Kenyan singer-songwriter and Sauti Sol member Chimano joins LootLove via FaceTime on Apple Music 1 to talk about his latest track, “Friday Feeling.” He also discusses embracing new sonic directions on his first solo EP, ‘Heavy is the Crown,’ his ’80s pop inspirations, and his renewed appreciation for his own creativity.  

Chimano on Solo Ventures in Lockdown 

So 2022, everyone was at home and there was a lot of introspection. Each one of us [in Sauti Sol] has ended up doing their own individual projects, but speaking for me this was just a chance for me to actually record and to see what I can do for myself by myself, to see what kind of artist I can be by myself, because I have always been in a group dynamic really so you know in this moment I was like just like “Wait, what can I do with myself?”

Other people picked up a school course, I just picked up solo artistry. There’s just another version of me that I really wanted to be seen and to be heard, that I’ve been waiting for it to come out, and there we go!

Chimano on 80s Inspiration

I was born as the ‘80s were ending, but when I do think of that period it really did play a certain part in my life and I can’t really explain it. It was just an era of rockstars, there was an openness. This was just right after disco, into that ‘80s era, it was neon, it was parties, it was wonderful. It was just an era that felt free, and it’s like people were discovering something new, whatever that was I don’t know, but then they really did discover it!

That really did play a huge role in my life, as well as early ‘90s R&B. That really did play a part in my life and that stayed with me, because it’s very nostalgic to me, it just feels good. Even how I write my songs, or like songs written for me, it’s just that. It penetrates my soul to the core.

Chimano on New Confidence As An Artist

This release process has made me totally 150 percent believe in myself. It’s surreal for me because now I can fully create, I’m listening to myself on a song from beginning to end, and now it’s a whole project. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but then was scared of maybe how it was going to sound, and whether it was going to be good at all, whether it was something that I would listen to and just be like “Oh damn, ok sis you’re doing it.”

It makes me a better artist for Sauti Sol, and everybody now understands. Even within the four of us, now we totally understand. We’re just like “Oh ok, I didn’t know you could do this… Oh damn Savara ok, that’s amazing… Ok Chimano, come through, we get it…” So it’s making me feel all sorts of feels.