How keen is Citizen Kay to play his hometown show? We take 5 with the Canberra MC

Canberra-based MC Citizen Kay has been at the game for several years now, but the last few years have seen him climb to the higher peaks of Aussie hip-hop.

With his most recent long-player Belly of the Beast out for the world to judge and a hefty run of Australian tour dates on the cards, we caught up with Kay for the latest.

artists from act canberra australian capital territory citizen kay

Looking forward to Citizen Kay’s huge Belly of the Beast tour? So is the man himself, maybe even more than you!

HAPPY: YO! What’s up? What are you up to at the moment?

CITIZEN KAY: Currently kickin’ it at The Hive (new studio space) and listening to a playlist called Funk Outta Here, which as you can imagine is fully of pretty tasty jams!

HAPPY: Belly of the Beast is out there. What’s the first month reception been like?

CITIZEN KAY: What I’ve heard back has been sooo inspiring! Been getting comments like it’s a “listen from front to back” kind of record, which for me is the dream! I think it’s only really starting to sink in that this record is actually out after working on it for so long!

HAPPY: Are there any non-single tracks people have been vibing? Or, what’s your favourite track aside from Static or These Kicks?

CITIZEN KAY: Been getting a lot of feedback about Barred which is dooope caaauuse I almost didn’t include that track. It’s probably because we’ve been playing these in the live sets but Early and Isn’t Love have been my faves of late.

HAPPY: It’s a spicy name for an album. What’s the meaning behind it?

CITIZEN KAY: There’s a few levels of interpretation buuuut the main one was seeing it as a concept of ‘The Beast’ being the world I’m in, or society in general. ‘The Beast’ can also be interpreted as my own mind.

HAPPY: You’re about to kick off the regional tour with Illy right now yeah? Do you have much experience playing country gigs?

CITIZEN KAY: Yeah, so done a couple already but bout to jump back on for some more! And naaahhhht reeeeaaaalllly hey, but regional shows are sooo dope! Being a lover of Canberra, I definitely like being in places with muchos space! I’m a sucker for good fresh air!

HAPPY: You signed to OneTwo earlier on in the year. How do you think that shaped the album into what it finally became?

CITIZEN KAY: The album was actually preeettty in motion before the OneTwo signing. I’ve kinda said that his album was pretty selfish – as in there really wasn’t much thought in what I thought people wanted to hear when I was in the writing process! I just wanted to fully express myself sonically and lyrically! Jumping on with OneTwo made me a bit more confident with executing the album… and the whole team is hella dope, so that of course makes life hella easy haha.

HAPPY: And straight after you have Sweaty Palms, then a string of your own shows. When’s the next time you get to lie down?

CITIZEN KAY: Lying down is overrated! Naaah jokes I love my bed way too much, but I’m someone who kind of loves always having something to do. For example right now in between touring and shows I’m working with a few local Canberrans with their own tracks and projects doing production and mixing for them! I’ll probably dive a little more into that (as well as start doing some writing of my own) after these shows are wrapped up!

HAPPY: Will this be the first time you’ve played to Canberra in a while? Looking forward to that?

CITIZEN KAY: Yuuuusss! I am preeettty damn keen for this hometown show. Canberra knows how to go hard or go home so I’m very much lookin’ forward to it!

HAPPY: You do seem to enjoy the road life, though. What’s your favourite thing about touring aside from being on stage?

CITIZEN KAY: For sure seeing new places and meeting people – always loved meeting different characters and you most certainly meet some interesting and awesome people when you get to go around the country! Being around good company for tours like these is also real slick!

HAPPY: Since this is Happy Mag and you seem to be an exceptionally happy person, gotta ask: what makes Citizen Kay stay so smiley?

CITIZEN KAY: Haha uhhh i dunno; I guess I’m fortunate enough to not have many reasons not to smile! On a real note, I think it also has a lot to do with where my roots are – where I was born and being appreciative of the opportunities I’ve had all thanks to my parents making huge sacrifices to come to Australia.


Catch Citizen Kay around town on his Belly of the Beast tour:

Sat 30 Sep – Sweaty Palms Festival – Proud Mary’s, Central Coast – Tickets
Fri 6 Oct – Rolling Stone Live Lodge – The Landsdowne, Sydney
Sat 7 Oct – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Fri 13 Oct – Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Sat 14 Oct – The Transit Bar, Canberra
Thurs 19 Oct – The Foundry, Brisbane
Fri 20 Oct – Amplifier Bar, Perth