Lakna: From Griot heritage to the pop scene (Exclusive Interview)

Lakna : De l'héritage Griot à la scène pop (Interview Exclusive)

For Lakna, music is above all a family affair. Imbued with this universe since she was little, the young singer from Switzerland has chosen to take back the reins of this tradition and offers us a subtle blend of soul, pop and R&B. His new project UTC-0 comes out this Friday and already resonates as an ode to self-acceptance! Meet this talent that nothing can stop.

You come from a family of Burkinabè musicians, where your father excelled as a Griot. Beyond the passion transmitted, was music an obvious vocation for you?

It was obvious, but there was still a moment when I considered becoming a lawyer (haha). I even started university studies, but music has always been an integral part of my life since my childhood and it has taken up a very important place, but from a positive point of view!

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Did they give you any advice to better understand the profession? Currently, what role do they play in your career?

There was no discussion about whether “being an artist is hard or good”, because our relationship to art is very spiritual, so we don't really see it as a profession. . Yes, it's a profession, but it's something that takes center stage and that's normal. I have a very intimate connection with music and it's true that I don't really seek people's opinions, neither that of my father, nor that of my mother. I show a finished product and observe the reaction. We can't create something that truly reflects us if we ask too much for other people's opinions.

Who are the musical artists who rocked your childhood?

Honestly, I listened to everything. I listened to a lot of soul music, especially Donny Hathaway and Jazmine Sullivan. I also listened to Fatoumata Diawara, she’s a Malian singer, Pauline Croze… Lots of Diam’s! It was really a mix of influences…

Tsunami album cover

Do you think that determination, embodied in particular by artists like Makala, Danitsa, Slimka, is a key quality in Switzerland to overcome borders and stand out within the French-speaking scene? Do you feel like you have to work twice as hard as French artists to resonate more?

I think we have to work a lot more, because we are not in the most important part of Switzerland. The largest part is German Switzerland. From a cultural point of view, you have to fight, you have to want to sacrifice a lot of things and I think that's something that we Swiss have in common. Me, I'm younger than all these artists so they're really my elders, they're a bit like our spearhead! Given that we have several languages, our musical culture can seem very American, with French influences, but also Berlin ones. That's why it gives this thing where we say that the Swiss make music that's a bit weird (haha)!


In several of your titles, you talk about mental health. Is it important to you that listeners see themselves in the words you say?

I write sounds that speak to my own experience and I think that the closer you are to what you're experiencing, the more it can resonate with other experiences, but I'm not trying for it to speak to a person in particular. I create music that makes me feel good and helps me heal. If it resonates, that's cool, but if it doesn't, that's okay.

UTC-0 is the name of your project which will be released very soon. Can you tell us more about this new opus?

It's a project that I did in Marseille with a producer called Fred, he is a member of the group Labo Klandestino. At that time, what touched me the most was everything that was linked to my mixed race, to people's perception when we belong to boxes, so I really wanted to write about that. I named the project UTC-0 in reference to the Burkina Faso time zone. Subsequently, I will make an EP in response to UTC-0, titled GMT+1, which is the time zone of Switzerland. I really wanted to come up with a very organic sound, something very musical, because I have this love of live music. I love concerts and I find it important to be with musicians. Myself, I took jazz lessons, music theory, etc. I really want to come with something soulful and contrast it with something opposite in the next project.

Has music helped you forge your own identity?

I think so, music has helped me a lot, because I see at the moment that things are much better. The fact of accepting my mixed race, of not leaning to one side and of having a truly mixed culture. I'm really connected to my family in Burkina Faso, so I don't feel too uprooted about it. Also assume that sometimes there are things that I'm not aware of, both in my black and white culture... It makes me feel good to just be authentic.

If you had to choose between the stage and the studio, which would you choose?

Before I would have always said the stage because I always wanted to make music to be on stage, but at the moment, I really want to go to the studio! So I'll give you 50/50.

Your visuals are always very careful and thoughtful. How do you collaborate with creative teams to visually translate the essence of your music and what importance do you attribute to aesthetics in the representation of your art?

I always work with the same person, it’s Luca Perrin. He directs all my videos and he's really become my best friend after working with him. For me, it's important that it's really polished. I love his way of filming because it has this very vintage touch that I like. I'm also in the production business, I'll come up with ideas, I make mood boards, we talk about them... We ping-pong ideas a bit and I love it. I find it so good to work with other creatives.

What is the message you want to convey through your music?

I talk about my life and it's true that it can be a little special: my father sings in the street, my boyfriend is a trans-activist influencer, it's true that it's a little unusual, but it's is my standard. I really experience a lot of things and I think that having a slightly more global vision than someone who is sedentary can create connections. It's not even a desire, but I notice that there is really diversity in my concerts and I love that. I hope this community will grow and continue.

Which artist would you dream of sharing a song with?

I would really like to do something with Mathieu Chedid (haha)! I don't listen to it much but I feel it! He's crazy, I like crazy people too much. Otherwise, Disiz... But I really think I would make a good duo with M (haha)!

The sound that you are listening to on repeat at the moment and that we absolutely must stream?

At the moment, I'm listening to Rounhaa's album a lot. If I had to choose just one title, it would be MOOD 0, really, I love it!

Thank you very much Lakna for this moment, we can't wait to listen to UTC-0! In the meantime, you can always follow his news on his Instagram ( itslordlakna ) and listen to Sans Écran , his latest single featuring Malcolm:



Written by Camille Noel Djaleb