Skip to main content

Darling speaks to Kanika, Afro-Pop artist and 'Artivist'

An activist curator and cultural spokesperson, Kanika is a musician native to Baltimore, who deeply resonates with the injustices occurring on our doorstep. ‘It’s My Body’ is one of the highly anticipated songs on her 3rd solo album, coming Spring 2023. Invoking and facilitating conversations around important societal themes, Kanika’s work truly embodies the meaning of unity, female empowerment, and freedom of expression. Despite centralizing on heavy topics, such music proves technically beautiful and atmospheric. 

Layering up-tempo dance tracks with soulful ballads over rock guitar, Kanika proves undefined by genre. Coupled with thought-provoking lyricism and powerful vocals, ‘It’s My Body’  encompasses a melodic narration of lived experiences from the United States. Not her first political statement in protest, Kanika sang for over 24 hours straight in Washington DC, to break the record of the longest filibuster and demand the Senate pass the Freedom to Vote Act. Also, a finalist in the Songs For Good national writing contest during the 2020 election cycle, her "Vote in 2020" soundtrack for democracy became one of the top TikTok sounds used by voters across the US - contrasting from The Real Housewives of Potomac to Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. A career day frequent flyer and TED Talk speaker, Kanika advocates for economic equality and has assisted over 1,000 unemployed Baltimore residents in receiving workforce training to acquire a healthcare career. 

Darling were able to talk to Kanika below:

What is ‘It’s My Body’ about?

“It’s My Body” is a reproductive rights protest anthem. The song’s chorus, "It's My Body", along with many lyrics throughout the song was inspired by protest signs I would see women carry at abortion advocate rallies. This song talks about critical issues affecting humanity such as gun violence, climate change, voter rights and questions the priorities of our leaders when deciding what becomes law. In defiance, the song boldly states, a woman’s body should not be used for political control.

How has your role as a mother shaped your musical career?

My desire to be a thriving artist used to shape my decisions around motherhood. As a female in the music industry, it's much harder to break into the industry if you are a mother, wife, or a certain age. At some point in my career, I realized I could no longer give an entity such power over my life, my personal decisions, or my reproductive choices. Up until now, I don't think I ever realized how this parallels with women’s current fight for abortion rights- the right to choose when.

As a mother to a very active 4-year-old, I am increasingly conscious of managing my time so my music career does not overtake quality time. I want my daughter to see a strong woman-preneur who works hard, but plays even harder. A woman who stands up for what she believes in and fights to spread love.

I also am mindful of my daughter’s legacy, so I am intentional about the music I create, the lyrics I write and sing, and the images I share publicly. I am reminded that other people’s daughters are looking at me too. I’m not perfect or trying to be the “role model for society”, but I often ask myself, “how do I want to deliver my message?” “What do I want others to see?”  This serves as a check-in with myself to ensure I stay authentic as I am building my musical career. 

What do you hope to see as a response to this track?

I was unsure how people would respond to the bold statements made on this record. It's been encouraging to hear the responses from both women and men about what the messages in this song means to them.  As a singer, songwriter and “Artivist” who uses my gift of voice and music to inspire awareness and social change, I hope the message in this song can continue to spark conversation, empower more women to use their voice politically, and ignite people to get out and vote.  

How do you think music plays a role in ‘artivism’?

I believe words are power and music can have a message. I create music because I believe in the power of music to amplify social change. Martin Luther King said it best, “Songs are the soul of a movement”. Music is a mobilizer, a connector, a unifier, and is the soundtrack to our lives. The role artists play is also a very important one. We have the power to not only amplify good but use our words to fuel participation in social movements. Now more than ever democracy is on the front line and messages, like 'It’s My Body', are as important today as were the protest songs in the 60’s.

What are your plans for the future?

‘It’s My Body' is one of the highly anticipated songs on my 3rd solo album, coming Spring 2023 on boutique label White collar Entertainment. I’m looking forward to sharing more music that presents simple, yet honest messages inspired to not only make people dance, but to uplift the world and inspire awareness and social change. 

In my immediate future, however, there's so much at stake in the upcoming November elections, such as the possibility of overturning Roe V. Wade at a State level. Who is elected will determine a woman's reproductive rights choices along with other key issues that are important to our democracy. Right now my focus is on getting out the message for people to VOTE so we can overturn the Supreme Court's decision. 


Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18

Single Review: ‘Tell Me’ - Jay Moussa-Mann

by Ilana Hawdon The feeling of pure betrayal and heartbreak is perfectly captured in Jay Moussa-Mann’s latest single, ‘Tell Me’. Jay Moussa-Mann is the folk dream we have been waiting for. A favourite on BBC Introducing, Radio 6 and BBC Radio Tees, Jay ’s sound is easy on the ears but delightfully addictive. With a background in writing and film, she began her solo musical venture when she released her debut album, ‘Little Deaths’ in late-2019, and since then, Moussa-Mann has defined herself as an artist with unbelievable range and promise.    ‘Tell Me’ is completely timeless; with notes of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Moussa-Mann creates a folk-inspired track which is simultaneously heart wrenching and strangely empowering. Beginning as a simple guitar tune, ‘Tell Me’ builds with layers of luscious strings and twinkling piano, tied together with Jay ’s vocal line which is equal parts melancholic and divine. The song feels unwaveringly intimate; the lyrics ask, ‘what was I worth?’