On the 3rd and 24th of July, I visited Kingswood Arts to take part the Make Space artist residency, where a group of young creatives were given the opportunity to collaborate and create an editorial for three music artists.
On the first day I met my team: Ginnsoul (artist), Kassandra Gordon (producer), Ali Mohamed (videographer), Khaya Clarke and Lattina Da’Costa (photographers) and Garmai Washington (set designer). I soon discovered they had been working with each other for a few weeks prior and were pretty set on the initial idea they had – to depict the artist as royalty, with costume and set design heavily influenced by Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America. However, as the residency progressed and they got to know Ginnsoul and his music on a deeper level, the idea became more grounded, more real. It went from being an outward showcase of his upbringing to focusing on his transition in the music industry; from going down the well-trodden path with highs, lows and "bubblegum pop" style to doing music independently with his group Recordheads and finding his own style. Here I witnessed the importance of collaboration and the beauty that follows when you give yourself room to experiment.
The first thing I noticed when I met Ginnsoul was how interested he was in those around him.
He asked questions about people’s interests, what music they liked, and about their work. From our very first interaction his gentle personality shone through. Yet when the second day came around and it was time for him to do his photoshoot, it was clear that he belongs in front of the camera. The gentleness took a back seat as he channelled his charisma, confidence, and character on set.
Picture this: clad in a stylish leather jacket, a relaxed mesh top, and baggy pants, Ginnsoul is a walking canvas of creativity. As he leans back on the couch, exuding a magnetic aura, one can't help but be drawn into his enigmatic presence. The air is charged with a stillness as he sits, waiting for our interview to begin. Meet Ginnsoul, the 28-year-old British-Ugandan artist who effortlessly blends fashion and expression.
C: First of all, how’re you feeling?
GS: I feel good.
C: Describe how you feel in three words.
GS: Grateful, inspired and gassed.
C: Why gassed?
GS: Seeing the people behind this and working with them. This collective effort going on right now based on some of my ideas and them bringing it to life just shows that everything is possible. It’s gotten me gassed for the future.
C: Interesting. So where do you see yourself in the future?
GS: I see myself being taken to the next level – my music being played everywhere and doing more videos. I never think of it like I’m blowing up, because obviously everyone wants to be successful. I just want to create something I’m happy with.
Ginnsoul wears Bratlanice Vintage and Contemporary Wardrobe
Ginnsoul wears Bratlanice Vintage and Contemporary Wardrobe
C: Would you say that’s your definition of success? Freedom in whatever you want to do creatively?
GS: Yeah and being heard as well.
C: If you were being heard right now, what do you want to say to people listening?
GS: That’s a very good question… I’d say, “just take it in.” I have no control over how people perceive me or what I create. Everyone takes things in differently, so just take it in and hopefully I play the role in helping you out in any way, whether it’s escapism or feeling a different range of emotions.
C: Do you write your own songs?
GS: Yeah. I do work with other people as well. I’m a part of a collective known as Recordheads. There are two other guys – one of them is my first cousin and the other is a family friend.
C: Tell us about yourself as an artist. Who are you?
GS: I don’t like to put myself in a box, really. I’m a singer. I write, and model on the side as well. I was born in St. Thomas’ hospital but got sent to Uganda when I was 7.
Ginnsoul wears Bratlanice Vintage, Contemporary Wardrobe and Cache Studio
Ginnsoul wears Bratlanice Vintage, Contemporary Wardrobe and Cache Studio
C: Wow. During your formative years? Did you understand what was happening?
GS: All I remember is going for a wedding and not coming back. Funnily enough, it was the wedding of the parents of my cousin I sing with – JI. I blame him.
C: If you could sum up your time in Uganda as a 7-year-old, what would you say?
GS: Not gonna lie, it was hell. Everything was different. I was disconnected from my parents. I didn’t like it at first, but then you get used to it. It made me who I am today. I’m independent because of it. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything from it.
C: Like baptism by fire? Do you believe in God?
GS: Absolutely. Everything happens for a reason.
C: How was your experience during boarding school? Was it hell as well?
GS: Yeah. The first boarding school I was sent to was a proper Ugandan boarding school. There were kids from all over Uganda. They treat you different if they notice that you’re from outside. I dressed differently. I talked different. In Uganda we have this thing where you must respect everyone older than you. It doesn’t work like that in my mind. I won’t be disrespectful, but I believe respect is earned.
C: What main things did you take away from your time during boarding school?
GS: Independence. Resilience. Not conforming to a crowd just because everybody is doing the same thing. I wasn’t a bad kid or anything, but I dressed the way I wanted to dress. I did what I wanted to do.
Xanthus wear Rhys Ellis, Ginnsoul wears his own Kanzu
Xanthus wear Rhys Ellis, Ginnsoul wears his own Kanzu
C: Would you say that mindset affects your music style now and your fashion?
GS: 100%. My dress sense is out there. I’m not afraid to try different things. I just do it. It’s the same as the other boys in the collective. We’re not afraid to be ourselves.
C: Would you say that’s important for the fashion and music industry?
GS: Very important. If you come into this field being like everybody else or following the crowd, you’re screwed.
C: Tell us about how your fashion influences your music style.
GS: I like a lot of leather. I’m inspired by 90s R&B – Jodeci, H-Town, all of that. I love Timbs, Doc Martens. With the music, it’s the same thing. As I’m slowly starting to do music separately, I would say I’m still discovering myself as an artist. I know what I want to do but I don’t know how to describe it yet. I don’t know what genre I might do in the next two years; you know? Because anyone can sing.

