Okay Kaya – the project of Berlin-based Norwegian-American artist Kaya Wilkins – returns with Alma B Androzzo’s “If I Can Help Somebody,” the opening track from her new mixtape, The Incompatible Okay Kaya, out 10/22 on Jagjaguwar. The Incompatible Okay Kaya welcomes the likes of Nick Cave, and The Magnetic Fields into the glorious and ever-expanding Okay Kaya covers repertoire. On “If I Can Help Somebody,” Wilkins lends her signature sparse intimacy to the gospel standard, showcasing Wilkins’ voice in its natural form — inviting, low, and gently warbling.
Okay Kaya has released numerous albums to critical acclaim, including 2018’s Both and most recently 2020’s Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, which won the Spellemann Award (aka Norwegian Grammy) for Best Indie/Alternative Music and was followed by the companion album, Surviving Is The New Living. Wilkins’ list of collaborators runs deep, including King Krule, Deem Spencer, Onyx Collective, and more. Her new collection, The Incompatible Okay Kaya, is a beautiful reset to remind listeners of Wilkins’ wild songwriting acumen and acute compositional prowess.
Before Okay Kaya was a globally celebrated recording project (see: Okay Kaya’s recent Norwegian Grammy), it was simply a musical way for the artist, genius, and fellow Leo to combat the blues. “Originally Okay Kaya existed as a SoundCloud project, I would send these songs back to my family and friends —covering songs or just making up melodies and playing with language to help me fall asleep,” says Wilkins.
Since then Kaya has expanded her practice through exploring language and song structure across various mediums ranging from sculpture, video and score work. Those early days of Wilkins’ Okay Kaya project are honored in fine fashion on the stripped-back The Incompatible Okay Kaya. The foundation of The Incompatible Okay Kaya is rooted in the Kaya’s desire to foster a re-connection with audiences through these intimate and specific recordings.
Last month, Wilkins and collaborator Stine Omar as RØR screened a new work Ships in the Night at K4 galleri in Oslo. Wilkins also had her first solo exhibition SANDPLAY at Etage Projects in Copenhagen in August, and will be performing at the Munch Museum in Oslo this month. She’ll also perform a sold out show at Elsewhere in Brooklyn on September 27th.