By Hannah Burkhart, Contributor
[Photo provided by Kiid Spyro via Instagram]
First off, I personally do not hear about hip-hop artists from Australia often. What is the scene like there? Who and what inspired you to start making music?
Kiid Spyro: The scene in Australia is drill, and I don’t make drill. People don’t really listen to this stuff I make. People really don’t make it. I grew up listening to American music. Kid Laroi was the only person from here making American style hip-hop. He was getting seen a lot because his style wasn’t popular down here. It was different, and people were like, “Why is an Australian making American music?” What’s popular here is, like, pop, EDM and whatever is on the radio. I’ll play a trap song, and people will be like, “What was that?” If people do listen to rap, it’s mostly drill.
When did you start making music? Have your sound and style changed much since then?
Kiid Spyro: When I first made music, it was 2017, and YBN Nahmir released a song, “Rubbin Off the Paint.” I didn’t have the courage to make anything before then, but when I heard this song, I thought, “I need to remix this or something.” So I got some equipment, and I made a remix. I used a webcam mic. My first rap name was Lil Polo. I used the program Audacity. This YouTuber called YoungHalfington would make tutorials on how to sound like different artists. When I showed people my “Rubbin Off the Paint” remix, they told me the writing wasn’t bad, but my voice wasn’t good. I didn’t want to do music again until I started listening heavily to X, Lil Peep and $uicideboy$. YoungHalfington made a community Discord server for his fans, and I joined it in September 2018 with a friend, Jay, I met on Discord. I made a song on Audacity. I’m pretty sure it was called “heartbreak.” I had a girlfriend at the time, and she cheated on me, and I thought, “fuck it,” and wrote a song about it, and it wasn’t actually bad. It wasn’t anything like what I make now, but it was something.
I learned how to use the FL Studio program from The Giving Note on YouTube, so I got a better USB mic, not a webcam mic anymore. It was so much better quality than Audacity, but it costs money. I was practicing making songs using these tutorials, still as Polo. I made a lot of love songs, and I thought they were good, but other people didn’t think so. This dude on Discord, who went by Banks, would always say, “Yo, this shit’s garbage.” He eventually told me to try a different style of rap, and I was like, “Bet.” He gave me an XXXtentacion type beat, and he actually ghost wrote my first song. I had HBK Banks and LTDREW on the track. I had never actually written a harder song. I’m not going to lie, I’m an angry person, but I don’t like speaking on that. Banks gave me guidance. We ended up making “Clout Demons” in maybe December 2018, and people would be like “Holy shit, this is you?” I made that song with him, and then I made “Danny Phantom,” and I haven’t talked to him since. The reason I’m making the music I am now is because of FL.
Your Spotify streams are pretty impressive for someone who has only been dropping music on the platform since 2019. I found it interesting that a large portion of your listeners are from Chicago. How do you think your style compares to American artists’ sounds? Is there much of a difference?
Kiid Spyro: I immerse myself in the music. Why would I follow a trend in Australia and make pop or drill when that’s not what I like? The reason my Spotify is getting Chicago streams is because my manager, Ryan, and I target certain audiences that we know are going to listen. I will be moving to America eventually, but I’ll never forget where I’m from. I want musicians in Australia not to be scared to make stuff other than drill. Make what you want to make.
How has your manager, Ryan Carrigan, whom you have not met in person due to COVID-19, benefited your career? What do you think your career would look like without him?
Kiid Spyro: Ryan has the right guidance for me. If I didn’t meet Ryan, I would still be on Discord asking other people for their opinions. I have guidance. I have the vision. I know what to follow. Without Ryan, I wouldn’t know what to do. I would still be making music, but it wouldn’t be getting where it needs to be without Ryan.
Your first drop of 2021 was the single “Hop Out!” On the track, you have an addicting nasally voice flowing against a melodic flute beat. What motivated this track?
Kiid Spyro: My friend Omer sent the beat, and the melody went straight to my head. I played the beginning and sent Ryan the first bar and he said, “Yo! You’ve gotta finish that.” I speak on the shit that goes around me—you know, the shit that I’ve seen.
Your new single, “Homie,” drops on Feb. 26. When I listened, I noticed a melodical flow with tougher lyrics, much like some American rappers. Who and what are your inspirations for this sound? Do you find it different from your past releases?
Kiid Spyro: Some of my biggest inspirations are Lil Baby and Lil Durk. I didn’t really want to make the hard rap stuff because I want to be respected as Kiid Spyro and not be in a box. I grew up singing R&B stuff. I wasn’t sure if I really enjoyed making the hard rap stuff I released in 2020. My song, “Hop Out!” though, that’s me. That’s what I wanted to do. I was always making melodic music because that’s what I want to do. I want to be more versatile, but in the back of my mind, I thought about the fact that my fanbase and my audience liked the heavy metal, hard rap sound. I worried that if I were to drop something like my track “fast,” they would obliterate me. But then I was like, “Wait, it’s my music, why should I care? There will be a different audience for different sounds.” My friend is a Fortnite YouTuber, and he thought the beat was perfect for editing videos and then more YouTubers made a video into it, and then it just blew up. As soon as I saw those numbers for a melodic song, I thought, “OK, now I know what Kiid Spyro is.” I’m still aggressive in my tone, but there’s a melodic twist to it. It’s literally a mix of my different styles. The singing is way more me. I get happy when I make that stuff.
Check out Kiid Spyro’s single, “Homie”, below.