The Apple of Knysna’s eye
Karien Barnard (25), originally from Rheenendal in Knysna, is making huge soundwaves in the Mother City – without forgetting her hometown.
Better known as Kay Faith, she’s not your typical sound producer and audio engineer – but someone who is breaking stereotypes and reaching for the stars at the same time.
The former Knysna Primary School learner was named in Apple Music’s New Artist Spotlight for January 2018 following her debut release, In Good Faith.
Apple Music is one of the largest streaming platforms in the world. Each month the editors at Apple Music pick out the world’s hottest emerging talent.
For Kay, though, it was destiny calling, and no matter where she looked, she would be drawn into the industry like quicksand.
“I grew up in a very diverse environment. My father is a farmer in Knysna, and I became friends with farmworkers. Growing up I never saw race – everyone was the same no matter what colour they were,” she said, speaking to the Knysna-Plett Herald from her Cape Town home.
Her unwavering attitude towards openness would in the years that followed allow her to soak up all types of music that the world had to offer.
“My brother is 10 years older than me and he would often play music in the car, everything ranging from The Beach Boys to Missy Elliot. I knew then how much I loved music,” she recalls. “But when I listened to hip-hop, well that’s when I was convinced that this would be my future.”
Kay moved to Oudtshoorn at the age of 11 and thereafter to Cape Town, where she pursued studies as a music producer and audio engineer, at the Cape Audio College.
“I was fortunate to fill in for a music producer while I was doing my internship. Mos Def arrived in the country and was recording at the Cape Audio College. I was tasked, by sheer chance, to record the vocals and for me it was the most memorable moment of my life. He is one of the most well known and respected hip-hop artists in the world, and here I was recording his vocals. This motivated me to follow my dreams and focus on hip-hop music”.
She said that the experience was surreal, and that night she lay in bed, unable to sleep, thinking about what had just happened.
Kay says that now she does everything from mixing and mastering music to producing, songwriting and composing.
“There are always challenges, sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard. But I’ve been really welcomed in the industry. I don’t fit the typical profile of a hip-hop music producer, but I’m different and the guys love it.”
Kay says she misses Knysna dearly, as her family and friends are all still in the area.
As soon as she released her debut, she came to Knysna to get her first tattoo.
“The tattoo was really important to me, like a big decision, so I wanted to get it done in Knysna, my hometown. I went to Black Lotus tattoo studio, where Megan Hull tattooed ‘In Good Faith’ across my shoulder, and I love it!”
Kay says her message to the community is that although it’s a small town, we can do really big things and reach for our goals.
“The people of Knysna are amazing and there’s talent everywhere. We have already proved that we can be as good as the best in the world, so with that attitude, I believe there’s still a lot of great things to come out of Knysna.”
Karien Barnard, aka Kay Faith, was selected as Apple Music’s New Artist Spotlight for January 2018.