An Introduction To Scottish Singer-Songwriter Kohla

As she rehearses for her upcoming sold out gig, we had the opportunity to chat to up and coming Scottish singer-songwriter and dancer Kohla after covering her captivating new single “_Gorgeous” last week. Although still unknown to most, she has been praised and featured on BBC Introducing, BBC Radio Scotland, Obscure Sound, Stereofox, Acid Stag and many more. She creates alternative R&B inspired by the likes of Banks, James Blake and FKA Twigs, however she blends it with electronic music with a little hint of alternative pop somewhere in between.

Hey Kohla! How are you doing?

Hello! I’m good thank you – ridiculously busy, but very happy. I’m in the middle of releasing music, recording in studio and rehearsing for my sold out debut show right now!

Tell us more about your name Kohla.

The idea for Kohla came from charcoal. I wanted a word that related to the music; dark, monochromatic and smokey. I wanted it to be memorable, snappy and original, and from a release point of view it was important that no-one else had the name on Spotify etc!

That sounds cool and interesting! What’s the music scene like where you’re based?

I’m from Edinburgh, and most of the Scottish music scene is made up of indie-rock music. However, it kind of plays to my advantage as my ‘genre’ is a bit different. There’s also a strong network of females in our scene who all look out for each other – EMIAH, Lilura, Anna Sweeney, Tamzene, Siights, L-Space and Shears to name a few. We make an effort to promote each other and go to each others gigs; I think its the strongest the Scottish music scene has been in a long time!

Sounds amazing. Your music combines so many genres well, how would you describe it to a stranger?

If someone I don’t know asks me about my music I normally say ‘R&B’ or ‘The Weeknd’, as I wouldn’t know what they listened to. But I’m actually very eclectic with music, and fundamentally I would say that I’m a jazz artist. Everything starts off on piano for me, and I just play around with woozy melodies and vocal runs. I predominately listen to hip hop/alternative R&B, so production-wise thats where all the dramatic FKA Twigs beats start kicking in.

Let’s talk about your new single “_Gorgeous” — talk us through the creative process.

I spent this summer listening to a lot of 90’s trip hop – Moby, Massive Attack, Tricky – so I guess that’s where the vibe of the song began. I remember before I wrote it I was listening to PYNK by Janelle Monae and Grimes, so that kind of inspired the chill melodies and body-posi lyrics. I made a demo on Logic and sent it over to my producer (Lost Oscillation) – I was surprised he liked it because it was a bit different to the past releases. I was playing about with strings, xylophones and djembes. We finished it in studio within a couple of hours.

Yes, I get the Massive Attack vibe now! What was the inspiration behind the single?

I wanted to make a track that contrasted to my other 3 singles, which have all been pretty moody, and instead try out a new perspective. I think 2019 has been a really great year for women in art, so the track kind of reflects this new wave of feminism and body positivity. 

You did that so well, and I couldn’t agree more with you. Do you plan to release any visuals for the single?

We actually shot a music video back in summer with my backing dancers but it’s still in post production right now! I’ll hopefully get it back soon.

Nice. “Gorgeous” is your fourth single, what can we expect in 2020? A project, more singles?

I don’t stop working so there will definitely be new music coming next year – I’m in studio next week finishing a track! But yes it all depends on quality for me – I’ll only post my best work. I think we are going to do some more live shows too, as there was such a demand for the debut.

Amazing! If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

I’d really love to collaborate with Dave from Glass Animals – his production is so inventive and I love the storytelling in his songs, particularly Hazey and Take A Slice.

Why should people listen to Kohla?

It’s a mix of experimental and retro r&b, with fine art and performance art mixed in. 

Connect with Kohla




Ellysse Mason — Cry Baby