With a voice smooth as silk, a look that toes the line between demure and edgy, and an Instagram feed that makes us jealous, Koto is a talented it-girl with taste for days. She’s a lover of travel, and this beauty is taking the world by storm. Her music is mesmerising, her visuals are so on point and her attitude is laid back. Co-founder of a nonprofit, Koalition, Koto is a humanitarian, nature-lover and a firm believer in philanthropy; and our new girl crush. We caught up with Koto for a chat about travel, singing at church in Canada and the future.
What defines your style as a musician?
Oh, definitely I would say emotion, I think that’s the one specific thing I try to weave into songs. Whether it’s a really chill song or a ballad or something, I always try and put emotion into it. Styles change, you know. For me, your voice is the paintbrush, and you can choose how to use your colours. I’d say my voice is more recognisable than my sound.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I feel like everyone says these people, but they’d have to be Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Ed Sheeran and Beyonce. I know it’s kind of a weird mix but I grew up looking up to all of these artists, each one for a different reason. They all inspired different aspects of my style.
When did you decide you wanted to become a singer?
When I was 8 years old I used to sing in my local church back in Canada, and the people there told me they liked me, and encouraged me to keep going. So I did! I actually used to give singing lessons, that’s kind of how I found my feet a bit more. I was signed in Canada, and also when I moved to LA at 20, but now I truly prefer being independent.
What advice would you give to other girls wanting to make it in music?
I’d say definitely work on confidence and having a backbone first. In the world it’s so easy to go in like silly putty and people will try and mould you, but if you can stay confident you can keep being who you are.
You travel a lot, what do you love most about travelling?
I do mostly solo travelling, it’s a really good way to disconnect from the world. I turn my phone off, I don’t use my GPS. I meet locals and try new food and really experience it for myself, it’s kind of like the olden days, ha! For me it’s all about the experience. It means a lot to me to always listen and learn and look for new experiences.
How do you keep healthy, body and mind?
Obviously they’re both connected; lots of people will think that if you look skinny you’re healthy, but it’s so not the case. I think a balanced life is important, don’t get wasted every night, but every now and then eat a chocolate cake! As for exercise, I do love yoga.
What keeps you motivated?
I co-founded a nonprofit years ago, Koalition; it was against human trafficking and it’s still running. I just think we’re so lucky to have what we have, and that thought propels me.
What would you say your signature Slapp is?
Ohh… I usually like to go natural! Except on nights out when I go wild… Usually I just love tinted moisturiser, a nice cat eye and classic red lips.
Who, if anyone, is your beauty muse?
Probably Rihanna, especially for her skin tone. We kind of match so I try to replicate her looks sometimes, she’s always wearing amazing stuff. Her, and really classic people like Audrey Hepburn. She was so timeless and simple!
If you could only Slapp on one beauty product what would it be?
For ease, probably concealer!
What is beautiful to you?
Of course beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but for me it’s definitely all about confidence. It’s a cliched answer these days, but it’s totally true. When you see someone who by societal standards is attractive but insecure it can really show. I think if you wear yourself proudly you’ll always be gorgeous.
Which exciting projects do you have coming up?
I’m releasing an EP soon! And I got signed to Wilhelmina in New York, so we’ll see soon…
Listen to Koto: soundcloud.com/imkoto
Follow Koto: @imkoto