It has been said time and time again that to achieve any success in the music business you must be willing to put in the work. There is no magic button. Our new friend KenSon Williams seems to be one of the hardest workers out there. He is building up his own hip-hop music scene in Berkeley, California.
We had a chance to chat with him about how his music has developed and where he sees it going. Enjoy the interview here:
So where did the name KenSon Williams come from?
My dad’s name is Kenneth. So a little while back when I was going to the gym he runs that’s how people would introduce me, as “Ken’s son”. I went by Emmo before that but I wanted something different so I decided to keep that name and own it. My last name is Williams so I just kept that the same.
Your sound is very fresh yet has a classic feel. How would you describe it?
The truth. Plain and simple. My lyrics are an almost literal representation of what I’m thinking. When I make my beats it’s a very organic process, almost a feeling. So my music is all an unfiltered reflection of my mind, body, and environment. It’s life. That is my sound. The truth.
Who would you say has influenced your musical development?
Oooh, that’s my favorite question! There’s so many. Off the top of my head though: Nas, Rakim, Jimi Hendrix, The Clash, Monica, Nirvana, Wu-Tang Clan, Ian Curtis, Michael Jackson… so many. I’m a big fan of technique meeting freedom and these guys exemplify that so well. That’s the kind of artist I strive to be at all times.
What is the local music scene in Berkeley, California like nowadays?
I couldn’t even tell you dude. Berkeley is a folk music hub and as an emcee, while I feel I can tackle any arena and blend with it, there just isn’t much for us in Berkeley. With that said, the open mic scene here is pretty big. Rexx Life Raj is from Berkeley and really making a name for himself in the Bay. There is talent out here, but the city is so small we often have to co-opt Oakland or San Francisco to get anything done.
What prompted the move away from Bottom Notch to start a solo career?
Too little teamwork, too little communication, etc. It kind of just slowly died off. And all the while I kept working and kept writing because I really want this. I love what I do. Anyone who’s working with me knows that. It can be hard to meet my work level and I understand that people have their ways about things and how they work, but I don’t stop. So in the end it came down to being active and I stayed active. No hard feelings of any sort, but I gotta keep pushing.
You have been releasing a steady stream of music lately. What is next for Kenson Williams?
More music. I want to keep dropping EPs. I’ve been linking up with a few artists and producers so I have my eye on a few collaborations. I want to get some videos shot too. That’s my way man. Keep it going.
Hear more of KenSon Williams music on his BANDCAMP.