“I’m always everywhere, always mingling” - Sheffield’s J. Kas on music, growth, inner peace and Lisbon
“We’ll never get this type of peace again” muses J. Kas, as he looks wistfully out of the window. Like many of us, J. Kas not only loved the calm that enshrouded the city during the first lockdown, he embraced it.
There are moments where things just become so overbearing that an escape from everything is needed, just to take a moment to reflect. This is exactly what J. Kas did, not only in lockdown but also a decade ago — when he took a sabbatical from music and life in general. He left the city he holds so dear, heading to Cyprus to find himself, he spent time working the land, farming, speaking to new people, “sometimes we need to take a break to empty our minds”, and for J. Kas this marked a much-needed change in perspective and outlook on life.
J. Kas is a name frequently being played on many radio stations at the moment, and honestly, it’s long overdue for the Sheffield man who was born in Meersbrook, grew up in Firth Park and to this day remains firmly within the city limits. He’s grown into a man who’s had a part to play in multiple musical projects and groups over the years. Yet still he’s remained as approachable, ever-present, enthusiastic, and continually evolving musically and spiritually.
“So… why did you choose the name Chula? I ask, “Chula stands for hot girl, a cute, beautiful girl. It’s a feel-good album”, he laughs as he gives the reason for the naming of his latest album.
“The funny thing is for the track Tun Tun, the beat… was called ‘Chula’, that’s what the producer called it. And I quite liked that, but I didn’t feel that I could call the song that. So we kept the name and instead I named the project that.” And so Chula was born.
A positive and feel-good album, comprising of Hip-Hop, Afrobeat, Dancehall and even Grime elements, but without deigning to pigeonhole J. Kas as an artist, these are merely all ingredients that effortlessly blend together, an aural embodiment of his personality, if you will.
Over the last two decades, he’s been a devout mainstay within the city’s musical scene. Collaborating with many artists - both established and upcoming - over the years. His friendship circle, just like his musical tastes, is broad-ranging, eclectic, yet always inclusive. His openness, infectious laughter and chilled demeanour seamlessly manifests itself within his music, particularly his latest project. “Be yourself, enjoy life, find who you are, and engage in good responsible fun” he says.
With a background in performance that stretches all the way back to childhood where he and his younger sister used to collaborate with and compete against one another in dance and singing competitions. He’s since taken his vocal talents onto local, national and even international stages. Back in 2016 the Yorkshire wordsmith peppered the stage with a dextrous wit that effortlessly lit up the BBC Music Introducing stage at Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival. He’s also spent a fair bit of time in Europe, in particular Portugal… a place he holds in a special place in his heart. Resulting in multiple references to the sugary soft-drink, Fanta, in his lyrics and even its own song, Fanta (What’s Your Flavour?) — thankfully it’s not a remix of the Craig David song. But a fun, sweet, homage all of its own.
The European Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Kash Ali, recently entered the ring with J. Kas’ alongside him rapping the energetic anthem Bun Dem, shortly before winning his title, in style, Kash Ali that is… J. Kas on the other hand delivers a different punch — as Chula’s well-crafted production thuds, thumps and hits, differently, all without ever being overawing nor tiring in its bravado. Chula is about encapsulating a moment and delivering it with an artistic aplomb, all while being nice with it.
“It’s just me doing myself for once, on my guy next door type of vibe, everybody is always asking me why I’m always with girls and it’s nothing insincere, it’s just me being me, ladies seem to be drawn to my energy. But let me be clear, it’s not like I’m approaching them in a malicious way. We just have a respectful and friendly conversation, that’s it”, good vibes, positivity alongside a friendly demeanour is something that is part of his personality. It always has been.
And in a world that’s swiftly changing, yet rife with so much uncertainty, frustration and unknowns… perhaps we need the words of Sheffield’s very own J. Kas to ride this out. In this case, maybe the brilliance is surely encapsulated in his resilience. Obrigado indeed.
Chula is out now on Amazon Music, Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify.
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