Everything starts out as a little bit of something. And then there’s growth, which occurs naturally provided there’s room for it. For some, this growth happens slowly. For others this happens exponentially, aggressively challenging everything around until it becomes dominant. This is Lady Kiwi.
She’s a young self-starter, musician and fashionista living in a place where her attitude blends and maneuvers among other like-minded people. I’m no fortune-teller, but if I had to guess where she’s headed I’d say up, way up.
How did it all begin for you?
It mostly began with loads of time, a widely unheard of Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), and a crappy Dell computer that didn’t actually work. I was sitting in my room producing decent sounding music (for a ten year old at least), and recording my voice on a built-in computer microphone that sounded like the gates of hell grating cheese.
Needless to say, I think my circumstances have improved since then.
Some artists think “the struggle” is an important first step. Do you think those modest days have had a positive effect on you? Would you have preferred higher quality equipment from the jump?
I think everyone’s come up is influenced by an array of factors and events. There isn’t one type of “struggle” per se that qualifies an artist to be authentic or successful, because we all experience our own version of a struggle. Mine was a very common version of that, where I started out with a lack of capital and connections. But in a way I’m proud of that because now I can look at all that old work and see how much of a journey it’s really been. Also if it weren’t for that I wouldn’t be able to appreciate good quality when I see it.
So you’re in New York now. How does living in the city effect your music?
Living in the city has had a huge influence on the people I collaborate with. Coming from a suburban area, most of my connections were limited, as well as less credible (no shade to my early collaborators). Being in the city has afforded me to work with other people who are just as serious about my career as I am, and as a result I’ve built an ever-growing team of close friends/professionals who believe in my dream and are working so hard to make it a reality.
Being here has opened up doors that I didn’t even know were possible to open. My production took leaps and bounds because of the resources available through my school & through people I’ve managed to develop crucial relationships with.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in New York?
All the construction and January.
Do you find that being young opens doors for collaboration or makes it harder?
I think being young definitely has it’s benefits. I’m a double whammy, because most people assume I’m much older than I look, and when they learn my actual age, they’re blown away. Generally though, I’ve always worked with and spent time around people older than I am, so to me I haven’t felt a noticeable difference regarding how people receive my efforts to collaborate.
Where did the name ‘Lady Kiwi’ come from?
Brace yourself. It’s an anti-climactic story. My friend and I were joking about becoming rappers one day, and I decided that I wanted to come up with a stage name instead of using my real name, which at the time was already taken by another Nigerian artist on iTunes. He said, “what about kiwi?” And I took it as a joke and rolled with it. When I got older and started taking music seriously, I tried changing the name, but ultimately the reaction was “why would you change it? We all know you as Lil Kiwi!” So I as like okay, I’ll keep it.
But then my mom discovered this and she said “I don’t want you to be a little piece of fruit.” And that’s how I changed Lil Kiwi to Lady Kiwi.
What’s the craziest shit that’s happened to you in the last 6 months?
Craziest shit…. hmm probably getting my heart broken. But let’s not get too into that. lol
Are musicians better off dating non-musicians or is it all good?
I’m the worst person to ask. Most musicians of all persuasions would agree that dating another artist in the same field as you is probably a horrible decision. I, on the other hand, live in a fantasy world where my prince charming is the next Jay-Z and we wear matching outfits onstage and create our own couples’ clothing line (ok maybe thats a tad bit too far but you get the idea). Part of me knows it’s too much to hope for which is why I’ve stopped the “search,” and taken a break from relationships.
My last relationship was with someone who was an actor, and that was pretty dramatic… Nevertheless I’ve decided to keep my options open while still staying guarded. I personally don’t mind dating other artists. Maybe if I had my current/realistic preference it would be a more behind-the-scenes producer or an engineer who’d be relatable yet still a great addition to my life + career.
Is New York as fashion-forward as people think it is?
Not in all cases. I think it largely depends on who and where you spend your time around. In the Village there tends to be this college-student-t-shirt-and-baggy-jeans type walking around most of the time. Every once in a while you’ll find some striking combination or some dope stiletto booties on third avenue, but overall I find the area I live in to be lackluster in the fashion department.
On the flip side, some of the shops I visit have some amazingly bold and interestingly unique designs, which makes me figure people may buy awesome outfits but just never have the confidence to wear them. The streets better look out though. When summertime hits, I’m usually the brightest button walking down broadway.
What are your thoughts on web/content piracy these days?
There was a post I once saw on tumblr that said “even if I had all the money in the world I would still download music illegally.” I could not agree more. There are books written about this but I’ll try to be concise. The world of modern technology has begun to flip the entire music industry in circles and as a result it’s landed on its butt. It frustrates me so much when fellow indie no-name artists talk about selling songs and trying to make money off of their album/EP sales.
WE ARE NOT IN THE 1960’s ANY MORE, AND NEITHER ARE YOU BEYONCE. Instead of trying to force this old paradigm of “aye check out my mixtape fam” we need to start embracing what the digital age has introduced: the idea of freemium.
This is why platforms like Spotify, Hulu, and Dropbox have become so successful. Give people a taste of the full package, and they’ll buy the full package. It’s like sampling food. And obviously its way more complex than that. Use google to drop some knowledge. Bottom line: I’m 100% all about this new approach to music and business in general, and I think if more people started to embrace it we’d see way more indie success.
I’m putting all my music out for free. It might potentially be on iTunes for simple convenience but once it’s released you will always be able to get my music for free.
What’s next for you?
I just released a new music video titled, “This One,” which is the first original song I’ve allowed the world to sniff since high school. On April 7th, I’ll be releasing a 5-song EP, “Roses,” which is a personal journey through a tumultuous relationship beginning in heart break and ending in redemption. It’ll primarily be released on my website for (FREEEEEE) download, as well as available for streaming via SoundCloud and as stated before, possibly on iTunes.
The same day, my team and I will be releasing a video for my new single, “Champion,” directed by Savannah Gatton. From there it’s performing and gigging non-stop, so if you’re in the tri-state area you’re gonna have no excuse for not meeting me!
If you had to describe a Joy-Toilet as a physical object, what would it look like?
[Laughs] When I think of a Joy-Toilet honestly I think of the relief you get when you finally take a shit after a long ass day of eating nothing but Chipotle (not that that’s happened to me or anything, ha.ha.ha.) I imagine a big happy yellow toilet with a gigantic smiley face on it (maybe some teeth showing?) and sparkles all over the rim. Maybe a victorious, happy song blasts from a back speaker when you flush. Who knows?
Check out her Website
Follow Lady Kiwi on Twitter