Kaien Cruz…the artist south of the equator letting her sound inspire South African youth. With an Instagram that is as colorful as her music Cruz digs deep into a style that incorporates all elements of an unbridled queerness. Receiving acclaim from her single ‘Love Me in the Dark’…Kaien’s work helps to navigate us towards brighter days. “Buffering”, her EP released earlier this month, explores the trials and tribulations regarding Kaien’s move towards a greater independence.
Describe the relationship between your queerness and your music?
I’m this kind of weird hybrid, even culturally…I have a lot of Indian heritage mixed with black and white, and I think personally I’m also this kind of weird hybrid mix. I let that come through in my music. It’s kind of all over the place. I tend not to stick to one thing because I feel so mixed in what I enjoy, but definitely my queerness comes out in my songs without me even trying.
The past two years?
It’s been crazy! I’ve been home once in almost three years, so obviously that’s the longest I’ve been away. I’ve definitely grown a lot…I’m much more independent now.
Your favorite track?
On this new EP I love all three!
Honestly, growing up it was tough because I never really fit into one box. Other kids could stick together…I never really fit in like that especially when I was younger in South Africa, and when South Africa was coming through it’s segregation period. I was always felt like I was in this weird place, but it also allowed me to fit in anyway. I have this collective for mixed kids that I am trying to build up at the moment. Now that I’m older I’m having all of these conversations with them and so many can relate, even if they’re not racially mixed, some are culturally mixed. Them feeling all the feelings that come with that…so yeah, it’s definitely an interesting experience, but it definitely made me who I am.
If you had a magic wand?
I would definitely change how labels do deals with artists. Specifically, females in the industry. Labels need to check themselves, but honestly once you dive into it you realize that companies have to change how they work. If I had a magic wand, I would change relationships with labels with artists in general.
Sonically, I love not sticking to the same genre. Giving a different taste of my cultures and letting that come across. Lyrically I’m kinda weird when I write… I always write something different, and it’s almost like this little fairy comes into my head and it’s almost like it comes from a place that I don’t really understand, but I let it exist on soundwaves.
There is no method to my madness! I would randomly be sitting, and something will just pop into my head, and it’s almost like all of these ideas end up in my head and I have to get them out.
A message to a fan?
The main reason I’ve pushed through is in the hope to inspire kids that feel the same way I feel which is so often out of the box and misunderstood, and kind of isolated in a lot of ways because we don’t fit into the normal standard. Trying to give more diversity so that kids can look up at people that are doing big things and say that I see myself in this person. I feel like if a random kid from South Africa can get this far, anyone else can too.
Your favorite color?
Generic AF…but I really like red roses…white roses too though.
Honestly this is probably the best time to be in the creative entertainment industry just because of all of these new things that are happening. I am working on an album; it is going to be a full experience…I am currently getting that together and all of the resources that I need to pull that off.
The best Xmas gift that you’ve ever received?
One Xmas I got a quad bike and that was sick!!!
STORY: ALEXANDER MAYS PHOTOS: MATTHEW NICHOLSON
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