At just 21 years old, hip-hop singer Kyle launched his first North American tour, appropriately titled the "Hey Kyle! Tour." He's performed at the PLUR-heavy event Ultra Music Festival in Miami, had his video for "Raining Love" featured on BET's 106 + Park, and has collaborated with electro DJ Martin Solveig on his hit "Hey Now."
In addition, he just celebrated the one-year anniversary of his debut album, Beautiful Loser. Kyle enthusiastically said, as we kicked off this interview, "Let's get it!" He gave us the low on what school plays he starred in, his remix of Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow," and what it was like to perform at Ultra.
New Times: It says in your bio that you performed in school plays. Which were your favorite?
Kyle: Hairspray. It was really cool. I actually liked the movie. I saw the movie before I found out we did the play. There was a lot of dancing, there was a lot of spinning. It was like spin, spin, spin, spin -- stop. Spin, spin, spin, spin -- stop.
You played the main stage at Ultra in front of 60,000 people. How did that feel?
Ultra? That was crazy. I just remember my pants were completely shitted on! I'm kidding. I actually didn't poop my pants. I got some advice before from Martin Solveig, and it was, "So your little face, do you have a mask?" I said, "Yeah, I do." And he said, "Well, forget about it, and bring a diaper." It was frightening. It was an endless sea of people!
He was the whole reason I was at Ultra. I was performing with him.
How did you get in touch with him?
He was looking for a rapper to hop on his single "Hey Now," and he sent the track around, and I sent it back. He really liked it. I was like, "Cool."
Does Wiz Khalifa know you did a remix to his song? ["Black and Yellow" became "Black and Gold."]
No, I don't think he ever found out. I met him once through a friend of mine. And damn! Now that I think about it, I should have mentioned it to him... That was one of my first songs. I dissed all the other high schools.
They [the rival high schools] tore up my school the next day with their own colors with posters, confetti... It was actually kind of amazing [laughs]. It wasn't like any real problems. It was really cool.
Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money" inspired you to do rap music. Does that moment still resonate in your newest music, and why?
Yeah, it is. I don't know, it was the first rap song I heard, and it was my first experience listening to rap. It was a good first person to listen to because his style was so unique and different that it was so nontraditional. It got my attention because the way I rap is nontraditional and really playful, and that's how he was too.
Are you signed to a label?
No, I'm working with some independent people.
How is your release Beautiful Loser different than your older music?
It's really my old music now. It came out over a year ago, but as for my old, old music, Beautiful Loser is a step in the right direction. There is bigger production, better sounding, [it's] more me as compared to me as a kid.
You recorded "Super Duper" in your grandma's house. What does she think about your music?
I think she likes it. I'll play a song, and I don't know if she really understands what I'm saying. I think she likes it. I think she likes it. It makes her smile, that's all.
Does she jam with you?
Yeah [laughs], kind of in her ol' head nod way.
Are you 20 or 21? What is it like to be so young in this industry?
21. I don't feel young. I feel old. I feel like I need to be a lot more accomplished. I used to tell myself that when I was 10. I know 21 is young, but I feel old. Like I was 16 and I was like, "Damn, I don't have any Grammys already." I kind of need to think like that. I know 21 is young, but I feel old. I always feel like I should be larger than where I'm at right now.
Will you be attending college anytime soon?
Eh, probably not at least for a while. I went for a semester and studied theater. It was Ventura College, a community college in California.
Any new music in the works?
I'll be working on a whole new album that I'll be promoting for everyone.
When do you think it'll be done?
[Not] until it's perfect and ready to be released to the world.
Any additional comments?
Thank you for the interview. When you go home, hug someone for hella long.
Watsky with Kyle at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 28, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Visit cultureroom.net.
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