Since the release of his stunning April 2017 EP, Doves and Ravens, and follow-up single ‘Moments Passed’ – which received a visual assist from Nabil (Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, James Blake) – Kennedy has shot to over 80m plays on streaming platforms, been hailed as a “big, beautiful and bold” new voice by Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, won praise from everyone from TIME Magazine to Wonderland. He’s also supported Lana Del Rey and worked his way on the radar of rap super producer Mike Dean, best known for his work with Kanye West and Travis Scott, with whom he’s currently cooking up a mixtape.
With new music set for release in early 2018 and bigger, better live shows around the corner, momentum is building quickly behind Kennedy. “Having spent a lot of time in the acoustic world, it felt really good to do something new and push myself out of my comfort zone on these recent tracks,” he says of his increasing electronic experimentation. “I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t chase that, if I just did what came easy to me.”
Just don’t expect him to abandon his roots entirely. “I don’t want to go too far. The trick is to be able to strip a song of all its production and for it to still tell a good story that makes you feel something. Certain things run through all sorts of music that appeal to me, whether that’s a hip-hop artist or a singer-songwriter: honesty and a good story.”