Ginnsoul wears jacket by BVL studios and jewellery by Kassandra Gordon London

Ginnsoul and Xanthus wear Cache Studios, Bratlanice Vintage and Contemporary Wardrobe

C: When did you start singing?
GS: When I was 3 weeks old, my mother wrote in a book that I was humming along to a washing machine. I didn’t believe it till she showed me it. I’m a part of a musical family, (it skipped my parents). I started taking it seriously once I was 15.
C: What artists do you look up to and why?
GS: Growing up it was Michael Jackson. My dad loved him. He used to have the tapes, the movies, everything. Being a kid, I just kind of copied him. But it’s not only about the music, it’s also about the mind of MJ. He stood out, he didn’t follow a crowd. It’s hard to summarise it but his journey is crazy. His transition from being in Jackson 5 to going solo is so interesting. His solo album was the biggest album from a black artist. That’s incredible. You can tell he thought everything through. Prince, Baby Face, D’Angelo, other great artists that are the same and think about everything surrounding their work. I like people like that. The process behind being an artist is something that can be missed if you don’t research it.
C: Do you believe you have a responsibility to be a role model for children, people and others that look up to you?
GS: I believe so. I try not to swear in my songs because of it. But it’s art, isn’t it? Someone like Tupac, you can listen to his music, but you don’t necessarily have to do the things he raps about. I don’t know what it would feel like to have that responsibility because at the end of the day, we’re human. When I blow, I hope to remain the same. Maybe then I’ll have a proper answer.
C: Coming to the close of our interview. How would you like be remembered?
GS: Just as a guy that wanted to create. A guy that had a dream and pursued it with resilience. I want to do my best and give my best. All I want to do with my music is make people happy. Leave all your troubles and escape.
Project Coordinators Terna Jogo, D.wiafe and Adrian Wood (Content Lab)
Artist Ginnsoul
Photography Khaya Clarke and Lattina DaCosta 
Video Ali Mohamed 
Producer Kassandra Lauren Gordon
Love Interest Xanthus Peters
MUA Vanessa Nakalanzi
Hair Oyinkansola Fujah from Celebraids
Stylist Feya Lanice
Stylist Assistant Nicole Lloyd
Set Design Garmai Washington
Set Design Assistant Esther Oluwaremilekun
Interview Christine Ubochi
Flag Artwork Tamia Stone-Martin
Gaffer Kushagra Aanand
BTS Photography Ana Blumenkron, D.wiafe @_d.wiafe and Adrian Wood
BTS Video Kushagra Aanand
Graphic Design William Sousa
Special Thanks Jack Hartshorn and Martin Bamidele at Kingswood House, the Kitroom and Max Hougton at LCC
  and Hakeem Osman, Gabija Morkunaite and Maria Marion at Capture One

Designers Bratlanice Vintage, Kassandra Gordon London, Village Boy, Contemporary Wardrobe, Rhys Ellis, Cache Studios, BVL
Supported by Capture One &  EDI, PARC, T&L at LCC
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