Artist You Need To Know: Sinkane

emilytreadgold #2, Features

Sinkane’s music is so addicting it transports you to another place. Think your favorite vacation spot paired with a colorful drink in your hand. We caught up with the Sudan native at SXSW ahead of his U.S. tour dates to learn about what inspires him and, of course, the bats. 

Tell us about your start in music. 

Sinkane: I played spoons at a school event in pre-school. I started playing drums in the 6th grade after my friend Matt approached me to join his band. I was 12 years old when I played my first show and I haven’t looked back since.

Your sound is so groovy and poppy all the same - how did you come to create your sound and where do you draw your inspiration from?

Sinkane: I grew up enjoying punk/hardcore music as well as MTV hip hop and R&B. I watched TRL every day after school as a teenager. I also saw every single Q and Not U show in Ohio from 1999 - 2004. My Dad introduced me to jazz with “Bitches Brew” and “In A Silent Way” and my Mom is a really big Beatles and Bob Marley fan. So it was all there for me. 

These days I draw inspiration from life experiences. There’s always new music that inspires me. But I think what I’m going through in the present moment makes me want to write a song.

What is the one thing you're most looking forward to at SXSW?

Sinkane: The bats!

How would you say your background and upbringing shaped you and your sound today?

Sinkane: I, like many kids from East Africa, grew up moving a lot. A foreigner from a foreign land. This allowed me to meet many different kinds of people and experience many different cultures from a young age. It’s influenced the way that I look at the world, eat, and make music. It’s allowed me to find commonalities among seemingly disparate things. Ask any of my friends and they’ll say that I have really weird food pairings like hot sauce on ice cream or peanut butter and jelly fried chicken sandwiches. It’s kind of like that with music for me…

Who are artists you listen to that inspire you? 

Sinkane: Sault. Brittany Howard. L’Rain. Meshell Ndegeocello. Corrine Bailey Rae. 

What is one piece of advice you'd give your younger self?

Sinkane: Take your time. Trust yourself. The people that you are working with are not your enemies. Don’t be afraid of conflict. Understand that this is a long game. It’s ok if your decisions don’t always align with everyone else’s. See them through and reflect on where they took you. Failure is part of the process.

What is something that fans don't know about you?

Sinkane: I was the grand champion of my Elementary school’s yo-yo contest in the 6th grade.

Keep up with Sinkane on Instagram and Spotify.

Samantha Fong

"At 15 years old, I begged my mom to take me to Walmart to get Taylor Swift's debut deluxe album and I never turned back. This was my very first entry point to stan fandom. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee I was exposed to a ton of music - from rapping 3 6 Mafia to bopping to Justin Timberlake's solo discography. Now, in LA have a day job working in nonprofit development, but by night, I'm a full-fledged fangirl. I'll listen to generally any genre, but I'm a sucker for a good pop song. If you ever need someone to scream sing Carly Rae Jepsen's E·MO·TION with, I'm your girl. No, I still have not gotten over the One Direction hiatus. Please continue to respect my privacy. Twitter : samfonggg, Instagram : samantha_fong"