20-year-old Italian singer and songwriter Alessandro Bossi, better know as Kiol, started off as a punk-rock drummer, before discovering his love for folk music.

A bluesy vibe with a hint of alternative folk, his recent single ‘Hard Things’ is a beautifully executed offering, and has piqued the attention of fans and tastemaker publications.

Inspired by the likes of well-known artists such as Amy Winehouse, The Beatles, James Brown and Jake Bugg, Kiol is an artist on the rise, recording in the same studio as one of his greatest influences, Paolo Nutini.

We caught up with the young artist and chatted about his humble beginnings, his thoughts on the industry and the origins of the name Kiol.

Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What did inspire you to start?

I’ve been playing the drums since I was 5 and for all my teenage years I played punk rock/grunge with different bands in my hometown. Since the first productions, I was always in the middle of the writing process of a song even if I was just a drummer…

The band that pushed me to pick up a guitar were Nirvana. I started to play it for the sake of it and then it turned in the most helpful instrument to write a song with. I fell in love with it, so I studied the bases of the folk music, listening to many different artists, widening my knowledge… When I was 17 I went to Ireland for an entire school period and since I couldn’t bring the drum set with me, I brought my guitar. I made some friends and I was always playing for them, every night at the gathering point in Mallow, the soccer field. One day they decided to call me Ceol, that means music in ancient Gaelic. That’s how everything started.

The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music?  How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want?

No, never. Is not because it’s competitive that an artist should give up… There’s a lot of artists that make pop-folk music nowadays but I think that all of them are different if he bares himself. That’s what music does. It takes your clothes off, your masks off and it reveals your heart. I love the way my music express myself and I cannot imagine a life without it. So I just keep on doing it.

How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately?

It depends on the song. I always start with the rhythm. Sometimes I have the idea of the entire song, the melody and the structure. Sometimes I get the riff on the guitar, I record the instrumental and I work on it adapting the words to the song. Some other time I start with the lyrics and I work with my guitar on the melody. I always write the lyrics by myself, I think it’s a personal thing, you know.  For the music I work differently, if one of my band members come up with an idea for the arrangement, if it’s good we move in that direction.

Where the inspiration comes from?

It comes from experiences. I need to be curious about life, I can get inspired every day by everything but I need to stay woke. Sometimes, late at night, I’m used to smoking weed, listening to great music, and most of the time I come out with many ideas… I think these two things are definitely connected.   

What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right  now?  

I think to my songs as they were my children. No matter how many, if you were to choose between one and another you won’t ever choose. I can say the newer the better…

It’s always the same story. But really there are no favourites, all of them are special to me for some reason. I listen to a different kind of music and I change every day but Sleep Well Beast by The National and Sound And Color by Alabama Shakes have been the soundtrack of my life since this summer.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be totally focused on this project. I know I’ll do my best to reach my goals, which are played in front of many people, compose many songs, co-write with artists I like and live my life hundred percent.