Lockdown has been difficult for most people for different reasons, but the challenges that it has presented have also meant opportunity for some. One individual who fits that bill is UK R&B talent Kara Marni, who has taken the period as a chance to improve, as we found out when we spoke with her recently.

With her Greek heritage and love of soul classics serving as direct inspiration for her sounds, which she describes as “soul with sprinkles of pop”, Kara Marni has been making a big impression on the music scene. But then lockdown happened. Despite that though, Marni kept creative in isolation, steadily building her profile and working on content across 2020. Now, following the release of her latest song, ‘Close’, which teases the flavour of things to come from the young artist, we caught up with her to find out how she’s dealt with lockdown.

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Tell us about you and Arsenal – what does the club mean to you and your family?

To be honest my relationship is very much through my brother Milton, who is actually very good at football and a HUGE Arsenal fan. It’s been in my life ever since I can remember, whilst I was sat in the back of the car twice a week waiting for him to finish his soccer school at the old grounds in Highbury.

How would you personify the vibe of the club?

Vibe at Arsenal at the moment is tricky, one week I hear my brother celebrating about how they’ve beaten teams like Man United and the next I hear him disappointed about losing to teams like Aston Villa! Don’t hate me Aston Villa fans but didn’t realise you guys were that good... Have heard the new Arsenal manager is good though so hoping for more consistent positive vibes going forward.

What memories do you have of Arsenal around you as you were growing up?

My brother taking me to a game where every time he leapt up so did I...we were also in a box which was mad fun! Side note I kept one of the tissues from that game because it was folded into the shape of an Arsenal shirt which I thought was cool haha.

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Who is the biggest Arsenal icon and why?

Well I know my brothers is either Ozil, or Fabregas as I’ve seen them on  A LOT of his shirts, or more recently Aubameyang, but for me Reyes has a special place in our hearts because my bro was likened to him so much so that people used to think he was his brother (not just from the way he looks but his style of playing football) and when my Mum would say he wasn’t, she could hear them say she was lying so she just went a long with it in the end! We were very sad when we heard of his tragic passing.

While the world has been torn in different directions, we can take some escape in football – do you like how it can bring people together?

Absolutely, despite people not being able to attend live shows or indeed sporting events we have been able to listen to arsenal fan tv which has entertained us massively over the dinner table! Lots of laughs and debate!

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It's always been a creative game but it now crosses music, fashion and a range of cultures in a bespoke way – can you take inspiration from that?

Absolutely. I take a lot of inspiration particularly from the way the fans unite together in song ... the first time I saw that it made me very emotional. I believe any gathering that brings people from all different walks of life together and is yet so diverse can only be a wonderful thing!

Those vintage jersey's reflect that too – do you like how wearable or moreover, adaptable a football shirt is with a contemporary wardrobe?

Absolutely. When I posted a little behind-the-scenes pic from the day of our shoot on my insta, the amount of messages I received asking how I got my hands on those vintage shirts was crazy! I love how versatile they can look and they’re a must with a cute pair of jeans – and ask my Mum how delighted she is that they wash and dry without any ironing!

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Listen to Kara Marni's latest song, 'Close', here.

Photography by Kay Ibrahim
Styling by Ella Tyson