NYC artist Kevin Holliday has been quietly breaking barriers and creating a sound out of Brooklyn that is completely his own. Following his first full project release in 2019, Kevin has been consistently dropping gems that further emphasize his everchanging nature and approach to music. We got a chance to chop it up with Kevin on the day of his latest single release "Lonely" about his biggest musical inspirations, learning lessons from 2020, big plans for the future, and the best way to define his genreless yet infectious sound:
Introduce yourself! Who is Kevin Holliday? Where are you from?
I’m an artist born and raised in Brooklyn. I don't really have a genre and I wouldn't exactly know how to describe the music I make besides showing someone, because it is always changing. I'm a really curious person first, and I try to approach pretty much everything with curiosity. I take a lot of influence from artists like Prince, Solange, Pharrell, and Tyler the Creator.
Being from New York I know how hard it is to have your music shine in a city with so much talent. How would you describe your sound?
I think my sound is rooted in funk but has so many layers to it. I tend to think of music and sound in terms of color. Like a painting, if you combine colors and keep mixing you're going to discover new tones and shades you didn't know existed. My goal with my music is to create something completely in its own lane. At the end of the day, I want to inspire people to be different in whatever they do, and to stay true to themselves even if that goes against the tide.
What are some of the biggest inspirations that you draw upon in your music?
I draw a lot from music in the 70s and 80s. I listen to a lot of funk and R&B like the Gap Band, Earth Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder, but I also take a lot of influence from punk bands like The Clash. Musically, my taste is like a sponge. I can appreciate pretty much any music that you show me. I think everything has something to offer one way or another.
Last year was a learning lesson for everyone. Honestly, 2021 feeling like the deluxe version of 2020 so far, but what are some of the biggest things you learned from this past year?
I think one of the main things I learned last year was how important it is to have a balance between working and leisure. I think it's easy for me to spend the entire day in the studio because it doesn't really feel like work. When you love something you're naturally drawn to it. But at certain points, I felt myself starting to ignore my body and my mental health. I think that's when something you love can become dangerous. I’m in a much better place in terms of finding a balance, but figuring that out took some time.
You've created a buzz around your music starting with your debut EP, Space Cadet in 2019, and multiple single releases like "Fire" and "Want Me Too" in 2020. One of the dopest things about your music is that you can tell it comes from a very genuine place. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in your sound (and yourself) since you first started releasing music?
I'm not afraid. I feel confident that I will put out anything at this point if it is true to my experience. Early on I felt myself getting way too caught up in how my music would be received and not enough on self-expression. Good art will always have people who don't like it. If nobody feels anything good or bad that might mean you're not pushing boundaries enough.
Going off of that you started the year off strong with "Tried My Best" at the beginning of January. Keeping it 100, our Music team has been bumping it constantly over here 😂, and we cannot wait to hear more from you soon. What are your goals for this upcoming year?
My main goal for 2021 is to set up a tour when concerts start opening up again. I've really been thinking about my artistry in the context of live performance. I want to put on the best live show I possibly can, especially if people are going to spend their hard-earned money to see me.
Stream Kevin Holliday's most recent single "Lonely" and follow him on IG to stay updated on what he's dropping next: