Kyla Imani has a message for Gen Z with song ’21 Forever’

The singer-songwriter has been co-signed by Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Beyoncé, and Rihanna

Kyla Imani is a singer and songwriter who has been vouched for by such legendary artists as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. After uploading her rendition of Beyoncé’s song “7/11,” to YouTube at the age of just 13, she quickly gained a loyal fan base.

Now at the age of 21, she is using her platform to encourage others to have explore opportunities and not limit themselves.

Imani opened up about the inspiration behind “21 Forever.”

What inspired the song, “21 Forever?”

“21 Forever” was inspired, because I went to this school called LAAMP, which is the Los Angeles Academy for Artists and Music Production. It was a school started by the production duo Stargate, who worked with Katy Perry on “Firework” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” They are like the GOATS.

We were doing a writing camp for me that week, and I kept walking through everything thinking I’m about to be 21 since I was 20 at the time. I was like, “Why don’t we just make a song about turning 21?” There are a bunch of birthday songs, but not specifically about being 21. That’s such a pivotal age. It was a big collaboration, so I’m very thankful to everyone who contributed to the song.

What do you want fans to take away from your music?

First of all, when they’re listening to my music, I want them to have a good time. I want them to just vibe and I want it to be a great experience listening to me. Not so much from the songs themselves, but I find myself going to pop to R&B to hip-hop, and I don’t like to limit myself as an artist. I want my listeners to not feel like they’re in a box ever. I just want them to get that “Hey, I’m a Black girl doing pop music, so you can do whatever you want to. There are no limits. Just make whatever you want to make and have fun, however, you have fun.”

What words of wisdom do you have for Generation Z?

As somebody who’s part of Gen Z, this happens to me, but I think we need to appreciate the moments in real life, such as the day-to-day and living in the present. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves for the future. We’re such bright thinkers, we’re always thinking about the next step, and what’s tomorrow?

Honestly, we need to slow down and enjoy the present moment, not compare ourselves to anybody, and just really check in and say, “How’s life? How was today? Are we doing good?” We should all try to do that a little bit more and enjoy the moments in real life. Don’t worry too much about social media because it’s all perception.

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