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Making music less remote

In exclusive interviews with The Liberty, Aby Coulibaly, KhakiKid and Fatboy explain their experiences when making a breakthrough in the Irish music industry during and after Covid

The Irish music industry has surged lately with the long-awaited return of gigs. Meanwhile, though, it was possible for budding artists to gain knowledge of the industry’s ins and outs, and how social media can be utilised as a platform of artistic expression.  

The Liberty spoke to three artists who have had a lot of time to develop their craft over the last two years as a result of national lockdowns. With new music genres arising and upcoming artists diversifying, Ireland is for sure making its mark on the worldwide music industry.

Three of Dublin city’s most promising artists, Aby Coulibaly, KhakiKid, and Fatboy (speaking for the musical collective Bricknasty) explain their views on the Irish music industry’s development since their journeys began.  

As a mixed-race woman in Ireland, it’s so important, because a lot of Irish artists like Hozier, Niall Horan, and Picture This, are all white men representing Irish music that have gone worldwide and blown, but there’s so much more diversity underground ⁠⁠⁠— which is exciting because for me representation is everything.

ABY COULIBALY

Aby Coulibaly is a singer-songwriter with a unique sound – a fusion of neo-soul and R&B. Coulibaly combines her smooth singing voice and refreshing rap flows to curate her own individual sound. The Chamomile records artist played her first solo headline show in Dublin’s Sound House venue on April 21st.  

Pictured: Aby Coulibaly, Photography: Eoghan Fay 

KhakiKid is a rapper whose wordplay and acentric flow engage both his “remote listeners and in person audiences”. His funky instrumentals and concepts is what he believes make him stand out in the Irish scene. KhakiKid´s music videos are a fun construction of music and light-hearted comedy.  

Pictured: KhakiKid, Photography: @fnati.c.ph on Instagram 

Bricknasty is a music group with explosive sounds that seem to captivate their listeners. Drawing from soulful icons like D´Angelo and Neyo, they have put an Irish spin on R&B as we know it. Bricknasty are not only a group sound, but performers in the band include the solo performers Tomike, Maverick Sabre, KhakiKid, F3miii and Decarterer. Their mix of influences and originally groovy sounds leave you wanting more at the end of every track.  

Pictured: Bricknasty Photography: @weepywoopy on Instagram  

Five years ago, were you listening to Irish music? If so, how has it changed? 

Coulibaly: Five years ago, the only Irish music I would listen to was on the radio, I didn’t even know there was a scene. Since then, the change is there’s a music scene that all support each other. 

Khakikid: Hare Squead and Jafaris were probably the only exposure I had to Irish music – I was listening to those guys before I even started making my own music.  The internet has been a big part in the growth of the scene due to accessibility and people learning to do things independently.  

Bricknasty: I was ignorant to Irish music 5 years ago, I was 15 and only listened to 50 cent. I only really started listening when I started playing in the band, except Hozier and Maverick Sabre.  

How important is representation to you as a woman of colour in the Irish music scene? 

Coulibaly: As a mixed-race woman in Ireland, it’s so important, because a lot of Irish artists like Hozier, Niall Horan, and Picture This, are all white men representing Irish music that have gone worldwide and blown, but there’s so much more diversity underground ⁠⁠⁠— which is exciting because for me representation is everything. Growing up I didn’t have a black or mixed-race Irish woman to look up to other than like, Samantha Mumba, which may have even been the generation before me. 

Khakikid: I never consumed much Irish media growing up so representation wouldn’t have been something I really thought about. It would’ve been hard to find someone to represent me too to be honest ⁠— Irish and Arab mix. I feel like if I were to represent anything it would be kids that struggle with their identity and if I was able to inspire anyone that would be amazing.  

Is Ireland an easy place to release music?  

Bricknasty: It’s a mixed bag, isn’t it? When you get a good roll going it feels good, but I’d say the UK are doing a better job of it.  

Who around you are influencing the Irish scene, and what do you have coming up?  

Coulibaly: Obviously I would say Monjola, F3miii, TraviS, Cian Kavanagh, Éfe, Negro Impacto, there’s loads I just can’t think of all of them right now. I’m really excited for 2022, I’m just trying to be consistent and release an EP hopefully before Summer which I’m working on right now.  

KhakiKid: I have a project coming up which will dive deeper into this obscure world I’m trying to build, where everything’s just kind of a bit ridiculous, I’m excited about it.  

The artists are currently working on their own individual productions and will continue to make their mark on the industry this year.

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