Kevin Cossom: No Boundaries

Penning hits like “Knock You Down,” N.A.R.S. singer/songwriter Kevin Cossom has secured a firm spot at R&B/Urban Pop radio. With an influential business partner like noted hit maker Nate ‘Danja’ Hills (Britney Spears, T.I.) by his side though, Cossom tells Singersroom there are “no boundaries” when it comes to making music.

Recognized by BMI for his work as a songwriter on records including Young Jeezy and R. Kelly’s “Go Getta,” Cossom sheds light on his journey to no.1; the state of music in general; working with everyone from Danja and DJ Khaled to Kanye West and Ne-Yo, and even gives us a taste of what is to come on his forthcoming debut in this exclusive interview. Most important though, Cossom, affectionately going by the nickname of ‘KC’ at times, knows the world would be ‘dry’ and lifeless without music. Thus this soulful singer/songwriter, with focus not just on creating music, but authentic and palatable music, is poised for breakout success beyond the pen and booth.

Singersroom: You have been a part of some of the biggest hits at R&B/Hip Hop radio. Out of all the songs you’ve taken part in which was the most random or unexpected?

Kevin Cossom: Unexpected… I would say “Knock You Down” with Keri Hilson. It was really unexpected how it happened because originally it was for someone else and ended up getting to Keri and she did it. Then Ne-Yo jumped on it, which was unexpected and then Kanye (West) was a definite surprise so …. They both took that record to a whole ‘nother level. To be honest, no one even knew that was going to be the outcome.

Singersroom: That’s crazy how that came together. What was going through your mind when you penned that with Danja?

Kevin Cossom: It was just me and Nate man. We were in the studio vibing as we usually do and you know we had this concept and a crazy beat. I just went in, put the ideas down, wrote it right after that and that was pretty much it. It was just a normal day in the studio thinking, what is a good concept and what can we write about?

Singersroom: Longevity can be hard to achieve in this business, how do you stay focused?

Kevin Cossom: You have to keep in mind that it’s about the music first. You also have to handle your business, because it is the music business. So as long as you keep those two things in perspective, you should be cool. Have people around you to make sure everything is cool. Lastly, take care of yourself. Seriously man, because this business can wear you out. You have to be normal or at least maintain some type of normalcy.

Singersroom: With that said, who has given you the best advice in the industry?

Kevin Cossom: My manager and DJ Khaled. We talk a lot. In fact, I’m in Miami right now doing some work with him and The Runners. He’s just real insightful; he talks about a lot of different things like the way records build. With him being a DJ he has a very good ear as far as catching what other dj’s want to play and things like the intro of a record, which is more important sometimes, than you think. I’m really observant ma. I just pick up different things. I can’t say whose advice was the most important or influential but I know there were a lot of good things that I’ve picked up from my management, Khaled and Danja.

I’ve been trying to do this since I was 14, so there are a lot of things that I’ve learned. I’m 24 now, so yeah, that’s 10 years, and I’ve learned a lot just being around people.

Singersroom: When listening to your music, it’s sort of eclectic. You get a mix of soul and R&B but also elements of rock and Hip Hop. Do you think the days of artists sticking to one lane are gone?

Kevin Cossom: I think that a lot of artists stick to one lane. It’s not bad a thing, it’s just not what I choose to do. It’s still going to have R&B and soul to it, as far as things we look for in a song. Like, if it has soul, does it connect? If you have those things and it’s authentic then you’re going to win regardless.

But with the game now, there are hot producers and songwriters and a lot of people run to those producers to try and get the next big hit. When they’re not working anymore they run to the next big hot producer. And you know, whatever that sound is, is what it is. I don’t see too many R&B people trying to switch it up. People I think are most relevant now, that write their own music, would be Ne-Yo, The-Dream, T-Pain, Justin and few other people out there.

The people that write their own music have their own lane. When everybody is going after the same thing, it creates a sense of …. I don’t want to say competition but, I don’t want to go after the same plate, I want a different one. I might not be full if we’re eating off the same plate. You know, there’s just not enough room. So in this game, you definitely have to establish your own sound and style. I think certain R&B people aren’t doing that… I think that’s where they get stuck.

Singersroom: As a songwriter, would you say it’s necessary to always experiment and try something that may seem different or weird at the time?

