10 December 2012

K'naan On Artistic Censorship for Success

I came across this NY Times article written by K'naan, a Somali Canadian poet and musician. As an emerging artist, K'naan gained popularity with his second and third album, "The Dusty Foot Philosopher" and "Troubadour" which told stories of his experiences in Somalia. However, K'naan's latest album, "Country, God or the Girl", had a noticeably different tone and was adapted to present a more self-absorbed, fun style which was more suitable for the radio and the top charts. 
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell, from a photograph by Steve C. Mitchell/European Pressphoto Agency

In  this article, K'naan talks about this brief attempt to produce popularly accepted tunes. He explains  why he's given that up to find his original voice to tell the stories of Somalia, of being an immigrant, of war, and of being an artist. I enjoyed the article because it provides an intimate self-reflection of an artist, revealing some of the struggles that artists face in finding the balance between profitability and artist authenticity. [Click here to read the article.]

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