Afro-Canadian singer/songwriter Pierre Kwenders’ music is a response to a world that so often asks people who fit comfortably in multiple boxes to pick only one.
Born in Kinshasa, Kwenders draws on his wide-ranging experience to make personal music with multiple points of entry, rather than paring it down to fit recognizable genres. He also wields it like a studio trick; he sings and raps in five languages, allowing him aesthetic options most artists don't have.
While Pierre’s music ranges from icy R&B to futuristic hip-hop, his style is rooted in Congolese rumba, the ubiquitous sound of The Democratic Republic of Congo. Like Kwenders, the genre’s identity transcends location: It began in the 1960’s as central African artists’ take on Afro-Cuban rumba, which in turn grew out of African sounds imported to Cuba through the slave trade in the 17th century. But Pierre is as influenced by the sound of Congolese rumba as he is by the attitude of artists like the late Papa Wemba, who pushed the genre forward by finding ways to incorporate new ideas. Kwenders takes a similar approach to R&B and hip-hop.