K’naan: ‘Love is harder than war’

K’naan’s “Country, God, or the Girl” is out now.

K’naan arrived on the scene singing about struggle; his hit “Wavin’ Flag” was a timely freedom anthem during the 2010 World Cup. But his new record, “Country, God, or the Girl,” looks inward.

“I went to 22 countries in Africa, back to back, on tour,” the Somalia-born artist says. “Seeing Africa to that degree freed me from having a narrow message in my music.”

He says when a friend told him about working in refugee camps during the Rwandan genocide, it changed his perspective on global thinking.

“When people settled into the evening,” he says, “nobody talked about the horrific tragedies that were happening. They were talking about their lost loves. And that hit me so deeply — how human beings are having the same conversations everywhere, even in times of war and famine. Their favorite songs are always love songs. And I wasn’t speaking to them in the place that was most important to them.”
The singer says he has come to a conclusion about approa-ching certain subject matter.

“Love is harder than war,” he says.

The sound of “Country, God, or the Girl” is a blend of pop and African melodies, and tracks mostly focus on internal conflict, relationships and personal growth.

“To progress musically, I had to open myself up,” he says.

K’naan is also joined by a wishlist of high profile special guests, including Bono, Keith Richards, Will.i.am, Nas and Nelly Furtado. But no matter who is joining him, he says it all comes down to one person: “I’ve had the chance to write about my experiences in a difficult and violent life. … But when the suffering and the pain is something that comes from within me, it’s harder to react and to write about that.”

Staying still for writing

K’naan says he doesn’t write while he’s on the road.

“I know that some artists that I’m friends with do that, but I just prefer there be distance between my being celebrated as an artist and my having something to share. Because … being idolized on stage and then writing a song could be a little dangerous, I think. But when you are living, and nobody cares that you’re walking around in the street, your girlfriend is giving you a hard time and [so is] your family, all of that, that’s the context in which an artist writes. That’s when I like to write.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Interfaith leaders denounce anti-Muslim harassment in Brooklyn

Community leaders of all faiths gathered in Brooklyn on Tuesday to push back on what they described as hateful acts against the local Muslim community.

National

Parched Texas town turns to sewage water to…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - When the going got tough due one of with worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita…

International

NYPD: Robber makes elderly man drive to Queens…

A robber grabbed an elderly man's neck outside a Queens supermarket, stole his wallet and made him drive to ATMs for withdrawals last week, police said.

Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

Arts

Theater: “Love and Human Remains” is like a…

"Love and Human Remains" is the worst show we've ever not walked out of.

Movies

Review: 'A Most Wanted Man' works better when…

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman headlines the John Le Carre adaptation of "A Most Wanted Man," about the pursuit of a Chechen refugee.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.