Kara Marni: unapologetic, honest, raw. Just a few words to describe the talented London-based R&B singer whose new single titled “Young Heart” is out now. As the lead up to her brand new EP coming later this year, “Young Heart” is a collaborative track featuring US multi-platinum record selling artist Russ. In true 2020 fashion, the single came about when Russ personally reached out to Kara over Instagram admiring her previous single “Lose My Love”. Named Complex Ones to Watch of 2020, Kara’s upcoming third EP follows 2019’s success which included sold out shows, supporting artists like Lewis Capaldi and Rita Ora to name a few, her first festival (and standout) performance at Glastonbury, multiple radio and press recognition, and a spot on BBC’s 1Xtra A-list for 5 weeks.
In today’s Instagram post to acknowledge the anticipated “Young Heart” single, Kara says, “I’ll go into it more another time but just wanted to say there is a reason why [Russ is] shining so hard… he’s truly a man of his word and his willingness to share the love goes way beyond anything I’ve ever experienced as an upcoming artist.” Get to know the meaning behind Kara’s “Young Heart”, her influences outside of music, and three of the albums that positively impacted the direction of her blossoming musical career.
Your new single “Young Heart” is the lead up to your brand new EP coming later this year. Tell us about your single “Young Heart” feat. Russ. How is this single different from previous releases?
It’s the first time I’ve collaborated with a rapper which is super exciting for me. For my first collaboration, I wanted it to be extra special, with someone I really loved. I feel like it was worth the wait because Russ is so amazing, and I think our voices work so well together.
In a few sentences, what’s the single about?
When I wrote the song originally, “Young Heart” was inspired by the constant conflict I have between my head and my heart — but since Russ became part of the song, it in turn made it less about me trying to rationalise with myself and more about me having a conversation with my other half at that time.
We heard the collaboration with Russ started with an Instagram DM! How did you feel when you received that message?
To be honest with you it completely took me by surprise! I remember it was the night before I was about to start my first headline tour…I had just got into bed, and instead of going to bed (which I probably should’ve done because my flight was early as hell) I decided to have a scroll through some of my dm’s…to my surprise I saw a few messages from him saying that he loved my song “Lose My Love” and was binging on the rest of my music! … and the rest is history!
What is this next chapter about?
I’m still figuring out and finalising what songs I want on the next project, so I guess that’s for me to know and you to find out!
Can you break down what each track is about on your upcoming EP?
Not each track as I’m still in the writing and recording process but my life has been full of highs and lows this year so those moments will definitely be reflected!
How would you describe your music today?
I would call it soulful R&B with sprinkles of pop.
Tell us a little bit about your earlier songs. Which songs would you say still have an emotional impact on you when you listen to them?
“Lose My Love” because it’s still very much something I can relate to now… feeling like my trust is taken for granted. “No Logic”, too, because when it comes to matters close to my heart, all sense of reasoning and sense going straight out the window!
Outside of music, what do you love to do and how have those passions influenced your music?
I love fashion and dancing too. It influences my music because it helps me to emotionally connect. It’s another form of expression without speaking. I’m also really close with my family and best friends who I love hanging with. We’re quite adventurous because in the little down time we do have we want to make the most! It’s important for my artistry because it keeps me inspired hearing what’s going on in their lives and helps me put certain things going on in my life into perspective.
What kind of stories are you telling with your new music?
It’s definitely more introspective, where I’m examining my own thoughts and feelings more.
I’ve read about your musical influences — from Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Minnie Riperton and more. How would you describe how each specifically influenced you and your musical direction?
As I’ve grown older and lived my life Amy’s songs resonate to me in different ways to when I first heard them. Her lyrics are so simple yet so powerful and that is something I take inspiration from when I’m writing. Similarly with Lauryn, the pain in her voice throughout the Miseducation album really moved me and triggered me to start experimenting with my own melodies and lyrics for my own stories. With Minnie, I was just so mesmerised at how she could make these incredible sounds, particularly “I’m Lovin You” with her whistle notes, it made me want to try them out and experiment more vocally!
I read that you had access to a history of soul and R&B music from your father’s vinyl and CD collection growing up. Which record (or 2-3) would say changed your life?
Minnie Riperton – Perfect Angel
Sade – Diamond Life
Brandy – Afrodisiac
Listen to “Young Heart” feat. Russ out now on all streaming platforms.