Posts

knaan

If anybody has a story to rap about, it’s hip-hop artist K’Naan. Born in Mogadishu, the Somali rapper (real name: Kanaan Warsame) fired his first AK-47 at the age of 8; at 11 he blew up half his school when he accidentally detonated a hand grenade. By the time he and his mother fled Somalia in 1991, he had already seen three of his friends shot dead. The family settled in Toronto, where the young refugee learned English partially through rap songs. He released his first album in 2002, and his follow-up, Troubadour, to wide acclaim last year; its single “Wavin’ Flag” has been chosen as the official anthem of this year’s World Cup, to be held in June in South Africa, and will be featured in Coca-Cola ads that will play in 150 countries. Addressing the issues of poverty and political freedom, the song blends African and Western pop with rock and rap, in the style known as Afropop. “With my experiences and where I come from, the sounds and melodies that speak to me, I could not possibly put all that into the narrow idea of music popular in the West,” says K’Naan. “I felt I needed to bring all my experiences together, put them in a pot and serve them like that.” Read more

U2

Invariably the first question people ask when they find out I’m a journalist is who is the most famous person I’ve ever interviewed. When I give them an answer—George Clooney, Tony Blair and Beyonce usually elicit the biggest “oohs”—the follow up is, “Were you nervous?” And the answer is pretty much always, not really. Why? Well I tell people it’s because I am a professional and interviewing people is an integral part of the job description. But honestly it’s because over the years I have developed a strategy to control my nerves when interviewing war criminals, politicians, celebrities and everyone in between; just as the butterflies start flying I remind myself, “Yeah, but s/he isn’t Bono.”

Read more