Even with so much music already under his belt, 22 year-old, Allan Kingdom, has no plan on slowing down. Although his sound isn’t typical to what is getting mainstream radio play at the moment, he doesn’t let that dissuade him in any way from creating the music that feels right to him. In fact, sees that challenge as more of a reason to persevere.
It was that dedication and signature sound that recently caught the interest of world renowned producer and rapper Kanye West, who upon hearing Kingdom’s music requested his vocals for “All Day”. Soon after Kingdom found himself on the world stage for the first time, performing the track live with Kanye at the Brit Awards, England’s equivalent to the Grammys.
Although the Kanye song collaboration was a key moment for Allan, there were years of dedication that lead up to it. Born in Winnipeg Canada, Tanzanian and father is South African. He grew up as an only child with his mom, a pharmaceutical scientist, who moved to Canada after receiving an academic scholarship to study there. Her career eventually led her to another University job in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Allan grew up, speaking Swahili as the predominant language at home.
As Kingdom grew up he continued make music on his own, including his self produced and released project entitled “Talk to Strangers” in 2013. At 17, he took his pursuits to Twitter, where caught the interest of Kanye West producer Plain Pat and industry management and A&R veteran Jonathan Kaslow, who immediately responded to the music positively. Soon after he released his first project with the duo entitled “Future Memoirs” and in 2014 was named “Best Hip Hop Artist of 2014” by City Pages in Minneapolis and was listed on Complex’s "Top 25 Rappers to Watch.”
“What’s missing in hip-hop for me a little bit is the human aspect.” says Kingdom. “The fact that we all go through the same things, even though we all come from different places. Everyone cries and everyone laughs. We can feel alone, but at the end of the day we’re not alone, we are all together.” It’s that humble yet insightful, honest yet gritty approach that’s paving unchartered musical territory as his career progresses.
Allan has just self-released his third album, Northern Lights to much fanfare and acclaim. The album is a marked sonic departure from his previous releases and includes notable guest artists such as Chronixx, D.R.A.M. and Jared Evan. While both Kingdom and Plain Pat are at the helm for much of the production there are outside producers such as Swizzymack, Rex Kudo and Ryan Olson lending a hand to the album. The result sees Kingdom developing his sound into a fuller, richer and more expansive sound from earlier works. He will begin a nationwide tour in the spring to support the album along with appearing on numerous high profile collaborations that will drop throughout the year.