Inspiring others is no easy feat, but when your music speaks for your philosophy, it makes things a little bit easier.
I had the chance to meet up with Massachusetts rapper Kyle Bent at Cambridge’s Middle East Upstairs, he was opening up for Taylor Bennett. With the venue capping at around 200 people, the lack of a green room lead us to a relatively quiet back alley where the interview was conducted.
Bent has opened up for a myriad of artists with tour stops in Boston, but I first met him back in September when he opened for Denzel Curry – the first show I ever got to shoot. Thanks to Bent and his manager, I was able to build a foundation for myself in Boston. This is what Kyle is all about – helping others find themselves in what (or what) they’re most passionate about.
Check out our interview below:
Tamara: Tell me about where you grew up. Have you always lived in Randolph? What’s your back story?
Kyle Bent: I’m actually Jamaican so I moved up to Boston and I’ve been living in Randolph ever since.
T: What about your family? Do you have siblings?
KB: I’m actually an only child, which is crazy. That actually helped me a lot as far as building my character. I think it helped me be a solid individual.
T: So how was your relationship with Boston itself? Boston doesn’t really have a music scene, did you visit the city often? What did you do to establish yourself as one of the city’s prominent artists?
KB: I mean it depends what you call me, because if I were to call myself anything it would be a “suburban of Boston artist,” but people call me a Boston artist so I won’t tell them they’re wrong. I travel to Boston often, the environment is still home to me, you know I just rep for Massachusetts in general.
T: So what’s a typical day for you when you’re not working on music?
KB: If that day exists? Well getting my mind right, I’m big on having a clear mind, so you know spending time with family, spending time with friends, you know meditating just getting that “woosah” other than that, it’s definitely that music grind.
T: So what other kind of influences did you have whether it were people or things in your music? Why do you make the music that you do, what inspires you?
KB: So main influences stem less from people and more from the events that we deal with on a daily basis, so I take a lot of inspiration from the way society is right now, and I want to change that into a positive direction. I always thought when I was a kid that I could work my way up to a point where I have a lot of power and a lot of say to change the way people think. I still take inspiration from that, and I just love watching the other artists that are similar to myself blow up and knowing that I can do that too.
T: Do you have a specific point in your career that you could identify as your “Big Break”?
KB: Yeah, last year. Last year March, around this time I got signed to a new label called “Made in the Shade” and they allowed me to break my whole image, change it, really revamp myself and after that, a lot of new opportunities started coming, I started getting a lot more gigs and my career saw a high that it had never seen before, so I’m grateful.
T: So what’s it like working with them? I know a lot of labels can be very controlling, so how much control do you have over what you release?
KB: I got a good amount of control, I still have creative control and I’m able to speak with the label as far as every planned release. Every time we plan a release, I’m able to control where it goes, I’m able to dictate what path we’re gonna take for the year, so all that stuff I really cherished when I was independent so I’m really glad I have those.
T: Do you have any memorable tour moments? Something that stuck to you in that way.
KB: For sure, fore sure. Tour? Every moment is a very unique and cherishable moment, even the fact that you’re able to tell me that I helped push your career, that is a memorable moment, and I will remember that. Things like that, being able to help the fans find potential in themselves, just because my whole message has to do with building potential in the individual, I love that being the result of my music. Every moment, really, I have to give a shout out to.
T: What was it like putting your most recent album together?
KB: The process honestly was like 2 years. It was a 2 year process writing lyrics. I finally got to record it once I signed to the label. I probably recorded my project around 8 months prior to releasing it, and then once I signed I finally dropped it, and started working on a whole new project and that’s gonna be coming out this summer, I’m looking forwards to that.
T: Do you have a dream collaboration? Producer, musician, feature, anything.
KB: Dream collaboration? That’s hella hard. There’s a lot of people I’m trying to collab with, I mean, maybe my dream isn’t even alive right now. I’d probably rock out with Bob Marley. I say that probably in every interview and imma keep saying it. Bob the man.
T: What song of yours do you think explains who you are the most?
KB: One song? Damn. My whole catalog’s pretty representative of who I am. So, if was to pick one song that really puts me on the platter, I’d say “Childhood.” That says my whole life story.
T: So I’m gonna quote you real quick: “What’s your goal in life?” off of Complex Simplicity – “Visions and Goals.” What’s your vision and goal, right now?
KB: My vision is to change the way people in general see the way we live in, and see themselves. I want to turn people’s hopelessness into an ever expansive potential.
Listen to Complex Simplicity on Soundcloud below: