After taking hit reality TV show The Voice by storm, musician Kenza Blanka continues to dominate in the limelight, currently working on a new album titled ‘I am what I am’ which has already received praise on both ‘BBC Radio’ and ‘BBC Introducing.
Blanka originally appeared on the UK’s version of ‘The Voice’ in 2019 as part of the ‘Blind Auditions’ in week 6. Since her incredible performance, which wowed judges Olly Murs and will.i.am as she performed in 3 languages whilst donning clothing from her own brand, Blanka is now using her extraordinary talents to bring awareness to mental health and wellbeing.
Trained as a mental health nurse, Blanka’s music is naturally focused on positivity around mental health, self-love, self-expression, identity, and race, all whilst incorporating Arabic, French, and English languages and unique influences from Arabic/African sounds.
It’s a pleasure to interview Kenza here.
Describe a typical day for you?
I wake up at 6am (well, I try to). Meditation is the first thing I do, I have pre-recorded affirmations I use to help set me up with a positive outlook and mind-set for the day so I listen tot hose. I try to say thank you for this day and my life on awakening every morning. This stops me from complaining about getting out of a warm bed into a cold room. My brain works much better in the morning which is why I try to get an early start. I have a light breakfast and then stretch my body and bones haha ! so I’m warmed up for the day. I then go digital checking emails and catch up on any outstanding work. Evenings are reserved for creativity time: writing music, recording music in my home studio, reading inspiring books or watching TED Talks.
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
Moving to London as a 17 year old with no money in the bank and making a successful career in both mental health and public health, and being a successful independent music artist. I have lived in my car, in a landlord’s refurbished garage and a refurbished shed. I struggled from job to job until I completed university. I then dedicated my time to the NHS and advocating for mental health, creating music in the evenings. I am just grateful for the hardships I went through, the debt, the homelessness and the lessons learned. My biggest achievement is getting through all of that and being able to tell the tale.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Hand gel !!! A hand cream, hairbrush, a million green tea sachets picked up from hotel rooms, face cream, argan oil, a mini Buddha which is my good luck charm, way too many tissues due to hayfever attacks, and a ton of things I don’t need in there. I need a smaller bag to be honest as it’s ridiculously heavy.
What are your ambitions in life?
My passion is music so I would say to become a successful musician and be able to make music full time and earn money from it. I want to ensure every lyric I write and all the music I publicly release is inspirational and changes people’s lives. Music has changed my life: artists like Bob Marley, Prince, Elton john, Beyoncé, Musiq Soulchild, Teedra Moses have impacted my life. I want to impact on other’s lives. I’m also filming and producting a 5 part series on identity, self-worth, self-love and mental health and plan to use visuals and audio to encourage a wider audience to start acceptig and loving themselves more, so I and in turn, they can spread positivity and pride. I also have a clothing brand, song and album entitled “I am what I am” that I’ll be sharing. I want to start an empowering movement using this motto.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
Be more thankful.
The music industry can be cut-throat and you can’t trust every person that sells you a dream.
I wish I’d known that when you’re true to yourself and release authentic music and build an authentic brand, you will progress and succeed. The moment I embraced my uniqueness and stopped wanting to sound and look like everyone else, my career started to take off.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I see a successful musician touring the world and inspiring others. I want to write a self-published book. I would have also completed a short film series on empowerment, be a clothing brand owner, an entrepreneur and finally, a philanthropist. I would like to build schools and create opportunities in areas which need support. I hope to also continue advocating for mental health issues.
I’ll be very busy that’s for sure!
What advice would you give a budding musician?
Study yourself; be true to yourself, create music that represents who you truly are and what you really want to say.
Don’t be a copy artist, even if you have some success, if you want to strive for long term success, find a genre and a niche which is different and unique.
Learn your trade and practise regularly, any art form takes practice, tweaking and tuning. If music truly is your passion, you will need to work hard so you keep improving and honing your skills.
If relevant, what advice would you give a first time mother?
Although I am not a mother, I worked as a mental health nurse in a Mother and Baby Unit, which supports new mothers sufferig with mental health conditions post birth such as post-natal depression, post-partum psychosis and anxiety. What I learned in the 8 years I dedicated to helping these mothers is that the first key to recovery, is to not be so hard on yourself. Although you can accept advice, you and your baby need to find your own routine so learn and enjoy your baby’s personality and discover what works for you both. There is no such thing as a perfect mother, enjoy the blessing of a baby and don’t compare yourself to other mothers or worry that your house is a mess.
It might also sound obvious but try to sleep in those first few weeks as much as you can. If you have someone who can support you, sleep when they help. If you’re a single parent, sleep whenever the baby sleeps and leave all distractions aside.
What we found is, when the new parents don’t sleep enough during those the first few weeks, the mood starts to decline.
Finally, happiness is…
Happiness, true happiness for me is an inner quality: something you need to achieve with yourself internally.
It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy.
If you have everything the world can give but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.
Finding yourself, being grateful for what you have and the life you have now, will lead to happiness. I don’t believe happiness can be found externally, no matter how many possessions you own or money in the bank. Happiness comes from within.
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