Kid Sister Interview
|Next Project:||KoKo B. Ware (July '08)|
|Twitter:||Kid Sister on Twitter|
|Website:||Kid Sister's Website|
Survey today’s R&B landscape and you’ll find that female artists like Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Beyonce are some of the most prominent names in the music business. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for females in Hip-Hop. Rappers Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and Remy Ma are out of jail, in jail, and on their way to jail respectively, and veterans such as Eve, Da Brat and Salt-N-Pepa haven’t released anything in years.
If women have a future in hip-hop music, there might just be a Chicago MC who will lead the way; her name is Kid Sister. Known nationally thanks to a guest spot from Kanye West on her super-hyper single, “Pro Nails,” the Midwest-born Melisa Young is fresh off appearances at both the SXSW Music Conference and MTV, and recently signed a label deal with indie-major, Downtown Records.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Kid Sister steps inside the booth to talk about her post-college struggles, her refusal to become the product of a ‘corporate think-tank,’ and when fans can expect her debut album, “KoKo B. Ware.”
Listen to the Interview
Kid Sister Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is my homegirl from my city of Chicago, known by many as that artist who did that hot fingernail song with my man Kanye, please welcome Kid Sister – how you doin’, sweetheart?
Kid Sister: Hello! Hey-hey-hey, how you doin’?
DJ Booth: I am doin’ wonderful, I am doin’ wonderful. How are you?
Kid Sister: I’m all right, I’m all right – what’s goin’ on?
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on is, I heard you absolutely killed it at the SXSW Music Conference. Did you hear the same thing?
Kid Sister: Well, the only people I really have is, my brother, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s brother; that’s the only people who I’m like, “How’s it sounding to you?” And they’ll tell me straight up. It’s a little something called “tough love.” [laughter] And when I first started, my brother would lie to me, and he’d be like, “Yeah, it’s great, keep goin’!” And it wasn’t that great. And after a while, he quit lying. If I come out with maybe a verse that’s not quite up to snuff, he’ll let me know, but, for the most part, I feel really supported.
DJ Booth: Obviously you had to do a lot to get to the point where you’re at right now. I read that that after college, in order to maintain, you had to work three non-related music jobs, which I’m sure must have been frustrating. How hard was it knowing that you wanted to invest time and money into music, but you really were limited in both?
Kid Sister: Well, I didn’t really want to do anything, per se, in music. After I graduated is when I had the three jobs, just so everybody knows. Because I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna graduate, and I’m gonna have a degree, and even if it is in film, I got my degree!” And I feel like, on the black side of the family, it’s just commonly known: if you have a degree, it doesn’t matter, that just equals money and job security, right? I was like, “Yeah! F*ck that sh*t, I’m gonna get a job! I’m gonna get a job, and it’s gonna be great!” And I graduated and I didn’t get a job. I had tried to get any and every desk job I could, because I didn’t have health insurance. I got too old to be on my mother’s health insurance, and I’m like, “You know what? I need to get a desk job.” No one would hire me, ‘cause I didn’t know Microsoft Office Suite. Does anybody out there know Access? I don’t know Access! Do you know access, Brian? I don’t know Access!
DJ Booth: I do not.
Kid Sister: The point is, I couldn’t get a job, so I had to get a job at Bath & Body Works, a reggae bar, and a children’s clothing store called Little Threads. And that’s where I still work today. I struggled for a long time, and it was really, really hard, but I’m not on public aid anymore, no more LIHEAP – thank you very much, state of Illinois. Things are good.
DJ Booth: Okay, so the two choices I’m gonna offer you here are making good money but not doing music, or making enough money just to get by, but only doing music – which do you choose? Your livelihood is at stake.
Kid Sister: Well, that’s what I’m doing right now, and I’m loving it, so… [laughter] I can buy whatever I want now. When I was working at Little Threads, and working the other two jobs, we’re not talking, like, “I have these three jobs to maintain a certain lifestyle.” I had those three jobs, and I wasn’t making my bills. I had those three jobs, and I was still on public aid. You hear about the working poor, yadda yadda – I was the working poor. Barely making my rent, rent was like three weeks late, my landlord was all like, “Yo, could you please pay your rent now?” [laughter] And I’m like, “I’m trying!” Now I feel that I can make my bills, and I’m doin’ okay, and I’m doin’ what I love, things are good. So definitely – I would never want to work at Jackson Hewitt…
DJ Booth: No matter how much money they offer – that’s the right call.
Kid Sister: I know! ‘Cause some people are miserable, whatever. Some people are happy doing that, but a lot of them are miserable working ninety hours a week. That’s how I feel about it.
DJ Booth: Couldn’t agree more. If you have to roll out of bed every day and work, you might as well be happy.
Kid Sister: And I don’t even roll out of bed; I work in bed, so hey. [laughter]
DJ Booth: I guess that’s the best of both worlds.
Kid Sister: Yep.
DJ Booth: You’ve been rapping for less than two years now, right?
Kid Sister: Mm-hm.
DJ Booth: What have you learned about yourself, in this short period of time?
Kid Sister: What I’ve learned about myself is that I can do what I wanna do, and follow my dream, and do what it is that I think I was intended to do on this earth: be creative, and just be wacky and silly, and just be myself. Next question. [laughter]
DJ Booth: Interesting! [laughter]
Kid Sister: Oh, goodness!
