Are you in love with that Haus Labs make-up line by Lady Gaga? Beyoncé’s Adidas designer collection? Rihanna‘s Fenty brand? Music and fashion are bonding together with a massive influence on the Pop planet! Our next artist Kaelin Kost started music at a very young age and has worked in the fashion industry for quite some time now. Both worlds collide for this Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based newcomer, stunningly coming across the scene.
Music is a huge part of her life, it’s boiling in her veins. Kaelin Kost’s debut single ‘Mulholland Drive’ is that dose of snappy R&B we all need. It’s mysterious and captivating. Then, she went in the opposite direction with some lo-fi folk in the likes of her major icon PJ Harvey. ‘Lightning Love’ is that rebellious and strong anthem. So, what can we expect from her upcoming single ‘4am’? Probably calm, soothing, and melodic, but we’ll get the surprise on June 23rd!
Kaelin Kost has so many musical and inspirational thoughts for us to discover. In this interview, we explore her eclectic universe from her grandma’s house music memories to the first steps she took in the fashion and music industry. From the runways to the studios, she uses her creative inspirations with huge potential. Who’s ready to enter her mix of vintage and modernist impressions?
What would you say was the moment that made you realized music was something you really wanted to do? Is it something you always thought was meant for you?
I’ve been singing and writing songs since as early as I can remember, and would “perform” for my friends and family any chance I got haha. I grew up doing musical theater and was in a band in high school (just performing at local events, talent shows, etc.), but I kind of stopped doing music altogether when I moved to New York for college to study Textile Design.
After a few years, I realized there was this huge part of my identity missing. I was still writing songs in the form of acapella voice memos on my phone, but I had no outlet for any of it. That’s when I realized this distant dream was something I actually wanted to pursue. I just missed singing so much.
You’ve worked as a print designer for major runways, what sparked your interest in art and design?
I’ve loved to draw and paint forever, and I think I’ve always known I’d end up pursuing art in some way. In high school, I studied fine arts, and I wanted to figure out a way to combine my love of art and fashion. I couldn’t sew, so I knew I’d be way behind if I went to school for fashion design. Textile/print design ended up being a perfect option. I love that I still get to draw and paint almost every day!
Who are your major fashion icons and how would you describe your own personal style? Would you consider yourself as someone brand loyal or experimental in fashion!?
Thefirst style idol that comes to mind (music idol as well) is PJ Harvey. I guess she sits somewhere between goth and grunge. She’s obviously a 90’s icon, but I find her style simultaneously timeless. She’s just the coolest in my book, effortless. I think my own style also has elements of goth and grunge.
If I had to sum it up, I’d say I went through a relatively hardcore emo phase as a teenager, and I think the remnants of that are still there… I’m much more experimental than brand loyal. Though I love finding new up-and-coming designers, I prefer to wear vintage more often than not. I just love finding unique pieces that I know no one else has.
As someone who has worked in fashion, how would you say style plays a part in your aesthetic as a musician?
I love this question! It’s interesting because in the world of print I’ve always been drawn to this very retro 70s aesthetic. My grandma’s kitchen in Pittsburgh is like a time capsule; it literally hasn’t changed since she moved in over 50 years ago. She has this insane floral wallpaper there that I’ve always been obsessed with, and it still influences my taste in design to this day.
I think my music also carries a sense of nostalgia. I’m super into 90s trip-hop artists like Tricky and Sneaker Pimps, as well as 70’s legends like The Mamas & the Papas (I die for Michelle Phillips and Mama Cass). My song ‘Lightning Love’ was inspired by this little-known Elvis tune, ‘In My Way.’ Overall, when it comes to creative inspo, I definitely look most to the past.
How would you say creativity differs in terms of creating print art to music? Is there any similarity?
As a raging Virgo, I think to be good at anything you have to treat it like a job at some point. With print design, for instance, I’ve gotten used to doing 4-5 designs a day, and it often feels more like flexing a muscle than pure creativity. I’m fine with this though, there’s a huge satisfaction that comes with building and perfecting a skill.
With music, I definitely have more creative freedom, and it comes from a place that’s deeply personal. That being said, I’m glad that I finally get to treat it like work as well. Doing sessions, writing camps, and learning how to push through writing blocks has made me feel way more confident as a songwriter.
New York City is one of those places that has produced some of the most creative individuals since the dawn of the entertainment industry. How do you think the city has shaped you as a native to the area and a creative yourself?
Well, I’m not a native to New York, I actually grew up in Pittsburgh. Having lived here for over 10 years though, I think I’m officially allowed to call myself a “New Yorker.” Of course, it’s amazing to be around the ridiculously creative and talented people that flood this place, but more than anything I think New York has taught me to be confident in my ideas and assertive in my vision.
I have a sort of love/hate with this city, and sometimes it can feel like a toxic relationship. But New York has given me tough skin, plenty of stories to tell, and just enough discomfort to force me to write my way through it. (Don’t get me wrong, I <3 NY forever.)
Doing covers on YouTube is something you really enjoy, what’s a track you haven’t covered yet but would love to put your own spin on?
This may come as a surprise.. but hear me out. I really want to do a dark trip-hop version of Kevin Lyttle’s ‘Turn Me On.’ That and ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ by The Mamas & the Papas. It’s a wide spectrum.
‘Mulholland Drive’ is your debut single, what was it about that track that made you certain it was what you wanted to use as the world’s introduction to you as an artist?
The first time I listened to our demo of Mulholland Drive in the car, I knew it was a banger. I like that it sits a bit left of pop, but is still super accessible to everyone. It’s a radio jam but still has a sort of edge to it which I love.
‘Lightning Love’ is a strong contrast with the lyrics about relationship toxicity and the ethereal soft melodies. What message do you hope the listener takes away from this track?
Yes we thought of ‘Lightning Love’ as a kind of b-side record, where you get a much more intimate version of me as a songwriter. I hope the listener gets a sort of bittersweet feeling in their stomach when they hear it. I hope it reminds them of something intense but ultimately fleeting, and that this fleeting was for the best.
With the ‘Lightning Love’ video, how did the concept come about? Are you still finding glitter everywhere?
We wanted the video to feel very intimate and dream-like, with slow-mo atmospheric glitter intensifying as the song progresses. We wanted something super stripped down and raw. Also, yes. I don’t know if it made it into the video, but there was one shot where you can see a piece of glitter literally in the back of my throat. For weeks I was finding it in every possible orifice, so I will likely be avoiding glitter from now on.
What can fans look forward to this year? Any EP or album in the works?
I don’t know how much I can give away, but I’d say an EP is absolutely in the cards and sooner than you might think! So many songs are in my archive at this point, so when it comes time for an album I can’t wait to go through and select that body of work. I may actually already be thinking about album 2… but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’ll just say, stay tuned!
Are you excited like us about Kaelin Kost’s projects? What do you think about it? Stay tuned at The Honey Pop to know more! Share your ramblings about this amazing music with us on Twitter @TheHoneyPop, Facebook or Instagram.
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Featured Image Source: 300 Entertainment and Brittaney Penney, THP Graphic Design Team