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September 2016. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Kent Smoke - Courtesy of Kent Smoke.


Award winning singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Kent Smoke has been busy in the music industry for a while. Currently the guitarist in Lira's band, Kent has not only seen the world but has been busy perfecting his own style as well. I met Kent for coffee to talk about how he got started, his singles on the radio and what else lies in store for this multi-talented musician.

First of all, tell me a little about yourself?

Kent Smoke: My story is that I've been playing with Lira since 2011, it's such an amazing story because it starts even further than that. But to get a starting point, joining Lira is like what kind of mind frame that I'm in at the moment. And it's only grown every single year so being with her first of all was like a dream come true.

I was somebody from Durban, looking at the music industry thinking wow, that's so far to reach out there, but there was something that I loved about it and I've always loved music. So coming from Durban, watching all of this on TV, it's a big accomplishment to actually be now in it and be on the same stage as I watched on TV.



“...The more you create, the more creative you become...” - Kent Smoke

You've got a really cool single out at the moment, tell us about that?

Kent Smoke: Follow is a track that I did with an artist by the name of Yves. She's from the Eastern Cape. She has a track that was remixed by a DJ Mono T called Bayeza, it's quite a big song.

We met because we did a track for a TV program on SABC. A friend of mine gets a lot of enquiries for those kinds of things so he called me to do guitars and she did the voice. We hadn't met while recording and we actually only met when the program itself asked for an interview with the people who created the song. So when we did finally meet we were like okay, let's try and get into the studio and let's see what we can do.

Part of the challenge of what I needed to go through to be where I am now is that I had to be independant. I had to figure out a way of plugging myself to radio. It was a bit tough because the plugging side of things are really crazy, it can get very crazy. To get yourself on the radio, there's a whole lot of politics around it, but then again the SABC has made stuff a little easier. It's also timing, it's the quality of the music, it's everything. But definitely I knew that I was in the right direction because of the amount of community radio stations that picked up the song immediately

How do you maintain a constant level of creativity?

Kent Smoke: The thing with creativity is that when you tap into it, it's like gym. When you're picking up the resistance, it molds the muscles. The more you create, the more creative you become. It's not the opposite way around. So first of all it's the love of what we're doing that keeps us going.

I mean at the end of the day, it's the love of self because, and I say in that way because I didn't give myself a chance to love myself and that's why I went through that pain. So it started with that, that self love, that will get you to make the right decisions for your mind, body and soul because for me self love equals self belief, self belief equals doing the right thing. And what is it? It's tapping into what do I love. Because they say, if you want to find out what it is that you love, what it is that you want to do with your life, the clues lie in what excites you, what really excites you.