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Imagine moving to the United States as you are getting ready to start fourth grade and having to learn English as a second language at the same time. That’s what local hip hop & rapper artist/producer Ryan Gonie known as Kenz was faced with over eight years ago as he and his family moved to our area from Indonesia.
As he matured, he needed not only to learn the language, but he also wanted to fit in and didn’t want an accent so he listened to music and watched YouTube videos in an attempt to submerge into our culture. In speaking with Kenz during a recent telephone interview, his method worked as he has no discernible accent and sounds like the average senior at Bothell high school.
But Kenz is far from average having just released his new album Hotel Mega. An album that he not only used his own beats on (music), but wrote all the lyrics, and produced all at only 17-years-old.
The reviews are excellent, and Kenz is gaining followers (and fans) daily. Not having a lot of background in what makes for a strong hip hop/rap album, I went to my personal contact and a big music fan, my son. He’s only a few years older than Kenz and loves the genre. They also share the same favorite artist, Frank Ocean. My son agreed with the reviews and commented that going the extra mile to produce the album takes real courage and hard work.
Kenz started to take music seriously in 9th grade and has been creating songs and performing at concerts throughout high school. He’s also been involved in acting and choir at school. He mentioned Israel Banda, one of his high school English teachers, as being an influential figure that he’s really appreciated. Additionally, Kenz says his parents have been “very supportive.”
In creating his beats or writing lyrics for a song, Kenz uses imagery he said. He’s very influenced by pop culture and movies. He’ll make a sound track in his head then see where it flows. For Hotel Mega, he got a new program for mixing music last October and spent time learning how to use it via tutorials. He took his time in creating the sound he wanted and is very proud of the finished product that dropped just last month. “I was focused on the whole project”, says Kenz.
I asked Kenz what he thought listeners got out of his music. For younger kids he said, “I hope to inspire them. You can do it. Both produce and perform.” For foreign kids, he commented that it is a great way to learn English like he did.
What does Kenz think the most difficult aspect of the music industry is? “Hip hop is a big trend lately. The technology is available [for everyone]. Separate yourself from others by having your own sound.”
What are his next steps? He plans to finish high school this spring and is looking at college in the fall. He wants to pursue Audio Engineering and eventually Mix & Mastering. He wants to continue to grow in the music industry, and he will continue to create and perform in the meantime.
To keep up to date on future concert performances or give a listen to his music:
Instagram & Twitter: @glitterboykenz
Search “Hotel Mega” by Kenz on ITunes, Apple Music, Spotify, etc. Available on all music platforms!