Interview: [K S R].By Dylan Shortridge | February 13, 2020
While preparing for this interview with [K S R] it became evident his digital footprint perfectly showcases the immense talent that he has for penning smooth R&B songs over soulful beats. His silky smooth vocals softly tread over sickly produced beats. Having performed at festivals such as Outlook and Simple Things last year, his music is a common feature on popular Spotify playlists, both testament to his increasing popularity. Hailing from Manchester [K S R] is essentially the adopted son of Manchester-based hip-hop duo Children of Zeus and his aesthetic, a specific stylisation of his name, is paramount but also results in an SEO nightmare. Still, not much has been written about the mind behind such wonderful songs and silky lyrics and similarly, little about his motivation yet been uncovered.
So, when first speaking to Roosevelt Kazaula Sigsbert, I enquired about how deep I was allowed to go. Thus, with the green light to “go as deep as you want…” We began to do just that.
Mancunian Roosevelt has been inspired by the neo-soul singing styles of iconic singers such as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Miguel. Taking inspiration from these artists, his songs contain dreamy and melismatic melodies that underpin his relationship-driven lyrical content.
In the last decade, he’s developed from a football-mad 11-year-old singing along to Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag‘ on YouTube, to [K S R] who has solidified himself as a definite ‘one to watch’ on the UK music scene. It’s clear female R&B singers were a significant inspiration for him as he developed his singing skills.
“When I was in high school, I just gravitated to a lot of female singers. Writing-wise, there was a lot of honesty… It was what I moved towards. It was only when puberty hit that my priorities changed.” Since then, he has developed friendships with some of his inspirations such as (British singer) Etta Bond, expressing “she knows how much I love her… I used to listen to her and feel like that the level of ‘I don’t give a fuck’-ness I want to get to. Its something I get to speak to her about every day.”
[K S R]’s ability to express himself openly is to be celebrated. His love for black women is heard clearly in his song, ‘Queen’, where he writes primarily about his ex-girlfriend and his younger sisters. He remembers that he and his then significant other would “battle over the fact that she felt very insecure about herself” and he would always tell her, “there’s no reason to be so insecure,” and that, “There were obviously so many reasons and factors why I actually loved her to the point where I possibly would have done anything for her”
Simultaneously, his sisters were also struggling with their own self-esteem issues with [K S R] stating they “didn’t know a lot about themselves”. His encouraging statements of self-love to those close to him were supported by Australian rapper, Remi Kolawolewho he met at Outlook festival in 2018, before he got on stage with Children of Zeus.
His friend “approached the subject matter of his sisters with grace,” [K S R] gushed. “I wanted to cry because he just hit the nail on the head and it was just what I needed and it was just what my sisters needed as well.”
Aside from the lyrical content and experiences that inform these songs, [K S R] has delved into writing over more varied and hip-hop influenced production. His latest single, ‘Flex With Me’, illustrates his ability to blend his established slick vocal delivery with the syncopated flows commonly associated with modern rap. He acknowledges that in this moment he is more focused on carving out a unique sound rather than divulging his private struggles.
“Right now, I’m in a position where I want to experiment with sounds more than anything above writing because I’m very comfortable with myself knowing I can write whatever I want to write.” Sonically, he is determined to leave a legacy which causes him to repeatedly ask himself, “What sound do I want to go for? What do I want people to remember me for and how do I want them to remember me?”
Collaboration with producers are also a rich source of creativity for [K S R] with special admiration reserved for the production portfolio of Bristol’s Outhouse: “I love his production. Any little chance I get when he sends me a beat, I’ll make the effort to see what I can write about and see how I’m expressing myself that particular day. Whatever beat I’m fucking with now, I’ll experiment with.”
Having just turned 21 in July 2019, Roosevelt is a fire-sign and a Leo. Whilst a pseudoscience article for Cosmopolitan this is not, it gave us a lovely launch pad to get to the roots of his self-perception, joking that Leos struggle to articulate their need for help, whilst at the same time soldier on helping others. Despite this, he confirms that he’s becoming more self-assured and “becoming a bitch these days,” whilst protecting his energy from individuals who take his kindness for granted.
Although his music showcases some of the depth of his emotion, he is reluctant to show the breadth of the issues he deals with daily when he stated, “Ever since I’ve come back from holiday in Tanzania, I haven’t been myself. I want to work on music but I feel so emotionally broke. I’ve just lost my neighbour who I’ve known for 18years and for me, that was the weirdest thing. This is the second time I’ve lost someone really close to me and I just thought, I just can’t be bothered anymore. You know when you get to the point where you wanna throw in the towel but you know you can’t. You have no towel around you anyway so you have no choice but to carry on until you say to yourself, ‘Okay, I’m ready again.’”
Timing appears to be on Roosevelt’s mind. Outwardly, he appears nonchalant while internally he is methodical and strategic with both his releases and writing. This year, we can look forward to the release of [K S R]’s next EP (February 28th) and a tour that will be stopping at Manchester (March 19th) and London (March 20th).
2020 will be the year that [K S R] will truly come into his own. With his support from industry peers, his label Polarface and his quiet self-confidence, there will be no stopping him.