warm production. And that’s what the PH-based artist, producer, and songwriter looks to always bring to the creative table with his blend of R&B and Soul influences.


Bounce spoke with the singer about the making of his EP and his plans to show the world that he’s got everything.


This interview is lightly condensed and edited for clarity.


Bounce: What’s good, Kemuel?


Kemuel: Things have been going really great. We just released a new project about 11/12 days ago. I love the reception so far. I’m glad the music is doing what it should be doing. It still has so much to do. But so far, it feels like we’re making progress on ticking off some items on my to-do list.


Bounce: I see that you’ve been hawking your music. 


Kemuel: (Laughs). Yes. Literally.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kemuel Emmanuel (@kemuelthekid)


Bounce: That’s very wise. What’s so special about Clouds compared to Escape? Did you approach songwriting and production differently? Are there specific ways you feel your artistry has grown between these two projects?


Kemuel: Yeah. I feel like I was more intentional about how I wanted this project (Clouds) to sound. Not that I wasn’t intentional with the last one, but for this one, I really wanted the sonics to be specific. Every track, from start to finish, has a consistent vibe even though each of them has its own thing going on – different feels, melodies, lyrics, all that. But somehow, they all just work together. I made a conscious effort to lean more towards pop this time, whereas the previous project leaned more towards R&B. The core of this project was aimed to be more pop-oriented.


Bounce: Clouds is said to be inspired by your experiences moving to Lagos and I hear it. On “Alone”, you mention meeting someone in Lekki. Many would say Lagos is a tough place to love and be loved. Still, your EP discusses this subject in a very gentle manner. Tell us more about this.


Kemuel: That part you’re talking about is Kemuel, basically. I like to always keep things soft and hopeful. But truly what Lagos did was instill in me the push to keep believing that everything is possible. Lagos really does something to you. It tells you to keep doing it. I feel like this project should be a tour guide for people coming to Lagos for the first time because you need to heed to everything on that project to be able to survive in Lagos: love, hustle, focus. I’m saying it here for the first time, but this EP is going to stand the test of time. I named it Clouds because clouds are always in the sky, whether it is raining, sunny, clouds are always there. This project is one that’s always going to be there for you when you need it.


Bounce: I noticed that the titles of some tracks are in all caps. Was that an intentional stylistic choice?


Kemuel: Everything’s intentional with me. I wanted to make some songs the ones where you have to LISTEN and others the ones where you need to FEEL something. That’s why they’re in caps, like “listen to what I’m saying!” The other songs are more about just feeling the vibe. You’ll still listen, of course, but for some, like “Water,” “Alone,” it’s more about the feeling. “POLO” is different, that one’s for listening — you gotta listen and learn about avoiding crazy women. Though let’s be real, you can’t completely avoid crazy women.


Bounce: Why not?


Kemuel: Personally, I feel like I have this thing that always attracts me to women that are gonna be trouble for me 


Bounce: So you also ‘love girls with trobul’?


Kemuel: I guess. I do. 


Bounce: Interesting. As a relative newcomer on a competitive scene that’s currently really popping, how do you make sure you’re taken seriously?


Kemuel: I try to stay honest and focused on the game. At the moment, the industry is saturated with so many artists and all of us are doing it really well, doing our best. But I want to stay honest with my music. I want to make sure it’s something I enjoy before I try to feed it to people because that’s very important for me. Everybody has their journey but mine is to make people safe with my music, no matter what. I feel like that’s gonna help me stay here longer.


Bounce: Clouds is a solo effort. What led you to decide to have just Kemuel on the project?


Kemuel: I’m heavy on collaborations, but I feel like people have not experienced me in my entirety yet. So I’m not that keen right now on sharing myself completely. If you’re coming to listen to Kemuel, come and listen to just Kemuel. That being said, there’s definitely some exciting collaborations coming down the pipeline. For instance I have a collaboration with someone everyone knows but I’m not going to say who yet. I’d like to keep that a mystery.


Bounce: We’ll soon find out.


Kemuel: Definitely.


Bounce: What’s next for Kemuel?


Kemuel: What’s next for Kemuel is just world domination. I’m coming for everything. I mean, everything is already mine but I just need to show the world. I have a lot of good music coming. I want people to always know that if they see my name on a record, it’s going to be good music. I’m never going to let bad music come out of the hard drive, only good shit.

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