How Jamaican Artist Kranium Is Giving Back to His Fans

“I just pay attention. I read the comments. I always try to make sure I give them the things that they love.”
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Expanding his international reach with the release of his breakout and RIAA Gold certified single “Nobody Has To Know” in 2015, Kranium understands the importance of keeping his music authentic and true to his early beginnings.

Born Kemar Donaldson in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the 29-year-old artist, now living in New York, has a wonderfully vibrant sound and collaborations with heavyweights like Ed Sheeran, Ty Dolla $ign, WizKid, and more in his back pocket. Naturally charismatic and always thinking about his fans’ tastes, Kranium, an Atlantic Records signee, blends the sounds of R&B, dancehall and reggae with the zeal of an ever-evolving New York music scene.

“It’s a mixture,” Kranium tells me of his sound. “I try [to] do different genres. We are all influenced by our environments. Me being Jamaican and moving to New York; it’s a melting pot of cultures. I’m able to do the raw patois and the English—I’m talking about things I experienced here and back home. It’s a fusion of cultures; that’s my sound.”

We hear this fusion across Kranium’s discography. The sprawling 2019 effort, Midnight Sparks—with features from AJ Tracey, Burna Boy, and the aforementioned Ty Dolla—is every bit as emotive as his 2015 EP Rumors, with an added touch of growth and special attention paid to structure and pacing. The warping “In Charge” pulses nicely beneath Kranium’s sensual vocal. Meanwhile, the gentle movement of closer “Settle Down” underscores the maturity of the track’s titular message. Across Midnight Sparks, we’re treated to a soundscape mimicking the thickness of a summer night—pensive, smirking, and grandiose.

His latest single, “Gal Policy,” follows suit and is proving to be a massive success with over six million YouTube views alone.

At the core of Kranium’s career, aside from deep grooves and honest lyricism, are his fans. That’s why Kranium has joined the Sweet platform: to give back to his fans. 

“I just pay attention,” Kranium explains. “I read the comments. I always try to make sure I give them the things they love. If I did a record and they loved that song, and I try something else, and it’s a different sound… I go back to the drawing board and give them exactly what they like. They never lie, so… I give them what they want to hear.”

Kranium continues: “Your fans [are] what you got. The fans [are] what [makes] your music keep going. I appreciate [them] because you got some fans that will literally fight for your life. If someone says something, they’re ready to take them on. Fans are important. Keep them in tune and let them know, whatever you’re doing, you see them. They wanna be appreciated. I always make sure to reply as much as possible. And go on my [Instagram] Live and do stories as much as possible.”

Tonight, Kranium will be hosting a Sugar Rush on the Sweet app, a listening party where he’ll be interacting with fans one-on-one and sharing his latest tunes. 

Enjoy our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, and make sure to join Kranium tonight on the Sweet app.

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DJBooth: When did you realize music was the only thing you wanted to do in life?

Kranium: Since I was nine or 10. I [got] most of my first “training,” I would call it, going to church with my grandmother. That’s where the whole confidence of being on stage and trying to play instruments actually started. Naturally, I was always trying to be a part of the [church] choir.

What’s your favorite thing about being an artist?

Being able to share my thoughts and say what I want to say, and be free with it. The whole creative process of it, I love the most. To go and create stuff, literally, out of my mind! My real fans know that most of my songs were created as freestyles, off the top no writing prior to recording.

What did it feel like when that first person rocked with your music?

It feels like… Oh, my God! It feels like you accomplished the world. Every artist goes through the process of trying to find the right record. So, when my first record [had people saying], “I love this sound, it’s amazing…” it’s an amazing feeling. If I do it [once], I can do it again. That’s where the music comes from, the confidence [when] my fans love [the music].

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a mixture. I try [to] do different genres. We are all influenced by our environments. Me being Jamaican and moving to New York; it’s a melting pot of cultures. I’m able to do the raw patois and the English—I’m talking about things I experienced here and back home. It’s a fusion of cultures; that’s my sound.

How do you make sure you stay connected with your fans?

I just pay attention. I read the comments. I always try to make sure I give them the things they love. If I did a record and they loved that song, and I try something else, and it’s a different sound… I go back to the drawing board and give them exactly what they like. They never lie, so… I give them what they want to hear.

What’s the best fan interaction you’ve had so far?

I had a girl once—it was in London if I’m not mistaken—and she was a fan-fan. She knew records from when I just started. I was testing her, singing some records off the top of my head I remembered. She was singing everything word-for-word. She was like, “I know everything!” I was going way back from my first mixtape days, and she was singing the hooks. It was amazing.

You’ve joined the Sweet platform to give back to fans, why is that important to you?

Your fans [are] what you got. The fans [are] what [makes] your music keep going. I appreciate [them] because you got some fans that will literally fight for your life. If someone says something, they’re ready to take them on. Fans are important. Keep them in tune and let them know, whatever you’re doing, you see them. They wanna be appreciated. I always make sure to reply as much as possible. And go on my [Instagram] Live and do stories as much as possible.

In the digital age, when it feels like there are endless options, what’s the best way you’ve found to secure fans for life?

That’s a good question! I’m just a raw artist. That’s why fans—my fans—really stick with me because they know… I’m true to everything. I keep it as real as possible, and they love it. I always give them exactly what they want.

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