We recently sat down with the Illinois Hip Hop artist, who is coming off the back of a brand new single. The artist discusses his start in music, the challenges he was faced with and the inspiration behind his records. It's clear from the conversation below that Kilevrah has been a real ambassador for independent artists with experience touring and selling his own merchandise. Using his past as a motivating factor to push forward with his music and chase his dreams.
1. What was growing up in Illinois like for you?
"Growing up in Illinois is unlike any other place I’ve been to. Everybody knew each other because the population wasn’t high at all. The city I grew up in is called Kankakee. They nicknamed it Killakeyz because of the violent summers that lead to shoot outs and some deaths. Most of the year it’s very cold. The city is filled with talent whether it be Academically, Sports, Entertainment, etc. The only problem is the lack of motivation, when all the signs point to nothing it’s hard to see something."
2. Did it inspire who you are as an artist?
"My city definitely inspired me. Once everyone knew I could rap, that’s all they would talk about. It motivated me to keep going when I was losing my interest in it."
3. Overcoming failure is one of the leading themes in your work especially on your 2017 single On the Go, how did you approach
those setbacks that you had?
"Trial and error. I’m thankful that I lived long enough to learn these things. It’s a lot of young men in my city who don’t get a chance to live and learn. They end up dying before a lesson is learned. Over time I learned to not overwhelm myself with the final goal. I had to take things one step at a time while still trying to find fulfillment in life."
4. We saw you return this year with a stunning new single in Regents. What was the inspiration behind the record?
"The inspiration behind REGENTS is the work force. I was never a fan of working for people just because they would abuse their authority. Sometimes they would talk to people as if they were superior to them. I lost many jobs for speaking up and not letting supervisors or managers talk to me as if I’m inferior. So I focused more on entrepreneurship and that’s how I started writing REGENTS."
5. Did you produce the song?
"No I didn’t produce it. I haven’t made it to that level yet, but I’m sure one day I will."
6. You toured on the Coast 2 Coast mixtape series and also performed at SXSW, how was that for you?
Was the experience a positive one?
"When I did COAST2COAST and SXSW it was a learning experience for me. I learned how to be more prepared in these situations. I didn’t have management or a label helping me promote myself when I was in these different states. I was too busy approaching it from an artist perspective and not the business."
7. Many people will want to know what's next for you should they expect more music soon?
"They’re both parallel to me. They require hard work and dedication. I’m a very disciplined person and to balance both life with music requires discipline."
8. Do you have any inspirations in your music, artists that you look up to?
"I have a project titled “The Badlands” that will be releasing soon. REGENTS is the first single from the project. In the meantime I have a freestyle series called The B.O.B. (Bars.Over.Badlands) Series. I drop a number a freestyles to industry beats and put my own Kilevrah touch to it. I have 3 out now on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook."
9. I don’t have artists I look up to but my inspiration is my family and friends. The fans also. They’re the ones who keep me gassed and makes me feel like I can keep doing this thing.
"I don’t have artists I look up to but my inspiration is my family and friends. The fans also. They’re the ones who keep me gassed and makes me feel like I can keep doing this thing."
10. Anything you would like to say to your fans?
"I appreciate all the people out there who has bought merch, streamed a song, watched a video, etc. You all are the fuel that keeps the Kilevrah train rolling."
Listen to Kilevrah's new single here