10 Questions With… Kasia Konstance

10 Questions With… A series that delves into fresh new releases from some of our favourite artists. With a focus on our Melodic Distraction hosts and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours. 

This time, we chat with soulful singer-songwriter and flautist Kasia Konstance! Hailing from Poland but now residing in London, she returns with her new single ‘You Never Do’ featuring Manchester-based rapper KinKai, fresh from being premiered on BBC Radio London. Having performed at the likes of Field Day and Love Supreme, alongside radio play on BBC6 Music, Jazz FM and Worldwide FM and more, Kasia is definitely one to keep on you radar…

Hi Kasia – we’re in love with your new single ‘You Never Do’. What’s the story behind it? 

I wrote this song during lockdown when I got stuck for three months away from friends and loved ones. I was struggling to understand my feelings, which caused a lot of confusion and anxiety. It touches on platonic love and the spiritual connection between two people. Writing has always been therapeutic for me; when I can’t talk to someone in real life, I tend to write it down. It takes all the stress away. 

How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before? 

I’d say that my music is a jazz-tinged, chilled and soulful journey, with an overall natural sound. My moods are changing pretty drastically, so ‘moody’ is probably accurate too!

‘You Never Do’ is one of the singles off forthcoming debut EP ‘Cosmic Dust’. Can you tell us a bit about the process of making the record?

I started writing songs for my EP in 2017, when I got asked to perform at the EFG London Jazz Festival as part of the Jazznewblood series (big up to Pat Pascal for believing in me and always supporting my music!) 

I was dreaming of releasing it in 2018. Unfortunately, soon after I got very ill and went to hospital for 2 months to find out I’ve got Multiple Sclerosis. This journey has been painful and challenging, but also taught me who I really am and what I want from life.  

I took a year-long break to learn how to live with MS and started writing again at the end of 2019. All the ideas I had over this period are recorded on my phone in the form of voice notes, lyrics and messy recordings, which I go back to every now and then. The whole EP was recorded at home, mostly in England and one track in Poland. The bedroom is where I feel safe, can properly relax and be myself. Most of the songs are produced by my favourite producer, Beau Diako whose style brought a lot of flavour to my compositions.

Who have you been listening to a lot whilst making it?

When I started writing the EP in 2017, I was obsessed with Alfa Mist, Ezra Collective, but also Anderson Paak, Anti Lilly, Erykah Badu, Jazz Liberatorz, and Lauryn Hill. ‘Moon Shoes’ EP by Ravyn Lenae also played a big role in the writing process, I’m still listening to it regularly. I’ve also been heavily listening to Yazmin Lacey, IAMDDB, D’Angelo, Chet Baker, James Moody, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and recently KinKai – a mixture of soul, jazz and hip hop.

What is the music scene like in Lublin? Do your Polish roots have an influence on your music and if so, how? 

Lublin is a great place for live music with a few big festivals, although the focus in Poland is definitely on different genres such as pop, rock and hip hop. Growing up I had the pleasure of taking part in multiple jazz workshops, which definitely shaped my style and I took it with me to London. My older brother Bartek had a huge influence on my music taste and style too, which I’ll always be grateful for.

‘Cosmic Dust’ features collaborations with KinKai, Beau Diako, Ife Ogunjobi, Madeleine Jones and Thelonious Coltrane. How important is collaboration to you and what’s the best thing you get out of it?

I love collaborating with other musicians. It doesn’t always come easily as I’m always worried that I’m not good enough to do so, but I feel like it’s the best way of learning and exploring new ideas. Each of the musicians I collaborate, play with or even talk to opens a whole new world to me, I feel wiser each time.

You’re also a member of Tomorrow’s Warriors Female Frontline – does being part of the 9 piece inform your solo work, and if so, how?

Being part of Female Frontline has helped me to understand myself and has had an impact on my music. I love playing with the girls and have definitely learnt a lot; I hadn’t played much flute before and only had a basic knowledge from childhood, so playing flute in the band was a big challenge but I’m grateful I didn’t give up. It helps me with writing my music.

You’ve also performed at some incredible festivals, including Field Day, London Jazz Festival and Wilderness. Where would be your dream festival to perform at? 

I’d love to headline the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, it’s been my dream since I was a teenager.

Are there any up and coming artists you’re keeping your eye on in the UK jazz scene and further afield at the moment?

Yes! I love discovering new artists. I’m very excited about Madeleine (aka Madeleine Jones), her first single is amazing and I’m sure her debut EP will make everyone fall in love with her style even more. I’m also looking forward to hearing more from Xvngo, an amazing saxophonist and producer who’s part of KOKOROKO and started releasing his own music in 2020. 

What’s next for you?  

I’m planning to collaborate more and get properly into producing. I want to be able to do everything myself and not fear new challenges. I’d love to go on tour, but this will probably have to wait for a bit. I’m trying to stay focused on writing new music, which brings me a lot of happiness.

‘You Never Do’ featuring KinKai is out now, from forthcoming EP ‘Cosmic Dust’, landing in September. Check it out below!