Name: KILE J
Occupation: Songwriter, singer
Current Release: KILE J's new single "Honey" is out now.
Recommendations: I highly recommend The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor and anything by Sade.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I actually starting writing music around 15 or 16.
My friend had taught me how to use Fruity Loops studio and I would experiment with making beats and writing songs. I loved it because it provided a sweet escape from growing up black, queer, and lower middle class in the south, and it gave me hope for the future.
I was inspired by the soul and R&B music I grew up listening to.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
I see colors and shapes when creating music and I love experimenting with my voices and making harmonies because it gives me a feeling like I am painting. I approach music quite visually.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I’ve had quite a nuanced development process.
I studied musical theater in college and I started performing in bands since I was 18 years old. I spent a lot of time in New York understanding who I was and I had a lot of wins and losses that made me a very strong person and dynamic artist.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I am a proud black non-binary artist and I put no limits on my creativity.
I prefer soundscapes that are warm and affirming and I want to create worlds with my music that my community can get lost in.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I studied art for over 10 years and I want to create high quality nuanced work for my community to feel liberated and represented.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I am definitely against tradition and interested in music of the future.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
My voice has been my most important tool in my life, and I use it like an instrument in all aspects of my work.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I’m a bit of a daydreamer and I spend a lot of time trying to make my visions come to life.
I typically start my day trying to find inspiration and motivating myself with positive affirmations.
I usually allow time for rest and restoration in the afternoon, and I will spend time communicating with close friends and family in the evening.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
All my projects mean a lot to me but I am particularly proudest of my latest music video "Honey".
This song and video was all about liberation and I was able to collaborate with an independent collective called Luxon Films to make it happen.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I prefer to work with a very close trusted team of collaborators to make work that feels intimate and nuanced.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I create work to provide of a sense of liberation to my community, and I believe music is there is provide hope, joy, reflection, and connection to the world.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
This project helped me to process a lot of shame I felt when navigating love and life as a black non-binary person.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
I can’t relate, music to me is completely spiritual.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Music helps me express the deepest aspects of my heart in 3 minutes what would most likely take an 1000 word essay to express with words alone.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
It’s all about capturing a vibe.