Kay All Day [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – There’s that point in a career when things finally shift – say, from sleeping on a friend’s couch to having P. Diddy interrupt your meetings – and you can feel the momentum building. Kay‘s been pushing for that moment for many years, and it seems to have arrived. Backed by Universal Canada, in with the in-crowd, and endorsed by some of ATL’s biggest producers, this little blond girl is makin’ good. With her brand new video for “My Name Is Kay” making waves, HipHopCanada sat down with the would-be rockstar to talk a bit about coastal differences, her Vancouver crew, and her rise to becoming a role model.
HipHopCanada: I know you’re from Nova Scotia, so how long have you been in Vancouver?
Kay: Vancouver probably four years, but it’s been back and forth for a year, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, L.A. I came out here for a little bit then I moved back home with my parents for a little while.
HipHopCanada: Always gotta do the move back home.
Kay: Oh! Yeah! Well my parents are the most encouraging parents, they’re always just like “you know your room is here honey, so if you want to come back home, not a problem. Your mom’s turning it into a craft room, but we’ll just move the yarn over because it’s here for you, its scary out there.” Like this is not helping me become an adult at all!
HipHopCanada: What are some of the big differences you’ve noticed between the East coast and the West coast?
Kay: Well I mean for me personally, my entire family is on the East coast and I have a huge family, so it’s only me on the West coast. When I first moved here it was a little bit lonely, but I mean there’s a lot more things to do here. A lot more stuff to do. People don’t drink as heavily as they do on the east coast. We really like a lot of kitchen parties, a lot of beer and a lot of food. That’s kind of what my family fills their time with in Cape Breton. Where as here everyone’s so much more active, so it’s completely different. But I love it here.
HipHopCanada: When you said that when you first moved here you were pretty alone. Were there people that you really found that you attached to and that have been good mentors to you out here?
Kay: Yeah, of course. There’s some amazing musicians in Vancouver that I’ve become friends with. There’s this band called Dirty Radio, really good friends of mine, really amazing nice guys. Also this group called The Hastings Set. All of those types of people really opened their arms to me and there was actually a point where I was a little bit homeless, and they really helped me.
HipHopCanada: Homeless in what sense, like living on the street?
Kay: Well I was in a circumstance where I didn’t have anywhere to go. I was going to like food banks and stuff. I was not sleeping on the street I was sleeping on my friend’s couches. But I was pretty broke. A lot of amazing musicians in Vancouver that I’ve become friends with, that really stepped up and said, “We want to help you out! Come live with us! We’ll help you.”
HipHopCanada: I remember interviewing Chin Injeti a few years back, I asked him who the next up and coming artist from Vancouver was and he said, “In a few years everybody’s going to know Kay’s name”.
Kay: I remember when he said that, that like totally made my month. Yea Chin was one of those people that really helped me out; he’s got a heart of gold. He’s been so supportive, everyone’s so supportive of each other here, I love it.
HipHopCanada: How did you get hooked up with Universal?
Kay: Everything, pretty much all of my success, stems back to my management. I’ve been doing this for a really long time, trying really hard. It’s funny, people love recommendations, more than someone just being like, “Hey, excuse me! I’m Kay! Pay attention to me, I’m cool!” But it wasn’t until I started working with Last Gang Management, they’re in Toronto, that’s how they started everything. They have really great relationships obviously with Universal and other labels. They took a chance on me, that’s for sure, and they’re like family. It’s really exciting.
HipHopCanada: What kind of approach do you see yourself and the people around you taking to your marketing and what’s your part in that?
Kay: Everything. Everything from the blog, to the videos, to the pictures, its all been me. I think sometimes people think because you might be signed to a major label that there’s somebody kind of orchestrating it for you? That hasn’t been the case with me. Everyone’s been really supportive. I actually initially thought someone was going to be telling me what to do and, “Hey this is how you should be doing this, and that.” Everyone’s just been like, “Yeah, what you’re doing is really great!” So, I’m just kind of doing what I love to do, and I just want people to get to know me. So the blog and all that kind of stuff is just me.
