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July 21, 2023 3 min read

The 21-year-old Londoner talks his irrepressible ascent to pop’s upper echelons.



A musical diet of Erykah Badu and D’Angello stood a young Kamal. in perfect stead to become the formidable force in R&B-adjacent pop the singer, songwriter and instrumentalist is today. Since dropping debut single “homebody”, written whilst he was still at school and released amid 2020’s COVID-induced lockdown, he’s since amassed over 225m streams, gained illustrious fans in the likes of Billie Eilish and squeezed in a collaboration with canonical British rapper, Dave.

Following his deftly-crafted March sophomore mixtape so here you are, drowning, featuring latest single "crowded places", Kamal. gives Man About Town a whistle-stop tour of the soundtrack of his childhood, his artistic progression since his debut, and the time he mosh-pitted with none other than Dua Lipa at a Skepta gig…



Hey, Kamal.! How did you get your creative footing in music? Was it something you always saw yourself pursuing?

I’ve always gravitated towards music. My entry point was classical piano when I was young, and I’ve always been set on pursuing it as a career. I love the expression it allows and how specific the emotions it evokes in you can be.


Is there an album that you associate with your childhood?

There are a few. I remember hearingBaduizm in the car a lot and D’Angelo’s Voodoo was a recurrent one too.


What’s the last song that made you smile?

“Pigs… (In There)” by Robert Wyatt.



Where do you look for inspiration?

I think I look close to me, always. I find it in my friends and my family, in the area I live in, in good conversations, in relationships with women or in the art I consume. I find it naturally because there is so much of it to be found.


If you’re jumping on the AUX, what’s the first song you’re putting on?



Your first single “homebody” delved into the mental state of being a recluse. How do you find exploring your vulnerabilities through music?

I think I explore my vulnerabilities quite unwittingly when I’m writing because it’s almost like those are the things you can’t speak about normally so they’re waiting to burst out. I sometimes feel like chord sequences are so moving that they provoke me to speak about something very specific in my life, even if that thing hadn’t been at the forefront of my consciousness before. I also think a large part of music’s beauty is in connecting with people, and I think sharing your vulnerabilities is a way to connect, so it’s only natural I share these things in my songs.


Fast-forward to March this year, you released your second mixtape so here you are, drowning. How does this differ from your first releases and how do you feel you’ve grown as a musician since 2020?

I think this tape shows more breadth and range than I’ve displayed before, in terms of genre and lyrical material. I feel like it also demonstrates my ability to put themes together in my art and make songs feel cohesive with one another. I think I’ve grown a lot since 2020 and I think there’s much further to go, both in general life and my music. The more experience I gain, the stronger I feel in my art and the more I want to give.


What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment so far?

I played a festival in Kosovo that Dua Lipa helps run, and I got to meet her. We ended up doing a mini mosh-pit to one of Skepta’s songs whilst he performed and it honestly felt like a fever dream.



Taken from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Man About Town.

Photography by Simon Wheatley

Fashion by Jermaine Robinson

Grooming by Sandra Hahnel

Editorial Director Charlotte Morton

Editor-in-Chief Damian Foxe

Editor Andrew Wright

Art Director Harry Fitzgerald, Livia Vourlakidou, Michael Morton

Production Director Ben Crank

Producer Isabella Coleman

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