There is a plethora of independent artists in the world. Technology has made it possible for anyone to release music and gain notoriety. The truth of the matter is that notoriety does not always translate into anything sustaining, so many find themselves reminiscing over fifteen minutes of fleeting fame. Talent separates the serious artist from those simply seeking fame. We spoke with a serious artist. Singer/songwriter, natural beauty advocate and model Koku Gonza talks to rolling out about her career, supporting herself as an independent artist and her motivation.
Tell us who you are.
I am Koku Gonza. I am a full-time artist. DIY is my way of live. I make the world beautiful by adding an element of art from my perspective as a musician.
What is it about what you do that makes you unique?
I have found a way to create and advocate natural beauty through fashion and music. I am a singer/songwriter, and model. I’m fortunate to support myself as a full time artist. I produce and perform my original music while promoting natural beauty as a spokesmodel. Staying true to myself and purpose as an artist is my daily motivation. I don’t and won’t compromise who I am to be like everyone else for a chance to dance with so-called success. I’m literally in my own world and loving everyone who blesses me with their presence by being part of it. That is the beauty of being a unique artist.
How did you get started in your profession?
I started as a little kid in a church choir. It was tons of fun. I was really shy though. Somehow, I found a way around being shy. I studied music in college and moved to Chicago to create a career in music and I’m proud to see my plan working. I’ve been recording and performing professionally for the past five years. I have travelled to Europe and all over the U.S. I’m looking to more travels in 2016 to Africa and Asia.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
The most challenging aspect of my career is juggling everything without assistance. I am truly indie. I do everything from creating my website, email list, photo shoots, video editing, music production and more. To be successful and avoid a traditional 9-5 p.m. as an indie I have to do it all. Finding time to do it all and be creative is a delicate balance.
Who are the biggest personal and professional influences in your life?
Patrice Rushen, Sade, Betty Wright and Lauryn Hill, D’Anglelo, Van Hunt, Stevie Wonder, Lewis Taylor and Eric Lau are all artists I kept in rotation growing up and I still keep in rotation today. I applaud their creativity and ability to stay relevant. It’s rare that artists can make timeless music that can span generations. I’m not really into trends, so these artists do it for me. They can create and influence trends as well as survive the music business without selling out.
Tell us about the last book you read. Why did you choose it?
Barack Obama, Dreams of My Father. I chose this book because I wanted a better understanding of the Obama we know now vs. before he became the first black president. It’s important to understand where people come from to know how and why they make their choices.
What encouraging words do you have for our readers?
Be Inspired. Be Love. Be Free and Be You!