Updated: Oct 17
Eclectic music artist, producer, and photographer Kivon Redd is based out of Brooklyn, NY, but sheds light on his Midwest roots in the interview below. Check it out, and listen to his new single "Living Not Dying" featuring Mari the 5th below.
What’s your background as it relates to music?
Ki: I grew up in the church so real, raw, and live Gospel music was my introdution. From there I joined the choir and band coming up through school which eventually got me into writing and producing my own music.
Earliest Hip-Hop memory?
Ki: Probably being 6 years old and my dad letting me buy the clean version of Mase’s Harlem World album from K Mart. We would ride around and blast it in his ’98 gold Firebird.
Biggest musical inspirations?
Ki: I think the foundation is people from my childhood church like Byron Lander, Marcus Tolliver, David Rogers, and The Wilson sisters who all played a vital role in the sound that was being made in that sanctuary. Now I think its artists like Iman Omari who have unique sounds with real instrumentation with a true message that can help people.
What are some of the concepts and messages listeners will hear in your music?
Ki: I think my music is an expression of a young Black male trying to navigate life and hold and maintain some moral grounds for himself and the overall Black and hip-hop community. I try to be free and fun with it in the midst of delivering, messages of hope, change, growth and analysis of the current situations and political struggles.
Favorite piece of your own music?
Ki: My favorite piece is probably a song called 12:01pm from an album I made in 2015 called Black Soul. It was basically about trying to survive the police and really inspired by Mike Brown. I would say that whole album is my favorite body of work just because it was my first solo project outside of the crew I made music with.
What are your thoughts on the Hip-Hop industry? What about your relationship with it?
Ki: There is good and bad things going on with hip-hop. I think I enjoy the knowledge and the various independent publications and podcasts that cover hip-hop. We really get to know artists and their process, and their psyche regarding various topics and creations. I think sonically and visually there are some dope artist out there. With that said, I’ve been challenging myself to dig a little deeper for arists that aren’t being pushed in my face. I find excitement in that and I’m often very satisfied with what I find. There are some talented people in the world. Don’t get clouded by the numbers and what you hear on the radio and see on TV all the time. You might find something that actually uplifts you a little more.
Stream "Living Not Dying" featuring Mari the 5th
Photographer - Pablo Prez (@p_castroman)