DJ Booth: Knowing all about the current direction of the music industry, not to mention the select few females who are really in a position to truly succeed as we speak, what is your plan of action in order to really succeed in this business, and really make a name for yourself?
Kid Sister: Wow! I feel like I’ve done so well just being myself. And a lot of artists are manufactured out there. A lot of artists just came from a corporate think tank or came from some sort of board meeting, you know what I mean? And I’m not talkin’ smack on anybody, ‘cause I love a lot of these artists.
DJ Booth: No, talk smack, that’s good – it’s fun!
Kid Sister: No, no no! No smack, no smack, okay? Like, “I don’t do drugs!” A lot of them are just, you see how they were a result of something calculated. If big success comes out of this, that would be great. If it doesn’t, I’m just glad that I got to do and see everything that I’ve gotten to do and see so far. So, cross your fingers for your girl, please! Cross your fingers and say a little prayer!
DJ Booth: Well, the fingers are crossed as we speak, and you don’t have to worry about that. You mentioned yourself, you’re trying to break into this industry with a unique sound, a unique vibe, and an energy not really found in most artists—at least that I interview.
Kid Sister: I just like being happy. I’m sorry! I just like bein’ alive. And, I’m not workin’ at three jobs anymore. That was depressing; this is fun! So it’s like, might as well enjoy it.
DJ Booth: Exactly. I can’t name another female rapper who tried to break into this biz using house, club or techno music as their backdrop. Now, I’m from Chicago, so I know all about this sound – do you think people nationwide are gonna be able to adapt to what you’re tryin’ to do?
Kid Sister: I dunno! I barely leave my house, so I couldn’t tell you what people are gonna be able to do! [laughter] I barely know what I’m gonna be able to do from check to check! I mean, I hope so, but I feel that if an artist comes out, and their sound is coming from a place of authenticity and a place of passion, and it really just sound like what you see is what you get, then good things are gonna happen. And I think I can say that for myself.
DJ Booth: You said you’re doin’ a promo tour, so you’re tryin’ to get out all across the country and introduce your name and your sound. Thus far, what kind of reaction do you feel you’ve gotten when your music’s been played? ‘Cause you say you don’t get out much, you don’t get to see their reactions, but really now is that opportunity for you.
Kid Sister: Yeah! I always feel really embraced when I go out and do a show. The only show I did that I feel kinda funny about was this really sketchy club show with Akon. And I was really worried that he was gonna throw me at off the stage! [laughter] I was like, “Please don’t touch my legs!”
DJ Booth: Well, listen: every time I go online or I read the newspaper, and I look at headlines that revolve around a female rapper, you know what I’m seeing? Someone’s either in jail, on trial, or goin’ to jail. First it was Kim, then Foxy, now Remy – can you make the world a promise, Mel, that you are going to stay clean and out of jail?
Kid Sister: I can make the world a promise that I’m going to pray for folks that need prayer. But, anybody who knows me knows that daddy didn’t raise no punk b*tch!
DJ Booth: All right, we’re gonna have some fun now, and obviously this is all because of your popular, Kanye-assisted remix to “Pro Nails.” I never in my life have painted my fingernails, believe it or not-
Kid Sister: Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
DJ Booth: Of course not! But from what I understand, the selected color choice can represent a person’s personality. Have you heard that also?
Kid Sister: No – that sounds like some New Age-y stuff. Tell me more!
DJ Booth: Oh, I’m doin’ my research here. When you paint your fingernails, what color do you think best characterizes the personality of Kid Sister?
Kid Sister: Purple. [laughter] I like purple and pink. That’s really what I rotate on. Right now I’m on a burnt orange-red, and I don’t like it. It’s like, “I’m angry!” [It gets] me all riled up! I really like purple and pink ‘cause, you know, I’m a girly girl, and those a girly colors. It doesn’t go deeper than that.
DJ Booth: Moving forward, I’m sure after people either see you, hear this interview, or read about your music somewhere on the Internet, they’re gonna want to know: when’s an album coming out? When can we hear a full-length? So go ahead, tell everybody.
Kid Sister: [singing] July 2008, yeah! And you know what? It’s gonna be my birthday, so we’re thinking of doing a commemorative ‘get-outta-the-hood’ on a party boat in the city of Chicago, with catering, with wings, jalapeño poppers, and mini egg rolls, and lots of alcohol. So basically, get outta the boat, check it out.
DJ Booth: That sounds great! If I have an invitation, I will be there – the jalapeño poppers sold me!
Kid Sister: Okay, thank you. It’s like cream cheese and jalapeños and deep-fried?
DJ Booth: Seriously! Mel, give everybody a website or a MySpace page, so they can find out more about what you got goin’ on.
Kid Sister: [shouting] myspace.com/kidsister!
DJ Booth: I thank you for taking the time to join me inside the DJ Booth, and I got you till the day your career ends, which should hopefully not be for a very, very long time, my dear.
Kid Sister: Aw… I’m like, “I hope not!” [laughter] All right, well, thank you so much, I really appreciate the opportunity to say hello to everybody and say hello to you.