Kosmo Kint knows how the music industry works. From false promises to big dreams, he has seen first-hand the gears of a sector that has connected him even more with reality, pursuing concrete goals and building an honest relationship with his audience. Now the artist originally from New York and based in Berlin is releasing his debut LP, Groove Religion, the project in which he has given his greatest realism to date. In the conversation you can read below, we talk about the collaborations we find in this latest release, the most important lessons he’s learned throughout his professional career and his plans for the future, including going on stage at the Lightning In A Bottle festival followed by Melt Festival.
You're releasing your vibrant debut LP, Groove Religion, so it's definitely an important day in your life and career. How do you feel? Have you been waiting for this moment for a long time?
To be honest, which I usually brutally am, I’m kind of more like… ok, let’s see. Remember I’m from NYC, so I’m a tad jaded. Also, I’ve been involved as a songwriter for so long and heard so many promises, like “This is going to be on the radio,” or “This is going to get you an award” or whatever. I’m blessed I can make music in this incarnation, so it's nice it’s out. Hopefully, I can find a booker now because I think I’m a better performer than anything else, but yeah, I feel normal. (Laughs).
Bringing together the musical heritage of New York and Berlin, your lyrics throughout are penned with positive intent. What would you like people to feel when they listen to your new release for the first time?
I want them to feel comforted by a lesson I’m describing, or feel like, “Woah, that’s facts.” At the end of the day, we all go through the same things, ups and downs, all around. I just wanna bring comfort, realness, and vibes all with some dance energy.
As we anticipated at the beginning, this is your debut LP. What has this format allowed you compared to the single releases or EPs?
Besides like three other singles, I’d say this is truly, truly me. Before I was writing more to fit with a producer somehow, but as I’ve really searched for the right people to work with and brought them back to Kapote and Toy Tonics for a family collaboration, I feel like I’m giving my most realness here
If we go back to your beginnings in music, we must look back to your childhood when you were put into Boston's New England Conservatory of Music and trained as an opera singer from ages 9 to 21. How do you remember this stage in your life?
I remember it being like “damn, I’m mad good at this classical thing,” but I’m not trying to recite songs from 100 years ago for the rest of my life, I’m trying to create music and tell my story musically.
You have performed many times in Elton John’s choir, haven't you?
Around seven times at Radio City. I was young but that was so dope!
You were also able to learn more about the fascinating world of music thanks to your aunt's partner Charles Farrar, a Grammy-award-winning producer/songwriter. What advice did he give you that you will never forget?
He told me one thing that scared me and one thing that benefitted me. The beneficial part first was, “learn how to write songs fast.” I get it, he’s coming from Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey's era into modern music times, so the thing that was changing was speed. Everything was picking up, like write quickly and let’s make another vibe. The scary thing he told me when I was around 11 was like you need to get a deal before 23-26 or it’s a wrap. That played with my head, I felt like the older I got, the less time I had to make it. Thankfully, that wasn’t entirely true because when it’s your time, it’s your time.
Could you tell us about the various deft producers who have collaborated on your new release, Groove Religion?
Sure, the songs were all refined by Kapote, the founder of Toy Tonics, but before the polishing, producers Ben Badaboom and Woz 301 did like two of my favourites – the album title track and Happy Ever After. If you listen to the instrumentals, it’s so lush and just a vibe. I met them on Instagram. Then the tracks Good Thangs and Invincible were by my label mate who’s an amazing human, Sam Ruffilo. Then we got the golden child himself, the son of French legend Cerrone, Greg Cerrone, he made Too Big and Fake Love. Both have this warm pop, funk vibes which I love. Then there’s the genius German producer Zac Tannenbaum with The Formula and Magic. He and his partner Jonas Shandell collab on Magic and then Zac and I finished Magic in just two hours, post a long flight back to Berlin. In both scenarios, the sessions were fun as fuck. Zac’s a great dude. Like the others, they’re all great! I want to collaborate more with women and more producers that are people of colour, hopefully on the next one!
If you had to say which is the most important distinctive feature of your musical project, which would you choose?
It would be either Magic because it’s definitely more poppy or Happy Ever After because I’m basically Draking or talk rapping the entire song, which is also out of the norm for me.
And the song that has taken the most work of the entire LP that you’re now presenting?
Invincible because it'd been changed so much.
Tell us more about the music and creative scene in Berlin, the city where you’ve been living for many years. Are there many interesting projects emerging? Would you like to recommend us any artists?
Berlin is lit. Think freedom and expression, and I get Berlin. The most support I got during Covid was in Berlin, they just appreciate art and they protect it so much. Artists are the athletes of God. I know Einstein said ‘dancers’ but I think all artists, and we are all here in Berlin. It’s affordable and everyone has a bassline of music in their foundation.
Will we see you performing live in the next months?
I’ve just done two back-to-backs in Germany. I’m writing from Los Angeles now, I'm going to support my brother, DJ Améné, and do some live vocals at the festival Lightning In A Bottle, followed by Melt Festival. Then I need to find a booker that likes the vibe and knows where to place Kosmo! Shoutout to all the beautiful people that stream and buy the album. Shout out to all the dope producers I was privileged to work with, shout out my label right now Toy Tonics, and thanks to everyone and everything, including myself and God!