interview | kirby

Once upon a time, KIRBY was in love. It felt real and authentic and the songstress expressed it all in her 2020 project Sis. True to its form, the subject of love and relationships comes with a roller coaster of ups and downs. Equipped with a pen that has touched tracks such as Die With You by Beyoncé and FourFiveSeconds by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney, to name a few, KIRBY eats ballads for breakfast. Her follow-up EP Sis, He Wasn’t The One is a masterclass in choral harmonies while her lyricism details moments of weakness and candid stories of  modern love. She is not only the self-proclaimed god-daughter of soul, but through her latest EP, provides a potion strong enough to cure the heartbreak blues. In her interview with Schön!, KIRBY reflects on the fatigue of finding “the one,” the hard truths that you can only learn post-breakup, and would like to make one thing clear: Leon is a real person and – in her own words – “we don’t fuck with him no more!”

What vibes did you want to explore in Sis, He Wasn’t The One compared to your funk-filled debut Sis?

I just wanted to explore truth [and] truth varies in production. I’ve always recorded a lot of my songs with live musicians in the room, very much true to the era of soul music that I love. On this project, due to COVID, we had to do things differently. I did half of this project over Zoom. I wasn’t able to be in a room full of musicians but it pushed me and challenged me. We were able to explore how to stay authentic to the core but also try different things so that we’re always moving forward. My producer Mike Irish always tells me that you make a box, you sit in it, and then you destroy it. If you don’t destroy it, they’re gonna forever put you in it.

What does Black love mean to you?

I can’t say it better than “if black is the sum of all colours, then all love is Black.” I feel like it’s just all-encompassing. If you have ever been in love, then you can find a little bit of your story and the emotions that you felt in Black love as well. I don’t think Black love is perfect. I think it’s authentic. I think it’s real. I think it’s – for many of us – the dream.

Mentally, where were you when writing Sis, He Wasn’t The One and what takeaways do you want listeners to have? 

I was in a place of being a little bit disappointed. I think a lot of us get to a point where you’re so tired of the guy not being “the one.” I’m at a point where I have to practice radical acceptance. I’ve learned that every love story is not a forever story. I think when the title finally came to me, it served as a reminder to stop trying to make something that’s a beautiful moment permanent. I wanted to say that statement with a sense of finality because I needed to hear that. I needed to stop telling myself that he was, and I’m still trying to stop telling myself that he is, “the one!”

The takeaway is just to be honest. You can have a beautiful love story, and not in the way that you wanted to, and that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was real. Sometimes, people think ‘oh, because you love somebody it’s supposed to work out’ and that’s not necessarily the truth. There are a lot of components that make a relationship long term and love is one of those but it’s not the be-all, end-all.

We saw the return of Leon in track Leon Pt.2, talk us through that. 

Listen, we see the return of Leon, never to return again because there will be no Leon part three! I just felt it was necessary to tell the truth of that story. Leon, for me, represents this guy who really was in a lot of ways perfect, but it just ended so ugly. I didn’t want to immortalise him on Sis as this perfect guy. I wanted to tell part two because part two was how it ended. And like the record said, we don’t fuck with him no more!

Through heartbreak and everything in-between, is love still a 10/10 recommended experience?

Baby, love is forever. It’s insane. There’s nothing better than that butterfly feeling you get when you just met somebody, you like them and you’re waiting on them to walk through the door or call you, and you two don’t want to get off the phone. I think the only thing better than that feeling is the assurance you get from knowing somebody who really wants to be in your life has chosen to stay. That’s really what I’m looking for now. I know that butterfly feeling very well, but I really look forward to feeling the security of commitment.

What can fans expect from KIRBY for last part of the year?

Baby, more records because the way this iTunes is set up I have so many songs! You guys are getting another single that’s not on the album by the end of the year so I’m excited. I am rapid shooting and y’all will not, not be hearing from me!

Any last words?

Sis, he wasn’t “the one” but that doesn’t mean there’s not another one out there who is, so remain hopeful! I want women to connect to the story but also know that I do believe that every “not the one” just leads you to “the one.” So, go ahead and close the door so that you can walk into the next season. That’s hard to say. I’m literally trying to walk that out myself right now in real time but it’s my hope that I find another person who makes me want to write another Loved By You because honey, I gotta feel how it feels to be loved like that, okay? 

KIRBY‘s latest single ‘Can We Be Friends?‘ is out now.

This Schön! online exclusive has been produced by

photography. Cell Dinero
talent. KIRBY
words. Thandie Sibanda

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