It is not as often as we would hope that we come across an artist that knows how to make real connections and have an educated conversation. We were pleasantly surprised by our introduction to Kyle Øashu. Even at only 19 years old, the South Carolina based rising alt hip hop star truly gets it. We had the chance to sit down with him and get behind the scenes of his development and his plans for the future:
In the current music scene full of wild monikers what made you decide to stay with Kyle Øashu?
Well, it’s kind of a strange story. In the beginning, I was thinking about a name that would fit me and the first one I came up with was ‘kgthekidd’ a simple sort of stereotypical rap name that I liked at the time. But after some months I didn’t feel like it suited me anymore, I love rap but I wanted to reach out into other genres; soul, alternative rock, and others and blend them to create my sound. I wrote a poem called ‘ Øashu’ and Øashu was a word I made that literally means ‘Undefined Paradise’. So I guess why I stuck with Kyle Øashu was so I could have a name people remembered as well as a named that really meant something to me personally.
Your music is quite unique. How would you describe your sound?
Hmmm if I had to describe my music I would call it ‘spontaneous’ and ’emotional’ music. I .always pour my heart and soul into a song, making fun to record and to listen back with everybody. I have noticed a bunch of my songs fit how I’m feeling in the moment too, so if I make a sad song or a happy song it’s because I’m genuinely happy or sad. I guess I sorta went off track, but to answer the question I would say I make emotionally relatable music, especially these days.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on your development?
It’s kind of funny because so many of my influences have either never been heard of or are just random. A great example would be why I chose to start singing, cartoons like Adventure Time and Steven Universe inspired me to start singing, no joke! When it comes to rapping I fall back into reality, my inspirations being Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, XXXTENTACION, and so many more. And one person who I didn’t know much about until this year; Amy Winehouse, she is amazing I’ve been listening to hear so much and would definitely consider her an inspiration absolutely.
You definitely show a skill with words. Where did that originate?
Thank you, I’m happy you think so! Well before I ever started making music I wrote poetry. It was around when I was 13, life was not the best at that time and I was suffering from terrible mental illnesses, combined with teenage hormones made it awful. Fortunately, around that time I began writing poems being inspired by Langston Hughes to really do it, I remember writing nonstop day in and day out and it made the days go by faster, I was happy. When I turned 14 I sort of rediscovered music again and fell in love with the craft, considering it, it’s own poetry, just in motion. Words have so much meaning to them and if used right can save people, like what music did for me, so I would love nothing more than to have my music help people like it helped me.
What is your songwriting process? How does a song come together for Kyle Øashu?
For me, it’s spontaneous if I have an idea for a song in my head I start writing like crazy. I have a terrible memory so I’m always writing things down, music included. Most of the time I don’t stop writing until a song is finished, so usually it takes me around 30 minutes to an hour to write a full song, which probably isn’t the smartest way to write but I feel that it is for me, I use my raw emotions as a foundation for my words, then a melody is like a bowtie tying it all together making something magical. Writing is almost as fun as recording for me, I just have a good time with it never stressing about it and just letting the music and lyrics merge.
We were lucky enough to get an advance listen to your new project SUMMERTIME 909s. There seems to be a story there. Please share?
Oh man, where do I start? ‘SUMMERTIME 909s‘ is a project I started working on Summer of 2017 and it was originally called ‘LOSTBOI‘, it was just going to be a compilation of random songs I thought sounded cool, but I couldn’t bring myself to drop it. I had been trying to conceptualize the perfect debut project since 2016, but I trashed like 4 projects and like 40 songs before I got here. SUMMERTIME 909s is a story about… me, my debut, a story about a kid too shy to speak his mind so he rhymes. I talk about the nightmares of reality, temptations, and loss all while just trying to find out who ‘I’ am who ‘ Kyle Øashu’ is. In full it’s a 10 track story about a kid trying to find himself, in a world he can’t understand, that’s SUMMERTIME 909s, my story.
What do you hope the listener will take away from your music?
I hope that anyone listening to my music will understand me as a human being better, know i’m not perfect but I’m okay with that, and if you can relate to anything I sing or rap about that you’re not alone either. Life itself is a wild ride, no one ever said you had to tough it out alone.
What advice would you give to other artists creating something fresh in the hip-hop scene?
Be yourself!!! Seriously, there are so many copycats it can seem easy to just copy a flow and get noticed. But you truly love music, and care about the longevity, just be you, stay true to yourself and be confident in what you can do, you’ll be surprised what you’re capable of.
What is on the horizon for Kyle Øashu?
Well ‘SUMMERTIME 909s‘ is releasing August 17th on Soundcloud, it’s free to listen to so enjoy the short and sweet project I made! On top of that, I’m working on a collaborative EP with a friend of mine and I can’t wait to let the world hear that as well!! I’m making my moves now so one day the world will know who I am.
You are on your way. We will be looking forward to the SUMMERTIME 909s release. Keep doing what you are doing!