HipHopCanada: Coming out with your single, “My Name is Kay”, that’s kind of a big statement, stepping out to the stage, this is me! How has that been received and who do you feel is really picking up on that?
Kay: I’m shocked everyday that people listen to it and the response has been positive. I was kind of really hoping that people would like it, it’s really scary. “My Name is Kay” was basically like, I want people to know who I am, and I felt like that was a really good introduction. I’ve been really surprised at kind of the younger people that like it. Like young girls and stuff like that. Like really young, you know 5, 6, 13 years old, say like “My name is Kay!” I’m just like, wow! It’s amazing.
HipHopCanada: Do you see yourself maybe potentially moving into a role model position there? If these young girls are attracted to what you’re doing, is that something you want?
Kay: 110% yeah. For sure. That’s my passion. I’ve definitely had my hard times, just being a girl and growing up. I’ve probably gone through a lot of similar situations that other people have. I think if you’re an artist it’s kind of your job to have some sort of platforms to stand on and it’s really really important to me to be a good role model and to show girls, like love yourself! No matter what color your hair is, what color your skin is, what size you are. That’s why I love people like Waffles and Falafels girls cause their whole slogan is “real girls do real things”. I love that! There’s not a lot of women or artists out there who are pushing that. You always kind of feel like you need to be like something, but I just really want to promote people being themselves.
HipHopCanada: You’re not necessarily a hip-hop artist, but hip-hop is kind of infused into your style. Being a white girl in the hip-hop world isn’t necessarily that welcoming, have you come across any roadblocks like that?
Kay: Totally. I think people are always really surprised a chick with blonde hair, blue eyes would sincerely love hip-hop. I mean I don’t want to put myself out there as a hip-hop artist, but its funny I’m really really inspired by hip-hop. Like early 90’s and stuff like that, I just love it. But my music doesn’t really sound like it, but I’m really inspired by it. I’m also really inspired by Motown and stuff like that too. Whatever it is always comes out sounding kind of like me, but I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing hip-hop guys from Atlanta, and they were so welcoming to me, and I was really afraid. I just feel like if hip-hop producers from Atlanta can accept me, I’m good enough. I could care less what everyone has to say, I’m just like, I’m in! These guys are pretty legit, so I feel good about that.
HipHopCanada: Got any good stories to end with?
Kay: I do have a story that might interest you. When I was in LA, I went to Interscope to meet with Jimmy Iovine, which for starters is like crapping my pants. So anyways, I’m very nervous for this interview, there’s a lot of people in the room that I don’t know saying nice things about me and I’m like okay fair enough. Jimmy Iovine has been on American Idol and stuff like that recently, so people can kind of hear his voice, he’s got a very specific voice, so anyways he’s kind of talking to me and I’m not really taking in what he’s saying because I’m so nervous and then on the door I hear a little knock. Who pokes their head in? P.Diddy! P. Diddy interrupts my meeting! So bizarre. And he has all these medallions on, he’s like, “Oh! Sorry did I just interrupt something?” And I was like, bring him in, bring him in! And then, in like the middle of such an important meeting, Jimmy gets up and he’s like, “I’ll be right back.” Just leaves! And everyone’s kind of looking at each other like, do you think he likes her? Who knows? And then he comes back in and he’s like, “Hey! Book the jet to Paris! Me and Diddy are going to Paris tomorrow”. And then he looks at me and he’s like, “How cool is that?” I’m like, yeah it’s pretty friggen cool Jimmy, do you like me or…what’s the deal here? Yeah, so that was pretty cool. So one day I hope to meet P.Diddy or Puff Daddy or whatever, and be like, man you interrupted my meeting! It was amazing.
Interview and Photography by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Don’t forget to check out Kay’s blog: www.mynameiskay.com