Kison. "how to say my name. It's pronounced KEE-SON. Not KAI-SON. Key like unlocking a door." Kison states.
So many words come to mind when I think of this artist. Spunky, Funny, dedicated and lastly, but not least, TALENTED. Her voice (if you have not already heard it) is amazing. She has soul and she isn't afraid to show it. I myself have only had the chance to catch one performance of Kison's and I was blown away. She has amazing stage presents and her overall feel is just cool, calm and collected. She's a small town girl with a huge dream. She moved to Minneapolis from a small Minnesota town and has never forgotten where she comes from.
I caught up with Kison and asked her a few questions about her inspirations, drive and her future. She's a writer, a singer, and soon to be self proclaimed basketball star. A huge fan of prince she stated "I would DIE to collab with Prince. Hands down." I think she is right on her way to becoming one of the greats. read on.
Who is Kison?
Ahem! Is this thing on? I'm a Minnesota grown singer/songwriter just trying to make my mark in our state and in the industry. I'm a goofball and tend to surround myself with the like. I like to think I am a humble person, but at the same time, I am fully confident in my ability- which to some comes off as cocky. I prefer to let my music speak for itself. And I like wine.
Who is youre biggest inspiration?
OH my. Inspirations. Maria Williams Kennedy, my voice coach and the reason I'm classically trained in vocal music. I'm grateful to her everyday. Rahki, MPLS native who produced my first album. He is an incredible talent and has worked so hard for years to be in the position he's in out in LA. My big brother Brad who had the biggest collection of hip hop/R&B tapes of any 12 year old Up North farm boy I know. I first heard R&B because of him. Also, Ray Charles, Alicia Keys, Etta James, Jay-Z, Prince, Teena Maria, Coldplay, a number of local musicians. This could go on forever!
Where do you look to spark ideas during the writing process?
The writing process is...terrifying, sexy, exhausting and liberating. When I actually sit down to write I'm usually super nervous, and by the end of the song I don't know how the hell I got there! A conversation, a sentence, a stranger, a fight...all grounds for a song. Basically any1 in my life needs to know they could be thrown in there at any time. Hahaha no names I swear. Sometimes it's the melody first, other times it's lyrics first...wow, ok I get it. There's no method to the madness.
What is one of your favorite tracks you have ever done.
OK, THIS is hard. "Believe" is dope because in the first verse I talk about every doubt/question people might have about me, and in the second verse I go back and answer them in order. The breakdown pays homage to Prince and Rahki was not playing when he made the beat!! I have some new material I'd love to talk about, but I'll wait for interview #2.
What keeps you going to keep doing this? and what amps you before a show?
I keep doing this simply because I love it. It's not for the money, obviously haha but I hope that comes soon. I love being on stage, I love making my family/friends who have supported me for years proud. I love to apply what I've learned. It's awesome. I keep a tight circle and we always say a prayer before hitting the stage. It's not hard to stay amped with them around.
What is some advice you would give to discouraged artists out there trying to start their music career? What to look out for, where to start?
My advice would be don't think you can jump into this without training and hard work. My dose of real is that not everyone is qualified to be an "artist", "singer", "rapper", "producer". It sort of bothers me that it's become a trend. Overnight success takes 10 years. If you are serious about it, perform as often as possible. Write everyday, sing everyday, nurture your connections, study the greats. Become so good at what you do that you can't be denied. These are things I still have to tell myself everyday. I wanted to jump right into music after high school but my parents wanted me to get my degree also, so I did. I spend 8 hours a day away from music to be able to pay the bills and keep my dream alive. It's a struggle, but you have to be willing to put the work in.
What is next for Kison?
Right now I'm working on my second album! Grateful to have Paul 'PC' Collier as executive producer He's a very talented, hilarious, soulful person and that comes out in his music. I have a few other dope local producers on board, as well as a track from NY producer 88-Keys. I've grown a lot as a writer and a singer since my first album so you can expect a much different sound.
As unique & amazing as your voice, How do you explain your sound?
Oooh nice transition into this question. My sound is soulful, classical, pop, jazz. Oh wait, was I supposed to pick one? I honestly think I'm all of them but soulful best describes me. It's no secret I am judged on arrival. Lol, let's be real. Blonde haired, blue eyed white girl- Kison Gaga right? Wrong, but I happen to like it when people expect nothing. It's a great feeling winning someone over with a song, a high note, a cold line...I have a good range, a strong voice. I prefer my live sound over studio sound.
Anything else you want people to know about Kison, that they might not already know?
Yes, people should know my hoop skills are coming back and need to be respected. Give me another month and I'll be ready. (What?! I'm just serious.) Also, when in doubt, order the wings. I have a sweet show with a live band backing me at the Maplewood Theatre on 10.16 Only $5 cover. Another show 10.21 @ Barfly with some SICK acoustic/hip hop/R&B acts.
Be sure to pre order your tickets for Kison's up comin show at BarFly in downtown Minneapolis. Click the jump for ticket information and Download Kison's new song "Lovin it". Kison is currently working on new tracks, so stay tuned!
>>>TICKET INFO: Afton Shows
>>>DOWNLOAD: Kison - Lovin it