Kris Kiss is a singer, rapper, and songwriter from the UK who has been featured on tracks by Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Chocolate Puma, Don Diablo, Toby Green, Fedde le Grand, Merk & Kremont, Vato Gonzales, JustLuke and many more. He's currently working to release his first solo album in 2019.
What have been some of your biggest inspirations?
The first musical memory I have is my mum listening to singers like George Michael, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder among many others. I guess I always had a natural interest in music as I would spend hours and hours learning the songs word by word and then I would sing them at the top of my voice around the house. Eminem was the one and only reason why I fell in love with rap. When I came across the "Marshall Mathers LP," my mind was just blown. I never considered myself a "singer" in the beginning. I mean I used to write a lot of stories, poetry, and rap lyrics before I started writing full-on songs.
The first time I realised I could sing was when I was studying music technology in college. We had an assignment that involved recording a male singer so we went round the room and various people gave it a shot. Eventually it was my turn and I belted it out. I got such a great reception and people came up and told me how impressed they were with my singing. That was when I decided to merge rapping and singing together.
As far as other true inspirations go, it's not so much musicians I look up to, rather it's the people in my everyday life. My mum is my main inspiration as she's worked extremely hard to get to where she is today and I know that bringing me up on her own was not an easy task, believe me! ââ
You've been featured on so many classic tracks like "Step Back" from Chocolate Puma and "Anthem" by Hardwell and Steve Aoki. Could you give us some background on how you have established yourself as one of the most recognizable voices and talents in the EDM industry.
The first big break I had was "Step Back" back in 2013. I have my first ever manager Aaron Ross from Infinite Future Management to thank for that. Up until then, I had always been writing purely rap and R&B songs but Aaron suggested that I try to sing over house music. He had a lot of solid contacts in the industry and gave me a chance to work with some amazing names like Chocolate Puma. Although we no longer work with each other, I will always be grateful to him and wish him the best in everything he does. Anyway, back to the track, Chocolate Puma sent the beat over to him and I think I wrote and recorded the whole song in the space of two hours! Once I sat down with it, it all just flowed so naturally. A few months down the line, I hadn't heard anything about the track so I assumed it hadn't done well. Then I got a call from Aaron saying I've gone Gold in the Netherlands!
My plaque arrived and I couldn't believe it. Off the back of that release, I have had had pretty regular interest from DJ's and producers worldwide asking to work with me. Although it's not the initial musical direction I was intending on going, it's been a great journey and I feel very humbled by all of the love I've received.
What have been some of your favorite projects to work on?
Well my favorite project I've worked on is unreleased! It's my debut solo album. Each year, I tell myself the time is right, but then I get a load of feature work and push it back. I think I have enough solo material to create ten albums by now! I love having absolute creative freedom and starting with a blank canvas. Even when I'm not making music for work, I make music in my downtime; it's just what I do. Generally speaking, everyone I work with has there own unique gift and I just feel blessed to be connected with such talented people.
You often go out to MC for some of the DJs you've worked with. Tell us about some of your favorite memories from those events.
My favorite performance ever has to be Tomorrowland in Belgium a few years back with Laidback Luke and the Chocolate Puma boys. That day, I was off to a rough start because I had an absolutely horrific car ride to get there and I was extremely sleep deprived! We were scheduled on the SuperYou&Me stage and we were all asked to dress up like superheros so I dressed up as Superman. I walked out on stage in front of thousands of people and the energy was simply electric! When the beat dropped, I looked into the crowd and saw flags flying from all across the globe. It was a very special moment for me to be there with all of those people and sharing music together.
Every industry has its own unique set of challenges to be overcome and you're in the incredibly unique position of being one of the few EDM vocalists that many people would recognize. What sort of challenges have you had to overcome as you've moved through this industry?
This industry is an assault course at the best of times! I've had DJ's get my name wrong on primetime nationwide radio. I've had people steal and release my ideas by getting other singers to record it without my permission. I've had people tell me that I'll never be a rapper because I'm white and I'm not from "the ghetto." I've had people not pay me for my services. I've had countless amounts of people listen to my stuff and promise me the world and never follow through on any of it. I feel like if you have a weak will, this game will eat you alive, but if you can learn to have no expectations, it makes the goal a lot clearer and more manageable.
What sort of plans do you have for the future of Kris Kiss? Tell us what you've got coming up!
Solitary Enlightenment - Kris Kiss
In 2019, I will be releasing my first ever official solo album independently. I already have 4 of the music videos shot and the final tracklist. It's primarily rap-focused with tons of melodic hooks! I'm very excited to finally show everyone what I'm really about!
A huge thank you to Kris Kiss for taking the time to answer our questions. For all of the latest updates on his upcoming projects, be sure to follow him on social media using the links below!
INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD
Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student.
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