Kyan Palmer, on embracing pop and telling stories through songs in the LA music scene...
Kyan Palmer and dance-pop artist nicopop released their first collaborative album, It’s Called Branding Sweetie, back in December, and it’s an example of the wide variety of sound and style that pop music is today.
Palmer grew up in Arizona before deciding to give New York City a try, and finally landed in Los Angeles two years ago where he feels more at home and closer to the music
scene he is becoming a part of.
“I just feel like LA really helped me collaborate with people who are at a higher level, and I’ve honestly learned a lot more about pop music than I did when I was in New York.”
Palmer’s lyricism shows his love for music and the way he uses music to tell stories about the moments in his life. He brings an honesty to his songs that sets his music apart from traditional.
“I think, to me, it’s like whatever the story is that’s really what I’m writing. I’m just telling the story of what happened… I just want to encompass who I am because I’m not always one thing at any one time.”
Okay, so let’s talk about your new album. Where did the name “It’s Called Branding, Sweetie” come from?
“I feel like it really came from just innately being a bitch. Well, mostly haha. All the singles were a build-up of artwork, so we shot the artwork at the beginning of last year, knowing what it was going to build into. So we had this concept with it, and Nico’s brand is always computerized and pop-culture, and I think through that, we just kind-of decided we wanted to do a branded album, and kind of play on that-- and especially just me and culture. I feel like everyone is saying ‘sweetie’ and ‘you’re doing amazing sweetie,’ and we just went with it.”
Do you think living in LA affected that too?
“Oh, absolutely. I mean, LA is its own enigma really. I’ll tell you if I lived in Arizona I probably wouldn’t have come up with the title. I think being around here and being around people that sort of accept that kind of humor, and think it’s actually funny or something that’s interesting, really helped us open our minds to a name like that and actually using it. At first we were kind of laughing about it, but then I was like, ‘you know what? It’s entertaining,’ and we like it, so we stuck with it.”
Who has inspired you most? As you were growing up and listening to music, who have been your biggest inspirations?
“I grew up listening to Celine Dion and 50 Cent. So, probably those two. I got into music initially because I love people’s voices, so I think listening to those two growing up brought in the actual vocal talent side, with my whole just saying how you feel side. It’s a weird mix, but it’s the truth. My mom and my dad had two separate cars, and that’s what I got in each one!”
You have an older album back from 2018 (Burn Mona Lisa), and it definitely has a slower, kind of, more serious feel to it. How was the release of that different from the release of It’s Called Branding, Sweetie?
“It’s kind of funny, and this is why I really like albums, but as I’ve kind of done the whole ‘artist thing’ for a couple years now, I kind of like each project to be an era for me, where I have a cohesive sound for that point, and then change to how I’m feeling now. And honestly, before when I was living in New York, I don’t think I was as happy as I am now, and that is why a kind of darker, slower album came out of me. Then I kind of realized, doing the new album, that I’m a lot happier in the studio making more positive music. I mean, we’ll see if I get sad again and switch it up, but really at the end of the day, it was more creative. It was definitely just a different process, I feel like I was definitely more in my feelings when making [Burn Mona Lisa], and I feel like lately I’ve just been having more fun.”
Definitely. So would you say that your music is an outlet for how you’re feeling at the moment or would you say that it’s more who you are as a person overall? What parts of your life inspire your music the most?
“Yeah, and I think about this a lot, because I feel like there’s so many artists with, like, cohesive projects and then there’s so many artists that have things that are all over the place, and I just think of each song as a moment for me… or if it was twenty minutes from one day that I could like pull a story from. To me, it’s whatever the story is that’s really what I’m writing. I’m just telling the story of what happened. That’s what people were doing in ancient times writing songs. So, it’s like, I may very well have the saddest song ever on the next project and the happiest one like two tracks later. But I just want to encompass who I am, because I’m not always one thing at any one time.”
What’s it like working with nicopop?
“I love working with Nico. He definitely opened my mind up to this whole pop music/happy music thing, and to a whole different era of me that I got to gravitate towards with him. Even though this whole joint project has come to an end, we’re collabing and producing a lot of the records on my new stuff so that relationship is definitely not ending.”
I saw from your Facebook page that you recently joined with SB projects and Atlas Music Group, so how’s that been so far? How exciting!
“Yeah, it’s really exciting. It’s kind of funny I’ve just been waiting, well not waiting, but I’ve been doing this thing for a while now, and I’ve had different opportunities come up that just didn’t feel right for me. It was something where the second I met my current team over there, I was like, ‘wow, this is people I want to be around that I also think can make things happen that I couldn’t do for myself previously,’ so I’m really excited. It’s all still so fresh and new. It’s going to be an interesting ride. I’m really, really excited about it, and I can feel a lot of opportunities and new ventures coming my way.”
As for the future, we can expect some features from Palmer coming out over the next few months, and hopefully even a tour soon. He’s definitely someone to keep your eye on, especially if you love fun pop beats and excellent lyricism.