Next Wave #1090: Terra Kin

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Glaswegian singer-songwriter Terra Kin may have just caught your attention with their debut EP ‘Too Far Gone’, but the 23-year-old is more than just a familiar face amongst Scotland’s thriving music scene. Of course, the modesty of Terra Kin cannot claim to be a key member of Glasgow’s jazz community, but this is only because the artist is vibrant across multiple scenes and sounds. “I never really give myself that kind of title anyways, I feel like you have to earn that sort of thing. I think it’s such a vibrant place to be creative.”

With jazz pioneers Norman Willmore and Liam Shortall producing tracks from the EP, there is a melting pot of sounds at play that jam to the beat of jazz, ambient and soul. But as Terra Kin points out, why put a label on it? “I actually hate any kind of categories, genre or labels, even in terms of my identity. It’s just kind of like, does it have to be this spelt-out thing? I feel like we’re all just a product of our surroundings.”

And that’s exactly what ‘Too Far Gone’ captures. Terra Kin holds a mirror up to the self whilst falling in love…. or is it lust? “I guess it’s trying to navigate what love is. Everyone always tells you, ‘you know, when you know’, and all this stuff, but it’s so easy to get caught up in it.” ‘Liquid Love’ opens the EP with the falling-in-lust stage — the moment when the rose-tinted glasses make an appearance and the drunkenness kicks in. “The main lyric of that song is ‘just don’t tell me that you love me because I’ll push you away’ because I think I definitely struggle with being loved or being in that kind of thing”, they tail off in this gesture of vulnerability. 

Terra Kin uncovers the layers of what it is to be human and is not afraid to discuss the uncomfortable parts we tend to hide. There is a search for reality amidst the soulful haze their voice exhales. Where ‘Liquid Low’ leads you into the fog, ‘Shadows’ is the dream itself. What Terra Kin describes as the infatuation stage – one where reality is questioned and the senses are in overdrive. “Still to this point, I’ve been in and out of many different flings and relationships, but I don’t know if I’ve actually ever been in love and I feel like each song on the EP is kind of a stage for that.” 

Next Wave #1090: Terra Kin

However, ‘Flames’ is the definitive track here, which was released alongside a video shot in real-time with two of Terra Kin’s closest friends shaving the artist’s hair off. It is an intense depiction of letting a part of yourself go that has faithfully grown with you. They explain, “I was just very much trying so hard not to cry. It was all very intentionally soft because I didn’t want it to look like an initiation or scary thing. I wanted it to be like a phoenix or shedding moment.” Watching the video is unexpectedly emotional as it creeps up on you until your eyes can’t be pulled away. It isn’t painful to watch, it’s beautiful. A closed, intimate moment between friends that is spoken through the soulful words of Terra Kin. They add, “Hair is one of the most obvious physical embodiments of times. It has physically been attached to me and I’m just taking it off.” The track itself is what the singer describes as a conclusive end to realising the relationship maybe isn’t what it seemed. 

It’s this intensity that Terra Kin brings into every live performance. From supporting the likes of KOKOROKO, Arlo Parks, and Thundercat, to playing at this year’s Connect festival and appearing on Fred again…’s 2021 record, ‘Actual Life 2’, Terra Kin is at home with the crowds. They beam through the words: “I think the human aspect of that is just that it feels like it’s one of the last few things that we have that’s really pure.” 

Terra Kin creates moments of intimacy, ones that we can all relate to but find difficult to address in reality. ‘Too Far Gone’ reflects on a universal experience in a personal setting and is something Terra Kin accepts that once released into the world, will takes on a life of its own. They question what our understanding of love is. But maybe it’s more about the process and less about the answer. And making music is a process itself – one that Terra Kin can’t imagine being without: “The power of how a sound can make you feel or how words from someone else’s mouth can feel like they’ve come from your own, is just the most beautiful thing in the world, to be honest.”

Words: Maeve Hannigan
Photo Credit: Kai Gillespie

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