Kevin Cossom: I think music is the best way to express yourself. Music in general is big. Yes, there are a lot of different genres but music is music. I like to touch on a lot of different things because I’m just a fan of music, not just R&B or Hip Hop or Rock… Having Danja on my side man, is like the best because he’s one of those producers in the game right now, that go from T.I.’s “No Matter What” to DJ Khaled’s “We Takin’ Over” but, then he’s got stuff with Simple Plan, an alternative band. Then he’s got Madonna and Duran Duran and Britney Spears, so it’s like there are no boundaries. The possibilities are endless.

I like to have fun man. Each song requires a different personality sometimes. When I do it, I’m doing it as each record. I just get as creative as I can and let the music takeover.

Singersroom: Today people can pick out or tell, right away, what producer is behind a song … how do you feel about authenticity?

Kevin Cossom: I think it’s important to be authentic man. I think of it in a way where it’s like, if people don’t feel it’s authentic then they’re not going to like it.

Kevin Cossom: When you say authentic though, what do you mean?

Singersroom: In a sense that as an artist you have your own sound or power that is signature, in that the producer’s sound is not overshadowing you but complementing you. Like, we can tell if someone is completely relying on the track and the producer. We can tell when the artist has put their all into the song — they’ve experimented, gone in the studio and tried it a couple different ways…it just feels like they “own” that track.

Kevin Cossom: Like it’s theirs and not someone else’s.. I think that’s important man. Once you can get that sound and once that sound blows or becomes known, I think that you win because it becomes your sound. Then when other people copy, they say “oh that’s KC’s or everybody’s doing what Dream is doing or what T Pain is doing.” It’s important to have your own lane. Besides it has to be authentic for it to really go to a different level. If you’re doing the same thing that someone else is doing, how much longevity are you guaranteeing yourself if you don’t have your own thing? Some people can try and copy it but, if it’s yours, it’s yours.

Even with music videos, you have artists like Missy Elliott and the director Dave Meyers. He works with her all the time. He created things that are authentic for her. Just different things like that, I think that’s important.

Singersroom: With that said, when people think of you in the future or recall ‘KC,’ what would you like them to say about the music?

Kevin Cossom: Creative, melodic, cleaver, feel good, real story lines … things that people can actually connect with. I’m very artistic as a musician as well. I just want respect in the music industry, from my peers as well as others. You know, that’s what I hope to get. The respect is most important, for me at least.

Singersroom: You performed at BMI’s Ladies Night Out over the summer; do you enjoy performing live more than the studio?

Kevin Cossom: I think it’s two different vibes. It’s dope being on stage and feeling other people’s energy. You know, while you’re performing they’re screaming for you and so on… that feels amazing.

I think it’s dope too, to be in the studio and you know, when you’re creating a record, and you finally get that one line, or part of the hook that makes it tie all together and you say “oh this is a hit or that’s a hit” – that’s exciting. The biggest thing for me, because I am a songwriter, is to be in a club or show, to see people singing the lyrics. It’s dope. Especially in the club with a song like “Knock You Down,” which is a love song. To have that playing in the club is crazy. Second of all, to see the people that I see singing it, it’s not just the women, it’s the men. You have the thugs, you know, they are singing it too. It’s just crazy because it’s a love song. That’s an amazing feeling when you turn the song off and hear everyone continuing to sing it in a big room.

Singersroom: Speaking of the club, your new single is with Snoop right?

Kevin Cossom: Yes. I got this new single out called “Relax” with Snoop Dogg and it’s crazy. Kevin Cossom feat. Snoop.

Singersroom: Have you come up with a title for your album?

Kevin Cossom: Right now I’m working on it. I don’t want it to be self titled, that sounds boring.

Singersroom: We have the motto I love R&B at Singersroom, why do you love music?

Kevin Cossom: I love music because of the feeling. I am a big fan of melody so the reason why I say I love music, and not just R&B, is because everything has melody. In a lot of cases the melody is catchier than the lyrics. Music is just so moody. Without music in the world, things would be dry. Music is everywhere. In movies the music determines the whole mood of the movie. When we’re happy or sad, we put certain songs on to match the certain mood we’re in or to feel better.

Music gets a lot of people out of situations. It saves lives. It makes life better. If I didn’t have music I don’t know what I’d do. —— By: Interview By Njai Joszor


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