On 'Childqueen,' Kadhja Bonet Makes Nearly Every Sound Herself | KUOW News and Information

On 'Childqueen,' Kadhja Bonet Makes Nearly Every Sound Herself

Jun 12, 2018
Originally published on June 12, 2018 8:01 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROCESSION")

KADHJA BONET: (Singing) Oh, every morning brings a chance to renew, chance to renew. Oh...

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is one of the latest songs from Kadhja Bonet. She's behind almost every sound on her new album called "Childqueen." She's not your typical laptop studio solo artist. Her music is alive with strings and flutes, vintage keyboards and xylophones. Here's reviewer Tom Moon.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: Kadhja Bonet is still relatively unknown, just one album out. The streaming services file her music under R&B, but hearing the way she starts her 2018 effort, the tag seems pretty arbitrary.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROCESSION")

BONET: (Singing in foreign language).

MOON: It's a march, an old-fashioned, military-style caissons-rolling march. And check out where she goes a few songs later.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DELPHINE")

BONET: (Singing) What's it mean, Delphine, Delphine, Delphine - this letter you wrote to me?

MOON: Super-slow, deep and vulnerable, it's a top-to-bottom overhaul of the torch song with odd bits of synthesizer strangeness scurrying around the edges.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DELPHINE")

BONET: (Singing) Goodbye.

MOON: Right there, you sense it. This is an idiosyncratic talent. Kadhja Bonet grew up one of seven kids in a musical family in the Bay Area. She studied violin, viola and music theory in high school but afterward rebelled against the formal training. She went to film school, didn't like it. Returning to music, she taught herself production and began writing and recording her songs by herself.

(SOUNDBITE OF KADHJA BONET SONG, "JOY")

MOON: Some of Bonet's originals are typical narratives. Others are more open, fantasias inspired by a single thought or a visual image. She uses multitracking to create neon-lit bouquets of vocal harmony.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THOUGHTS AROUND TEA")

BONET: (Singing) She slept on where the hills are in rolling form far away from the city norm beneath the morning sun.

MOON: Bonet has said that the name of her album "Childqueen" celebrates a state of mind, the innocent creativity of childhood in the years before grades and judgment. The album has that light, playful quality even with all the orchestration going on. Beneath those layers, there's a strong-willed soul pursuing a fiercely individual vision of pop music.

(SOUNDBITE OF KADHJA BONET SONG, "CHILDQUEEN")

SHAPIRO: Kadhja Bonet's new album is called "Childqueen." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHILDQUEEN")

BONET: (Singing) You're so great at doing what you do. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.