Introducing capespring., a Kenyan-based musician whose music is as alternative and dynamic as Nairobi itself.
capespring. is the artist you haven’t heard of yet, but will soon. We were so grateful to have the opportunity to connect with him about his life experiences, inspiration, and his next EP, “diodrama” which drops tomorrow on 3/19. At just 17 years old, he’s already acquired a cult following and is gaining attention from other musicians across Africa and America. capespring.’s music is not something that can be defined within a genre, but it ebbs and flows in the space between rap and detailed instrumentals. His songs represent his journey from boyhood into manhood by navigating love, mental health, and friendships. In this interview, capespring. shares with us how Nairobi and the rest of the world impact his work, how he balances music and studies as a high schooler, the true meaning behind his music, and his plans for the future.
Tell us about your background.
I’ve lived in Kenya for the majority of my life, except the 2 years that I lived in South Africa when I was really young. But even amidst the changing locations, music has been one of the only constants throughout my life. From an early age, music played a significant role in my personal growth, joy hood and development. As a result, I have a lot of fond memories of it that I’m grateful for; whether that was my dad playing Paul Simon before bed, or attending piano classes when I was 4 years old. I’d say that as a country, Kenya is quite culturally diverse and in some ways that has contributed greatly to not only my taste in music, but the way in which I make music. I also seek a lot of inspiration from a melange group of artists outside of Kenya; currently my taste ranges from the artist Choker to hard French Rap, and it’s evident in my music.
How has Nairobi influenced your work?
Nairobi is always moving, even in the turmoil of a global pandemic. There’s a tacit hustle in which everyone always finds a way to do what they want or need to do; it’s very dynamic, very diverse, and very Nairobi. What I mean to say is that it’s unique, and it’s flavor has rubbed off on most of my music. I love the duality of Nairobi in how it’s not only zestful, but has a novel nature to it. In Nairobi, we’re always moving from one thing to the other, and I’ve certainly grounded that as my compass for where I’m heading with my music. Nairobi in its essence is undefinable and uncontainable, similarly to my music (or so I like to think).
How do you balance your music with the regular demands of being a 17 year old?
While there’s a lot that I juggle, I always try to make the time for music, just as it’s always made time for me. The process is continuous and consists of a collection of quick moments that I can steal, such as writing down a quick verse while on the bus to school or recording a line in my notes that randomly appears in my head. However, I usually have more time on weekends, so that’s when I’ll have the time to sit down to make a beat or record vocals.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
On the days that I have school I’ll wake up at 5:30 AM to head to school, which is where I’ll spend the rest of my day. By the time I’m home, which is 12 hours later, I’ll spend time with my cat, and likely take a nap. At around 7:00 PM, I’ll start my homework and study. I’ll usually head to bed by 11:00 PM, so if I have time after studying, I’ll work on my music.
If I don’t have school, then I’ll get up at 9:00 AM and spend the morning with my cat, study in the afternoon and just hang out in the evening. I always make music really late into the night so I might start working on something from 1:00 AM up until the time that I feel like going to bed.
What’s your favorite song that you’ve released so far? What makes that one so special?
I’d say “indigo” just because it shows a really big improvement from my other work (in my eyes), but also because it’s one of my most experimental tracks. I’ve always wanted to implement drum breaks in my music and “indigo” was the first opportunity I had to do that. But also, “indigo” was birthed from the culmination of a lot of different experiences that I was having in life, such as the time where I was really inspired (coming off the back of my debut EP), and when I was in and out of school. It marks many significant moments that I often reminisce upon and when I hear it, those memories flood back to me. So for me, it’s pretty special in that regard. But my song “Testament” comes close in second.
Who have you found to be your biggest influences?
Artists who I listen to on a daily basis are Dijon, Choker, Ichon, Victor Internet, just to name a few. One thing that slightly annoys me sometimes is that my music doesn’t really sound like my influences, but I suppose there must be little nuances within my sound that are similar.
You just released “indigo” in January 2021 which shows us a more vulnerable side with its hook “I don’t think that I’m okay.” What was the inspiration for this song? Also, are you thinking about including this song as part of a larger project?
“indigo” is actually a part of the 5-part story that is my EP, and it basically deals with this guy who is cognizant of his internal insufficiencies but doesn’t have the desire to solve them. Instead, he aims to find a significant other with hopes that getting with a particular partner would solve all of his problems. This song details the journey of him recognizing that he isn’t okay and alluding to the fact that he thinks someone else will solve them. There’s a line in the song that details this that goes, “Getting with you would mean all my problems don’t need solving.”
Can you tell us about what you’re working on right now?
Right now, I’m mainly working on my next EP and working closely with my manager, Maddy, to get my name out there more. But after my EP is released, I’ll probably take a break from full projects and just drop singles for a while until my first album is ready. I’m a firm believer in taking time with your craft and really perfecting it. I’m trying to make my next project really detailed so I look forward to seeing how that goes.
You’re at the beginning of your music journey and already making such an impact. Where do you see yourself in 5 years or beyond?
Hopefully COVID will be over, and I’ll have performed at Coachella or be on the brink of that. I had always told myself that I wanted a grammy, or a million streams, but I’ve found joy in knowing that people enjoy my music in the first place; at the end of the day that’s what I’ll always be most grateful for and proud of. So in 5 years or beyond, I hope to have a larger fanbase and overall community who relates to the things I do and sing about- that’s what I look forward to the most.
What’s something that you want the people reading this to know?
That I love them for taking the time to learn about me.
Do you have any advice for other young artists looking to start making their own name in the music scene?
My biggest advice is to not give up- that’s probably what every musician would say, but perhaps that’s what makes it most credible. Perseverance is really the difference maker because truly, so many people give up. You’ve already achieved all of your dreams, you’re just on your way to them. So keep going.
What are the best ways that we can support you?
I’d say streaming and buying my music and spreading the word about me are some of the main ways in which I feel supported. Even just the simple fact that people pay (or are starting to) attention to me is really fulfilling.
Check out capespring.’s post on our Instagram below.