Kah-Lo | Extreme Bitterness, Thrilling Gratification

The Nigerian singer/songwriter gives us ‘Pain/Pleasure’

Written by

Leslie Jensen

Photographed by

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Grammy-nominated Nigerian singer-songwriter Kah-Lo has released her anticipated debut album Pain/Pleasure via Epic Records. The album arrives following previously released hit singles ‘Runaway’, ‘GD Woman’, ‘Karma’, and ‘fund$’. 

The long-awaited debut full-length from one of dance music’s most accomplished singer-songwriters, Pain/Pleasure is the culmination of Kah-Lo’s experiences throughout her career, cataloging everything from extreme bitterness to thrilling gratification. Pain/Pleasure is all about retribution for Kah-Lo; it’s a story about facing those who have wronged her and coming out on top in spite of them, regardless of the obstacles and the pain she’s faced in her quest for pleasure.

Blending her afro and R&B roots with her tendency towards house and dance-pop beats, Pain/Pleasure incorporates the various musical flavors that have followed Kah-Lo throughout her career. Pain/Pleasure encapsulates Kah-Lo’s journey as a solo artist and serves as a showcase of her many vocal and songwriting talents. Over fourteen tracks, Kah-Lo flaunts her genre-blending habits as she continues to be a leading voice diversifying dance music and representing a new wave of African electronic artists.  Flaunt asked Kah-Lo to give us some insight behind the new album & inspirations.

What is the story behind your debut album Pain/Pleasure?

It’s an album celebrating the intensity of both emotions.

Can you tell us about your songwriting process?

I’m usually lyrics first before I set it to melody. Sometimes the melody doesn’t come, so I defer to talking.

What do you hope listeners take away from your album?


Your recent music videos – ‘GD Woman’, ‘Karma’, and ‘fund$’ – all carry themes of female empowerment. How does this translate to the themes of Pain/Pleasure?

The album is filled with tracks I needed when I was feeling very negative, so I needed to write tracks that flipped the narrative on that. It comes off as empowering when I do that. 

You previewed Pain/Pleasure with a new party series that saw you perform rare DJ sets. Why did you choose to do DJ sets instead of your usual live performances?

I wanted people to bond with the tracks off their own memories, not ones I had tried to entertain them with. Getting people to listen to 10 unheard tracks is much easier to do when they respond themselves on the dance floor. 

At a time when amapiano and afrobeat music are on the rise, you’re carving your own lane with a genre-fluid approach. How do you feel this has set you apart? 

It has. I’ve always been in my own lane, and I made peace with that a long time ago. 

Your fashion aesthetic and personal style has evolved since you first stepped on the scene in 2015. How would you describe your fashion evolution? 

I started embracing and appreciating my femininity and being soft a few years ago. whereas, I thought to be badass, you had to have this tough leather exterior. I’ve realized being tough, feminine and soft, can go together. 

Who are some of your favorite fashion designers right now?

Oscar De La Renta, Schirapelli, Lisa Folawiyo, and By Far makes the best handbags 

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Kah-Lo, Music, Leslie Jenson