Kinsy Ray, here is a great meeting ! As I like them, unexepected, full, surprising, which make you wanted to smile just thinking to it (again). I was in line 6, on my seat, a book open in front of my eyes. And as it often happens, a singer starts bothering this quiet moment between my book and me. But this time, it was pleasant ! And this is not often the case. A warm and soft voice, which lives its words and its music, a singer, a musician who shares.While everybody is preparing his little coin or money, I take ma card, look for a pen, in vain. I look more and find one, finally !
Just the time to write « call me for an interview », and I put THE card in the hand of the future interviewed… Two calls and three text messages later, we meet the week after in a café at Saint-Lazare.
MissaParis : Good evening Kinsy. First of all could you speak a little about you ?
Kinsy Ray : I am an « old singer », born in Sierra Leone, I don’t know when exactly. I left when I was nearly 18, then went around for 3 years before arriving in Paris. Ans it has 17 years now. Today I am a Parisian, I learnt French at school, and my brother had even studied here and taught French in Africa.
MissaParis : Kinsy the Parisian, it starts quite well for an interview on a blog dedicated to Paris and to Parisian meetings ! But let’s talk about Kinsy the singer…
Kinsy Ray : I have sung since the age of two ! I have never learnt music, for me that is do-it-yoursel. When I was a child, I started to compose, even without knowing I was composing ! I was imitating all the instruments, I was capturing things better than anyone . That was my own thing and I bothered a lot of people ! I improved some of those songs since… For the guitar I started when I was 18.
MissaParis : Kinsy, when did you decide to make the music a job ?
Kinsy Ray : One day I payed a studio to record some songs, it was the first time I heard my voice, it was mystical ! I didn’t have enough money to finish the recording and the studio accepted to co-product, but finally I refused because I wanted to do something better ! Today I don’t regret anything ! I composed a lot of good songs, and I am in a good health !
MissaParis : Tell us about your inspirations…
Kinsy Ray : The first singer who touched me is Isaac Hayes and his song “Shaft” is mystical for me ! It was as if I was his reincarnation ! There was Bob Marley too…
MissaParis : What is your favourite song from him ?
Kinsy Ray (he is thinking) : Today that is “No woman no cry”. It is the song I have kept in my repertoire and that I still sing today. And a lot of African songs are also sources of inspiration…
MissaParis : When we listen to you singing and playing, this is soul, reggae… mais we don’t know how to really define your style. How can you define your music ?
Kinsy Ray : This is H-beat. H, this is for Humanity, Head, Heart, Hand. I am the only singer who sings humanity today ! I created this buzz ! My next album is the one which will mark the H-beat on ! It will be the brutest possible, acoustic, with a guitar. I want to go to Africa to do it, it will be more original, not as straight as it is in France or in the United-States. I want an old and ugly album, without any cut, a brut thing but which has some value, not to be similar to what the others do. (Kinsy has already turned an album out under his real name, Omar Thiam, and which is entitled “Nasso”, which means “this is how it is”. He even sings a duo with Youssou N’Dour! His stage name, Kinsy Ray, comes from the sun rays which touch every one ! )
MissaParis : After Kinsy the Parisian, Kinsy the singer… Kinsy the music fan : which concert would you like to attend ?
Kinsy Ray : Steevie Wonder, Otis Reeding, Gainsbourg, Ray Charles, Bob Marley… but they all are dead ! Mylène Farmer, that is not my style and she is even not in the media a lot, but the thing is here !
MissaParis : What about Ben L’Oncle Soul ?
Kinsy Ray : I don’t like him at all ! This is like a bad version of Otis Redding, and in the French version. I prefer songs which have weight, which make you travelled ! Such as Daniel Balavoine’s for instance. Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald… that is enormous ! But I do want my songs to be a payer for everyone. “Roses” deals with human race, stopping the crimes, being soft…
MissaParis : That is what Laurent Voulzy songs in “Le pouvoir des fleurs”(the flower power)… (I look for the lyrics on Google and read them to him). “Change the world, change the things with bouquets of roses, change the women, change the men with geraniums…” (« Changer le monde, changer les choses avec des bouquets de roses, changer les femmes, changer les hommes avec des géraniums… »)
Kinsy Ray : This is a pretty text in French, this is a little pinky, but I prefer doing brut things !
MissaParis : You feel Parisian and you sing in English in the subway. Isn’t it too paradoxal ?
Kinsy Ray : Yes I sing in English because it’s an universal language and I sing in Paris. People listen to me, enjoy and have sometimes no doubt that I am the author of the songs ! I feel good in Paris, I feel home !
MissaParis : A last message to MissaParis’ readers ?
Kinsy Ray : You must believe in destiny in humanity, there is everything in : the way of eating, respecting the others, you must believe in you, be strong and not lower your arms !
One hour and a half and two teas later, I leave Kinsy, guitar on his back, a last goodby in the subway, a wave and a big smile. A very good moment spent with very good person and a singer I can’t wait for hearing again in the subway, but particularly – hopefully soon ! – on the air…