R&B singer Ky spoke to WBRU about the process of writing his first EP, his interest in fashion, and his plans for the future.
Pawtucket-born, LA-based singer Ky wrote his EP Apartment 38 with his jaw wired shut.
While Apartment 38 is Ky’s first EP, he’s been making music for a long time. His older brother, who’s a member of Rhode Island hip hop group Code Green, inspired his interest in music at a young age. “Growing up, [my brother] would always be in the basement, kind of just playing with mixes and recording random stuff, and I think that was a major, major influence,” says Ky. Then, as a sophomore at Iona College in New York, he started to record his own songs — his first one was called “Energy.” It’s a smooth, catchy R&B love ballad with a chilled-out beat.
Apartment 38 has a similar vibe, but it’s a little more pop-focused, lighter and airier. Ky’s lyrics are romantic and sensual, confused and hurt — “the chronicles of being in love at a young age.” He takes musical and poetic inspiration from singers like Brandy and Frank Ocean. Ironically, although his jaw was wired shut during the writing process because of an injury from an altercation, his voice is especially honest on this EP. On tracks like “Hesitation” and “Assumptions,” he opens up about love, sexuality, and the struggles of being in your early twenties.
In fact, “Hesitation” is Ky’s favorite of all the songs he’s written. “It’s honest… and there’s a lot of metaphors in it,” he says. “It was just a really weird time when I wrote that song, like it made a lot of things make sense.” Ky sinks into the uncomfortable aspects of making music, willingly vulnerable. It’s this openness that gives him the ability to craft such heartfelt lyrics. “It be the right love, wrong guy/why does feeling you feel like a crime?” he asks on “Hesitation.” It’s a question we can all relate to; love is powerful, but it doesn’t always work out.
Outside of music, Ky has his finger in a lot of pies. He’s interested in fashion, and he has been ever since he interned at a PR showroom during college. “It was an eye-opener for a different route of, like, what I want to do with my life… just a different passion, basically,” he says. After graduating from college with a PR degree, he moved to LA, where he is now a stylist for Fashion Nova. He also works on the side with a freelance styling gig, and he models for various brands, including a feature on genderfluid brand No Sesso’s instagram account. “I’ve always just loved clothes in general. Like, every time it was time for the school year, I would buy a million clothes and not even wear them,” says Ky. Styling is his way of expressing his love for fashion and finding another outlet for his abundant creative energy.
Recently, he started a YouTube channel, on which he’s posted music videos for his songs “Energy” and “Cruisin” and a submission video for a Lee Denim campaign. The music videos are set in open vistas, with Ky, alone against the big sky, singing to the camera. Or driving fast through the city night. The wide, cinematic settings of the videos match the drama of the lyrics — the love he sings about feels like a movie. Ky hopes to soon expand on these music videos and create a visual presentation of Apartment 38. He loves all the songs on the EP and wants to release videos for every one of them, not just two.
Although Ky now lives in LA, he still loves Providence. “Providence is always home… everyone keeps saying, you know, home doesn’t go anywhere. I always feel good when I’m back home for a little bit, to just regroup and refocus.” When he came to do a live session at WBRU, he was in the middle of a mini tour around New England and New York. In the near future, Ky is planning to keep working on his styling and fashion work, along with the visuals for his EP. He also would like to release some musical collaborations. With Ky’s creativity, drive, and diverse interests, we don’t know exactly what to expect from him, but we know it will be good — so keep your eye out for whatever he does next!