Introducing Interview: Koza

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:


 

Track Of The Day: Foxgluvv – ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’

A sparkling, sultry tune inspired by the 1985 film of the same name: fabulous “hungover-pop” artist Foxgluvv has shared her latest single ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’. It’s the first song to be released from her upcoming debut EP I Never Felt Hollywood, which is set to be released later this year.

As a DIY artist who champions queer music, it’s no surprise that Foxgluvv self-directed the accompanying video to ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’. Speaking about her new track, Foxgluvv explains: “[It] represents the love and admiration I so desperately wanted growing up, as most teenagers can relate to. Being queer, I never saw my ideal relationship portrayed on TV or in films. I was left with a sense of longing and intrigue towards my sexuality and I found myself questioning whether or not I would ever be in a happy, fulfilling relationship. I wanted to write a song that managed to grasp those feelings of uncertainty underneath, whilst masquerading as a typical love song on the first listen”.

Along with Producer Scott Colcombe, Foxgluvv crafts lo-fi, but sensational electronic pop tunes that are memorable for their catchy beats and their emotional content. ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ is another example of her natural ability to create intriguing and entertaining music that navigates the difficulty of queer relationships, and her longing for love whilst coming to terms with her true identity.

Listen to ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ below and follow Foxgluvv on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears w/ Luna Neptune 16.08.18

Kate returned to the studio this week, armed with plenty of new music from the likes of Ghum; Basement Revolver, LOW, Skating Polly & Ellie Bleach. She opened the show with a tribute to the late, great ‘Queen Of Soul’ Aretha Franklin too.

Luna Neptune also came in to chat about her recent EP Next Automated Wave, and for a live performance.

Listen back to the show here:

@getinherears
@KCBobCut
@LunaNeptuneBand

PLAYLIST: Pride 2018

Pride. What is Pride?  

Pride is a day to celebrate but it’s also a day to remember. Remember the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, the Stonewall riots of 1969. Remember the first official Pride in London in 1972 and remember it increasing in size during the ’80s to protest Section 28. Remember the first European Trans Pride in Brighton in 2014, and last year Sadiq Khan being the first London Mayor to lead the Pride parade.

Here in the UK we have come so far as a society but still on the streets of London I am shouted at when I kiss my girlfriend. LGBTQ+ people should not be victimised, they should not be judged, they should not be isolated. People should be free to live without fear of judgment or discrimination. LGBTQ+ people should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality or gender identity.

Throughout the years so many people have stood up for LGBTQ+ rights and achieved so much in the name of equality and this should be celebrated.

So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone.

Here at GIHE we are supporting Pride Month and will be out supporting Pride in London on 7th July, and because we think everything deserves a soundtrack, here is ours for Pride Month and for all of you, whichever Pride you are supporting across the world.

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Their self-titled album released in 2008 was without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (Tash Walker)

J.D.Samson / MEN – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free
As part of my favourite trio Le Tigre, and later MEN, LGBTQ+ activist J.D.Samson holds a pretty special place in my heart. Last year I had the honour of being able to dance the night away to tunes that she hand-picked at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival. It was a blissfully euphoric experience filled with an immense joy and sense of unity, proving that it’s more important than ever to make time to come together, dance, love, and be united against those who seek to divide us. (Mari Lane)

Peaches – ‘I U She’
Throughout history many people who are bisexual have been criticised by both the LGBTQ+ communities and the non-LGBTQ+ communities. I don’t think people realise how ingrained biphobia is within our society, which makes songs like ‘I U She’ soooo powerful and sooo important. (TW)

Fever Ray – ‘To The Moon and Back’
After seeing Fever Ray live at The Troxy this year – which was breath-taking – the memory of her fans joyfully echoing her explicit lyrics on this track still makes me smile. (Kate Crudgington)

Mykki Blacno – ‘Loner’ 
Rapper and queer pioneer Mykki Blanco delivers powerfully honest and thought-provoking social commentaries with a ferocious, fun-filled spirit. Seeing them live at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival last year was like witnessing a colourful whirlwind, a beautifully buoyant ray of light. (ML)

Janelle Monae (feat Grimes) – ‘Pynk’
A perfect pop song from Janelle Monae – who spoke about her pansexuality in a recent Rolling Stone interview – which champions female pleasure. What’s not to like? (KC)

Shamir – ‘On The Regular’ 
The frenzied joy of Shamir’s ‘On The Regular’ is a must-have for any celebration, particularly one for Pride. His uptempo, playful pop puts a smile on my face without fail, and a hug from him at Visions Festival a few years ago was a definite life highlight. (ML)

King Princess – ‘1950’
The latest generation of LGBTQ+ people continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity. King Princess’ ‘1950’ is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.(TW)

St Vincent – ‘Birth In Reverse’
A believer in gender fluidity, Annie Clark seems incapable of creating a song that isn’t completely wonderful. A particular favourite of mine, ‘Birth In Reverse’ is a vibrant example of her ability to make even the most mundane of subjects utterly intoxicating. (ML)

Partner – ‘Woman Of Dreams’ 
Canadian duo Partner are queens of jangly guitar fuzz, sparkling harmonies and witty lyrics. Seeing them live at The Victoria (with Suggested Friends and Charmpit) recently was a night of pure queer-pop perfection. (ML)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBT rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed challenges prejudice through her music. Her video for ‘Pandora’ is another superb example of this. (KC)

Suggested Friends – ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Horcrux For Your Soul’
I just can’t get enough of the perfect, immensely infectious ‘tweemo’ punk-pop of Suggested Friends. Filled with racing, catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, Faith Taylor’s witty charm and exquisite vocals fill me with joy on each listen. (ML)

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
A personal choice for me, this song made me feel a lot less isolated when I was growing up, not quite knowing who I was or where I fitted in. (TW)

Dream Nails – ‘Bully Girl’ 
An uplifting queer anthem from our favourite Punk Witches. Yet another sparkling creation from the formidable force that is Dream Nails. (ML)

Gossip – ‘Where The Girls Are’ 
Beth Ditto, what a legend. (TW)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Dig Me Out’
Sleater Kinney’s third album Dig Me Out is filled with explosive emotion. Following the break up of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (and Brownstein then being famously outed by Spin Magazine), it’s a defiant and important collection – with anger and frustration used to fuel something wonderful. A necessary and motivating listen. (ML)

Madonna – ‘Vogue’
Inspired by the iconic Paris Is Burning documentary and recorded at the height of America’s AIDS crisis, this song has become an essential to any LGBTQ+ playlist. (TW)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’ 
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, Smalltown Boy is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. (TW)

Princess Nokia – ‘Tomboy’ 
A feel-good body image anthem and general all-round banger, Princess Nokia’s ‘Tomboy’ asserts that we should be proud of our bodies (“my little titties and my fat belly”) whatever shape they may be. A snarling ode to her small frame and ‘masculine’ ways, it’s a perfect celebratory playlist must-have. (ML)

Kim Ann Foxman – ‘Creature’
Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBT+ women in music, so when I discovered Kim Ann Foxman who was so confident in her sexuality, it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. (TW)

Ultra Nate – ‘Free’
This song’s chorus speaks for itself, “Cause you’re free to do what you want to do / You’ve go to live your life / Do what you want to do.” (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Queen’
I don’t really have the words to describe my love of Perfume Genius. The first time I saw the video for ‘Queen’ it broke me. Filled with the emotion-filled power of Mike Hadreas’ heartbreaking vocals alongside luscious pop melodies, it’s a song inspired by “gay panic”, and the power one can derive from knowing their mere being is making everyone around them extremely uncomfortable. A powerfully poignant offering from this unique and truly beautiful artist. (ML)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ 
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning. With the immense passion of Anohni’s distinctive, soulful vocals, ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ is a simply exquisite creation. (ML)

Listen to our ‘Pride 2018’ playlist here:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss issues around sexuality and/or gender identity Switchboard – the LGBT+ Helpine is available to listen and support.

You can contact Switchboard via the telephone, instant messenger and email.

Open from 10am to 10pm, 365 days a year.

0300 330 0630

 

Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor
Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut