Having made the move from Istanbul to London in order to follow in the footsteps of her musical idols, emerging pop artist Koza recently released her second, dreamy single ‘Hold My Breath’.
We caught up with Koza to find out about her journey so far…
Hi Koza, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about when you initially decided to start making music?
Hi, thank you for having me! My passion for music and writing goes a long way back. If I had to pinpoint a defining moment, I would say definitely my high school years when I first joined a band and performed on stage. It was the scariest moment of my life, but also the most amazing experience. I had already been writing songs, but there was something about being able to perform them and connect with an audience. That became the dream.
What inspired you to make the move from Istanbul to London in order to pursue a career in music?
After graduating from high school, I really didn’t know how to proceed to a career in music. All I knew then was that I wouldn’t be satisfied with doing gigs with function bands at weekends, or just singing covers. I wanted to write and sing my own songs, about things that mattered to me – I wanted to sing my own truths. I started writing in English, which came naturally to me because of all my influences growing up. This was part of the reason why I wanted to move to London, so I could explore music in a specific language. The music industry in Turkey didn’t have many established artists writing original songs, and nothing in English, so it didn’t make much sense to me. London, on the other hand, had everything that I was after; the writers, the venues and the culture which I had grown up listening to and loving. The decision to leave my studies in Istanbul and move to London was a tough one but I’m so glad I did it. It’s been tough trying to adapt to a new culture, but it’s helped me grow in ways which I would have never imagined.
Which bands or artists would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?
Growing up I found myself drawn to songs which gave me new perspectives on storytelling or song structure; I really loved Alanis Morissette for this reason. She is an amazing lyricist and her songs are so powerful in their vulnerability. Madonna is another big influence – I mean, I think we can all agree that she is one of the ultimate pop-stars. Then of course Kate Bush – she’s my number 1! I think she’s so eccentric, effortlessly cool and such a talented musician and poet. Her musical language is unique to her and that makes her an amazing artist. My other favourites growing up included Fleetwood Mac, Alicia Keys, Duman, Teoman, No Doubt, Prince, Depeche Mode and The Cure.
You recently released your dreamy second single, ‘Hold My Breath’. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the lyrics?
The inspiration was the feeling which I got every time that I thought I was maybe falling in love. I mean, maybe I did fall in love every time… “there are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” I don’t know if that makes sense, but every moment of love feels so magical. It’s like that feeling you get when you meet someone and think “maybe?”. These lyrics might be my rawest ones yet, I didn’t change them at all after I wrote them. They were written in a very authentic and joyous moment, and I wanted to write down that feeling and make a song which reflected that.
In ‘normal’ times, how is your local music scene? Do you have a favourite local venue?
I live in Notting Hill and yes, we have a small but very satisfying music scene. Notting Hill Arts Club has always been a favourite. Another place that’s been around for a couple of years now is Laylow, our cool neighbourhood hangout; it’s introduced me to many new artists.
Although it is rather difficult to be making plans at the moment, what are you hoping to have achieved by the end of 2020?
Like you mentioned, it’s a bit tricky right now! My plan was to release two more singles before the year ends. However, quarantine has been very fruitful for me and I am now considering finishing an EP in the same time frame. Either way, I will continue to release music and hopefully start doing live shows from late September. I am very excited to sing my new songs because they’re really special in a way that they will allow me to connect with more people than I ever have done before as an artist. It will hopefully lead to some collaborations with musicians/writers I have not yet had the chance to work with.
Thanks so much to Koza for answering our questions!
‘Hold My Breath’ is out now. Listen here: