Khandie: Living Young, Wild, & Ambitious

”Young, Wild and Free.” The 3-phrase title of Wiz Khalifa’s 2011 hit is a perfect descriptive fit for Khandie, one of the female members of 5quad – a group of 5 millennial artists set-up by iconic video director, Clarence Peters, under his Capital Hills Company. Khandie is a humor-loving friend and a fascinating chat partner. Watching her interact with friends, watching them bant during a smile-full blunt-sharing session and chatting with her for long minutes helped establish the nature of her character and allowed me peep into her expanding artistic path.

The petite-size Khandie wore a tube made of a fine pattern of neutral colors, showing a bit of her fair skin under an intensely harsh Lagos sun, which she justifies with the Uber-Black designer shade she had on. She had closed from her Piano class to meet up with me at a rendezvous, which seems like her regular place to chill. “I am just one week into it (the piano lesson)”, she told me, speaking briefly about her love for the instrument and ebulliently about how her music will be better with the new knowledge.

The 23-year old, a soul singer at heart, is experiencing an evolution in her craft, which allows her function as an all-round artist. She said, “I am actually a soul singer but over the years, because of growth and learning, I will say I am an RnB, Hip-hop, Afro-soul, soul singer.” Her desire for creative freedom causes her to explore the wide range of sonic possibilities with her music. Like NF and like Lecrae who rejects being boxed into one genre or two even, Khandie is a genre rebel. She said, “most times I don’t like to classify myself into a genre because I can sing anything.” To put it quite simply, her primary artistic desire is to be free to make any music style per time. She summed it up in the statement: “basically I am singer.”

Listening to “his and hers” –   a cover version of 21Savage’s hit “a lot” – confirms the intriguing formless of her style. The expressive singer breathed soul into the trap record. The song, which she said was originally supposed to be “a pretty girl song”, turns out to be a two-side confession of the intrinsic problems facing attractive and youthful ladies, and the challenges of being a young man with a life still largely undecided. “It is basically talking about the problems that pretty girls go through. It is like saying ‘yeah you are pretty but you still have shit’”, Khandie revealed the idea behind her verse on the song.

On MIA, the first material off the forthcoming 5quad project, Khandie is the smooth, sultry, and stirring voice on the groovy radio tune. Her sparse presence and pensive appearance in the video betrays her frisky personality. She revealed that herself and Waye wrote the song’s foundational words when they were assembled for the 5quad project, which, according to her, was meant to be a 1-year project that became too good to be ended so soon. Although when asked whether there was a contract extension, she cryptically said “5quad is still Squad.”

It is a popular belief some special breed of people carry music in their genes. The success of Femi Kuti in taking after his iconic father in the music profession makes him a good reference. Khandie is on a similar path. Her music background can be traced to her Ghanaian father who played in a band. Khandie herself started in a similar unit – first as a backup singer, and, then, as the lead. However, it was until she won a singing competition put together by FlyTime Entertainment in 2015, which led to her performing at the popular Rhythm Unplugged concert and meeting with Trey Songz. This event cemented her interest in coming out as a solo artist.

The music hustle for an up and comer can be tough, even when the talent is obvious. Without deep pockets to bankroll the hustle it could be hellish. Artists like Khandie who aren’t taking music as the gate-out card from the lower tier of the social strata, the ups and downs are experiences to relish. “I am loving it so much”, she told me. “I want to go so far. I want to use my music to influence a lot of things and people. (With my music), I want to spread the basic things of life like truth, light.”

This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets

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