AD 111 | Kilo Kish with Jarell Perry x Yoshino
As if spun from ether, the synthy experimental reflections of Kilo Kish (nee Lakisha Kimberly Robinson) strikingly embody what is intangible - the overwhelmingly complex emotions we sometimes feel but cannot find the language to express. A singer-songwriter, multi-disciplinary artist and designer, Kish’s musical offerings have always been deeply intertwined with her work in other mediums. Her debut EP Homeschool (released April 2, 2012), earned praise for its disarming honesty, marking the genesis of a discography informed by Kish’s deeply self-reflective nature and innate curiosity about the boundaries of human interactions with the world. “I think people liked Homeschool because it felt really naive but also natural. That naturalness of it is almost like catching an artist in their garage band stage,” explained Kish. The EP also provides early insight into Kish’s collaborative process, featuring production and vocals from longtime friends the Internet and Pyramid Vitra - Kish had previously connected with Matt Martians ( the Internet) online, and subsequently formed relationships with the rest of the band.
Born in Orlando, Florida, Kish spent much of her early childhood in solitary settings, critiquing and exploring her surroundings autonomously, while at the same time fully immersing herself in creative projects and activities that challenged her world view. She entered her school’s gifted program at the age of five, and the advanced curriculum soon separated her from her peers. Still, the young Kish found that she preferred the company of adults, finding inspiration from the complexity of their realities. Despite having few friends of her age, her family were early advocates of both her independence and creative spirit.
Her mother in particular provided a steady stream of art supplies, books and activities to feed Kish’s voracious young mind. “I would get bored of things really easily. So once I learned how to do something I was always trying to find the next thing to learn,” Kish explained of her lifelong sense of restlessness. Yet even in becoming easily disillusioned with standard childhood activities, Kish still fell under the spell of the popular culture of the ‘90s. When she wasn’t watching a steady stream of music videos on MTV, she listened to the top 40 hits on her favorite local station. In her teenage years, Kish’s musical tastes imploded, expanding into the realm of alternative sounds and internet-based sub-genres. Spurred on by the popularity of pirating platforms like Limewire, she sought out the future-facing crooning of Bjork, and connected with the empowered folk-pop of Regina Spektor.
This plethora of influences coupled with a rejection of any state of stagnation still defines Kish’s music. A year after the release of Homeschool (while still studying at FIT in New York), she completely pivoted directions and released K+. The free mix tape was supported by a digital art zine and immersive listening session. Featuring A$AP Ferg, Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt and more, K+ chronicled the process behind its own making in order to bring the listener closer to the mind of the artist. “At the time, I kind of just considered music as another form of making stuff. I was in college thinking I was going to become a textile designer, but then to see some of my peers blowing up - Matt was with Odd Future and some of my other friends were in A$AP Mob. So I saw it happening around me and it occurred to me that it was possible,” she explained of the time.
The following year, in 2014, she released her second EP Across with the support of French fashion house and record label Maison Kitsune. On its heels came Kish’s debut studio album,Reflections in Real Time (2016) which she released through her own imprint label Kisha Soundscape + Audio. The album, a searing and deeply personal journal entry into the motivations, fears and obsessions of an artist unafraid to document her own fallacies, garnered praise for its earnestness and impeccable musicality. In an interview with Elle that year, Kish even joked that the album’s level of honesty would probably embarrass her later. As her story continues to unfold, and her already-impressive buzz continues to grow, stay tuned for more on one of 2018’s most exciting artists…Kilo Kish.