Deaf hip-hop artist, Signkid, recently released his new and first EP ‘Music is the Message.’
For a while, Signkid has made his own music and created videos with British Sign Language (BSL). One of his videos, ‘Newflash’ was nominated for Best Artistic Short Film by Deaffest.
We had a chance to ask him questions about what went into making his new EP and his thoughts on being a deaf hip-hop artist.
Music is the Message
Kirsten: How long have you been working on this EP?
Kevin: I have been working on this EP since October 2015. During the following month in November 2015, one of the most popular nightclubs, Fabric, invited Deaf Rave, deaf artists and myself to perform on stage. I wasn’t prepared, couldn’t turn them down. I was very excited, like a kid playing with balloons. This was my first time performing as a solo artist and was a great experience. My work on this EP stretched from October 2015 to September 2017. I was going to release my EP last year but felt it was not the right time and a bit rushed. I got nominated for the best artistic award from Deaffest last May 2017 and thought this year is the perfect time to release my EP.
Kirsten: What was the inspiration behind the EP?
Kevin: I am not sure which artists inspired me for my EP. When I see problems in the world, I get my soul and mind together to make my own beats, rhymes and signsong about what is happening in the world. I did not realise that the song called Newsflash is a bit similar to William Shakespeare, who wrote his poem about Romeo and Juliet to make love, not war. I now feel inspired by William Shakespeare’s work.
Kirsten: What is the main message that you want listeners to gain from your music?
Kevin: I am here to make good music and to spread the message to people who need to understand all about deaf culture because there is a lot of deaf talent out there. Not just deaf musicians, but deaf dancers, deaf actors, deaf comedians etc. A lot of deaf people quote, “Deaf people can do anything except hear”. This is very true.
Kirsten: Do you think that the music industry is becoming more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people?
Kevin: No I don’t think so. They are very slow. They provide only a few interpreted and captioned shows. Hearing people sing cover songs then they get signed to a contract. But deaf people use signsong to cover songs, but they don’t get signed to contracts from any record companies. Deaf people are still facing barriers, not just music but in employment too. I still love what I am doing even if I’m an unsigned artist performing independently. However, I think we need more deaf awareness to educate the music industry about deaf music. Deaf artists can make music like, for example, Beethoven. He is still a very popular deaf artist today.
Kirsten: Do you have a favorite song on this EP?
Kevin: Yes, my favourite song is ‘Feel The Beat’ I like the beats and lyrics. It is very clear, simple, positive and creative. It is not negative. I love this whole song. I feel very comfortable with this track.
Kirsten: What do you plan to do next?
Kevin: My plan is to continue performing on stage at festivals. To promote my EP. It is very important to be recognised as an artist. I can’t say anymore, as you will be surprised. You will see very soon.
You can stream or buy his EP here. See the lyrics to his songs here. Be sure to follow him on Instagram @signkidgram and subscribe to his YouTube channel to keep up with all his music!