Q&A with Binoy.

Cover Photo:
Binoy by Ryan Hutchins.

Rapidly emerging pop artist Binoy is one hell of a great storyteller, be it through casual conversations or diaristic lyricism.

And through his powerful storytelling, with the help of enchanting music production in his songs, Binoy explores the world around him.

As Binoy later reveals in this interview, he longs for change. He wants to explore, learn and grow both as an artist and person—fortunately, he’s been doing exactly that so far.

Binoy’s story is one of self-love and courage. Although it’s not an easy road at times, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter is on his way to take on the world and all it has got to offer.

What’s the backstory of Binoy the singer?

BINOY: My parents pushed both my sister and me to achieve as much as we could and then showered us in praise when we did. The decision to create this project for me was rooted in this belief system that I could achieve anything. That blind optimism is definitely a double-edged sword because on the one hand belief appears to be limitless but, in reality, this industry is so much more taxing than anyone can possibly warn.

When did you first get into making music?

BINOY: I started writing songs in high school but only for other people to sing. In university, I finally gathered the courage to start singing them myself and I think that really transformed the entire songwriting process for me. All of a sudden, I felt permission to dive deeper into my own stories and emotions—a process that has only become stronger over time.

What has inspired you to move from Kenya to London, and then from London to Los Angeles?

BINOY: Thinking back to each move, what I was craving above everything else was change. This is not to say that I didn’t have more to learn or experience in these places … but more that I felt ready to learn from a new environment. I haven’t seen my family in over a year due to COVID and, lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the person I would be if I had stayed with my sister in London after university or even moved back to Kenya instead of coming to LA. It’s impossible to even speculate about who that person would be but I will say that moving to California had a tremendous impact on me becoming more comfortable with my sexuality. Each move represented some lustful pursuit of freedom and, in all fairness, I feel more liberated now than I ever have before.

I’m extremely glad that moving to California has helped you become more comfortable with your sexuality. Would you say the journey towards that has been a tricky one?

BINOY: I think it’s a complicated and often an uncomfortable process for everyone who goes through it. … My first gay experiences felt dirty yet intriguing, and coming out the first few times to my close friends was like wading into scarily unfamiliar water. Every day I learn a little bit more about my own internalized homophobia and the beliefs that were wrongfully instilled in me but I feel like I’ve come so far from where I was just 5 years ago.

If you had to sum up your music in the form of a colour palette, what colours would you choose?

BINOY: That’s a great question. I think color palettes definitely define the eras of any artist’s music but maybe not their entire catalogue. My latest release, ‘Sunset Season’, is definitely full of warm orange and coppery yellow tones, as are the releases that preceded it. That being said, the music I’m writing now definitely has a somber softness to it, like pale blues and pinks that feel compellingly delicate.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

BINOY: The artist that made me want to start writing songs is Taylor Swift. Her music connects to fans in such a specific way, which makes you feel a multitude of emotions all at once. There’s complexity and nuance, which is what I strive to achieve with my writing. … Currently, I’m listening to a lot of alternative rock and pop, namely HAIM, Phoebe Bridgers, Conan Grey, and of course a lot of Taylor.

Since Taylor Swift is such a huge inspiration to you, what are some of your favourite tracks of hers?

BINOY: Each album of hers represents a particular time in my life and sonically they’re all different from one another. Her Jack Antonoff collaborations ‘Getaway Car’, ‘Cruel Summer’, and ‘august’ have probably been the most influential in terms of the sound that I currently strive for, and they all feature a distinct narrative storyline that really drives the song. Overall, I would say Folklore really broke new ground and expanded my definition of intimate songwriting as I’m sure it has done for a lot of musicians out there. I just think her discography is so vast and full of truly incredible, relatable music.

In your own words, what is ‘Sunset Season’ mainly about?

BINOY: Something I am very grateful for in life is the group of close friends I have. There are a few people from High School, a couple from university, and some that I have met here in LA. Those people have become my family, and are the ones I turn to for almost everything. The core idea behind Sunset Season is that even on the worst of days, looking up and seeing a beautiful sunset has a positive impact on your mood. That’s what those people are to me, my endless supply of unexpectedly beautiful sunset skies.

Your latest releases ‘Cruel Intentions’, ‘Silver Lake’ and ‘Sunset Season’ seem to tie into a new project of some sorts. What are you currently working on?

BINOY: As you can tell I love talking and even oversharing, but this is something I’ll keep to myself. I’ve grown and matured as an artist tremendously over the past 12 months and I’d like to think that this year will be special for me.

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