For the second installment of our #HonourYourCreativity campaign, we sat down with Social Strategist Ekke Kanda.

Ekke specializes in media buying and paid advertising at AntiSocial Solutions. But in his free time, he channels his creativity into his music career.

We asked Ekke about his music life and how being a rapper helps him unleash his creativity.

How long have you been making music and how did you get started?

Ekke Kanda: I’ve been making music officially since I was 17. The way I got started was in highschool there was a program called Adobe Soundbooth and one of my friends had recorded vocals over a beat. I heard it and thought: I want to do that! I can do that. So I asked him where he got the program, downloaded it that night, and started experimenting with it and writing raps. I recorded one song that night and I showed it to people at school and everyone was really encouraging. The public response is really what kept me going with it. Since then, I’ve gotten better with the music programs and have been recording consistently.

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How do you find creative inspiration for your music?

EK: Significant experiences throughout my life really inspire me. I grew up in Ghana, Africa, and so transitioning to a life in Canada was a big change. As well, I get inspiration from the media. TV, movies, music, anything that is thought-provoking. When I hear something that speaks to me and I think it’s really dope, it makes me want to start experimenting. The first time I heard electric guitar with 808’s it blew my mind.

How do you integrate your creativity into your role with AntiSocial?

EK: As a creative, when I’m working in a creative space I have the freedom to experiment with ideas and try things out. In media buying, in particular, that process is part of my best practices. Something I really enjoy about my job is that I get to constantly try new things. Usually, when a client comes on board we begin by creating a hypothesis of their ad campaign, we set goals, and then we do testing. We test different creative assets, different copy and it gives you an opportunity to think of different ways to try the same thing. That’s what I do when I make music, I always try to find new ways to use my voice or instruments that are different than what I’ve done before or what I’ve heard.

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Tell us a story about your favourite performance. Who was there? Why was it special?

EK: My favourite performance was at a spot called 333 in East Vancouver. It was a small venue, literally a garage next to an auto shop, you could probably fit a hundred people there. It was one of the earlier performances of my career and I think what really made it special was the crowd. Everyone who was there was into the local underground hip-hop scene and lyricism, which is what I like to focus on. The venue was packed with people and everyone knew the lyrics and was singing along with me, there was an encore, it was a really dope night with great energy.

Rap is writing, rap is rhyme. Do you consider yourself a poet?

EK: I absolutely consider myself a poet. It’s incredible how many different ways there are to express yourself by manipulating the English language. I was always into English in school and so when I started rapping I used a lot of literary devices in my work. Alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc. Rap is a very pure and straightforward form of expression. That’s what really speaks to me, it’s an unfiltered way that an artist can express who they are, what they are thinking, and what they are feeling without any kind of filter.

Why is it important for you to be creative? What do you get out of it?

EK: For me, it’s an outlet. It’s a way for me to express things that I think, that I feel and a way to deal with things internally. It can be therapeutic, definitely. If I am going through anything in my life that is emotionally trying, or that confused me, or bums me out, I can express it through music. That’s always been something that is very fulfilling for me, to have a way to channel my thoughts and see something come to life from inside my mind.

Describe your creative work in one sentence.

EK: My creative work is eclectic and draws from everything that I am inspired by.