Interview: K'naan
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Date Stamp: September 8, 2008

To start off our Youth Initiative Program we invited Jake Johnson, a 7th grade student from Nanaimo, BC to interview his favorite artist, K'naan.

We got there about 7pm. We got to see a DJ named Matt the Alien, who was pretty good. K’naan was late, so when he got on it was pretty dark. He sang three or four new songs and some old ones, and sometimes he asked us to sing along. Then, when the show was over, I read over my interview questions to make sure there were no mistakes and rewrote them neater. Then the media liaison, Sharon, told us to come with her. So, we went to the VIP and performers’ zone. She took me just outside K’naan’s tent and his manager, Sol came out and shook my hand and told me that I was the first interviewer and K’naan was really stoked about it. Then, I really had the jitters but I went in and introduced myself and said, hi. He finished eating and then the interview started...

J: Hi, I’m glad you made it. How do you like playing on Vancouver Island?
K: Yeah, I really like playing on Vancouver Island.

J: How do you feel, after all of those years of work, having a crowd of thousands singing along and dancing to your music?
K: It feels incredible, you know you don’t think about it while you write something alone in your room. You go from that, it’s incredible.

J: What do you hope to achieve with your new album?
K: I never really think about missions for albums, all I really think about is feelings for songs, you know, sharing that.

J: What do you want people to know about it?
K: It’s called Troubadour, you know, like medieval poets and musicians.

J: What are your tour plans?
K: It’s mostly in the US.

J: What type of venue do you prefer? Like a club, or a festival?
K: I like both. In a club, it’s more concentrated, intimate and people know your songs. Festivals are usually, for me, ways of introducing new people to my music.

J: What would you like a kid my age to know about growing up in Somalia?
K: There’s two things. You’re really privileged, you’re not running for your life, you don’t have to deal with your friends and your family getting killed. But also they’re privileged in a way, ‘cause they can really enjoy moments without having to be told to, whereas with you, that usually only happens later on in life.

J: Thanks for the interview.
K: Yeah, thanks, you know that’s probably one of the best interviews I had in a while, you’re much smarter than some American journalists.

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