Featured Photo Credit: The Vtmns
Throughout his childhood, singer, songwriter and producer Kentö was introduced to all types of music. After years of discovery and a pop/punk project, he started to define what he sounds like.
Over almost a decade, Kentö has been uncovering more of himself. As a member of the LGBTQI+ community, an individual on the autism spectrum, and a cancer survivor, the NY based artist shares a distinct set of life experiences in his poetic storytelling.
Kentö recently found relatability and inspiration in figure skater Adam Rippon who is “unafraid to be so visibly himself.” The result is his latest single, “Silhouette,” an anthem for “freedom and self-love.” The chorus captures this sentiment with the emotional line, “make it good, make it last, so they’ll never forget your silhouette.”
Kentö plans to reveal more of his narrative and positivity on his upcoming album, ‘Strangers,’ later this year.
We chatted with Kentö about the single, the album, and his unique visual writing process.
What inspired your new single “Silhouette”?
“Silhouette” started out as an idea I had a few years ago that stayed in my head for a while before I decided to really start writing it. It’s about knowing who you are, and not apologising for it.
What was the writing process like?
It was a bit different than your traditional writers room or studio situation because it was written and recorded entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown with my co-writer and friend Bec Hollcraft.
Do you have a favorite lyric from the song, and if so, why?
I would have to say, ‘they need a complication, a new constellation,’ would be my favourite lyric in the song, partly because it’s quite bonkers/random, but also because it just means how people sometimes find drama and negativity to be exciting or desirable to them, and I find that kind of strange and a waste of energy.
As the director of the music video, what was it like translating the empowering message of the song into a visual form?
My writing process is a bit unconventional — I think, because I am just as much of a visual artist as a recording artist. Half-way through writing this song (like a lot of other songs), I started to visualise the shape of the words and what the song looks like rather than just sounds like, which helped some of the lyrics also form. I started to see a stage with people all around me… looking into an empty theatre with only myself staring back at me… light bulbs and light flickers… smoke.. projectors, etc.. and when it came to the video, I had to make all of these things happen.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “Silhouette,” what do you imagine it looking like?
Headphones on — and walking to the beat of the song down the street on the way to people you love, or to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but were too afraid to. Walking along like you are the star of your very own music video.
You’ve been creating music for the past 8 years. How has your music evolved since your debut EP ‘Complicated’ in 2013?
In 2013, I had just come out of a pop/punk project in Japan that left me kind of questioning who I was as an artist and I needed to find the answers. I think back then I had a strong idea of who I was, but I hadn’t refined that completely yet, and I needed more life experience to really connect with that. Now in 2021, I approach music in a way that makes sense to me and know how to make the sound I want possible. I’m more focused on making music that is honest rather than music that sounds like what other people are making.
You’ve overcome a lot in your life including beating cancer five years ago. How have those experiences shaped your music?
I think they have in a way. I have definitely written about those experiences, but the biggest way I think is that it forced me to take a break from everything and really evaluate my life and what kind of artist I wanted to be. I also know how quickly things can happen and then go away, so I’m just really grateful for every opportunity I am getting.
You’re currently at work on your album, ‘Strangers.’ What can fans expect from that?
For this album, I wanted to make music that reminded me of why I started making music in the first place. There are some definite pop bops on this album, ballads, and a few experimental pieces. It all kind of flows together as one body of work and I’m really excited to share it with the world.
What can fans look forward to next?
Over the next few months, there will be a few more singles with music videos coming, and then, of course, an album to follow. We are putting the final touches on the album at the moment and I’m brainstorming all kinds of ideas and new ways to get it all out there.
How do you hope people feel when they listen to your music?
Each song has a different vibe, subject matter or visual identity. I hope that when people hear it, they feel a connection… a level of understanding, and that they can close their eyes and visualise the songs as much as I do. I intended for this album to be ‘music that you can see.’
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
“Wherever you go, there you are.”